Plan to Junk Rail Cars in Adirondacks Must Be Stopped

Anyone who has ever been to North Creek — Gore Mountain skiers know it well — can’t help but be impressed by the quaint little town nestled in the scenic eastern Adirondacks beside the upper stretches of the Hudson River.

It’s certainly not a place to store junk.

That’s what Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC wants to do. The Chicago-based railroad, which owns the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad, said last week that it wants to use a portion of the line it leases to store junked, decaying railroad cars.

Iowa Pacific tried to create its own Adirondack junkyard once before. In 2015, the company proposed storing hundreds of worn-out oil train cars on the tracks between North Creek in Warren County and Tahawus in Essex County. The Adirondack Council, a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Park, hired counsel at the time to submit legal materials as to why the proposal was not exempt from state and/or local regulation.

The governor and county officials later intervened and that proposal was subsequently withdrawn.

The same thing needs to happen now.

“The scenic beauty of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and the success of the Adirondack Park as a tourism destination are threatened by this outrageous proposal,” said Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “The governor has invested many millions of dollars into promoting the park as a world-class wilderness experience for visitors, and as a place where pure waters will be protected. Dumping hundreds of worn-our rail cars here would degrade the park’s beauty and could lead to water pollution in the Hudson River.”

This junk belongs in a scrapyard, not in the pristine Adirondack Park. Write and register your opposition to this idea. It’s a bad one.

OPPOSE PLAN

Write and voice your opposition to a plan by a Chicago-based rail company to store junk rail cars in the Adirondacks, near North Creek in Warren County.

– Warren County Board of Supervisors, Municipal Center, 1340 State Rt. 9, Lake George, NY 12845; find email at: http://www.warrencountyny.gov/contact.php

– The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, NY 12224; find email at: http://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form

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Gripes About My Week plus a Great Sears Story

It has been a tough week in the land of blogs and website posts. Did not meet my objectives this week.

First of all I think I should not try and work with the TV on in same room.

Golf, especially FedEx ads, tick me off. I see their ads and it looks like Tour de France. Golfers must now throw their fists and kick their legs in the air. Used to be they take hat off and shake hands.

Change to News channel and get what looks like unpaid ads for Amazon and Apple. Cannot understand love for the IPHONE. Go out other day and first two people I pass are talking on IPHONE with cracked glass on the thing.

Change pace and check my email. OUTLOOK (formerly HotMail) gets slower and slower each year. YAHOO MAIL was just as bad. Glimmer of hope few weeks ago when VERIZON bought them. Actually gave me ENGLISH when I log on. But now back to normal shitty service. What do you expect from Verizon….it is just bad old New York Telephone Company still!!! Thanks to GMAIL.

Then must change links in many WebSites because many links no longer work! I live outside US so must be a “bad guy”. Hits me when I link to “Bridgeport” or “Utica”. Thank God for the WIKI.

OH! “Home Delivery”. So important to TV commentators. I do not want it. Even with cell phone, a big PAIN IN THE ASS. Live in little house behind big appartment buildings. Must go to street and guide person through entrance. Rather buy local.

Finally, hate when people refer to me as an EXPAT

TGIF

Now for a cute little story:

Wild-Eyed Sears CEO Convinced These The Flannel Pajama Pants That Will Turn Everything Around

From The Onion

CHICAGO—Rambling to no one in particular as he paced back and forth across his office, wild-eyed Sears CEO Eddie Lampert was reportedly convinced Thursday that he had found the flannel pajama pants that will turn everything around. “Finally! I’ve done it! These woven pajama pants are gonna put Sears Holdings Corporation back on top!” said Lampert, adding that newest line of sleepwear would fly off shelves so fast that “Bezos is gonna shit his pants.” “It’s for men, women, and children! And we’ll offer one with hearts on it! A red-and-green checkered one, too, just in time for the goddamn holidays! Ha-ha-ha! It’s game over, assholes, because soon I’ll have shipped out 10 million of the comfiest goddamn PJs in the entire fucking retail universe! Yes! Yes, yes, yes!” At press time, Lampert had filed for bankruptcy after converting the company’s entire inventory to pajama pants.

Maintenance Facility Structure is taking Shape

Very interesting to us as our company is working on proposal to restotre “Beacon Line” ….includesa new bridge and a HYPERLOOP

Kaleidoscope Eyes

These photos of the new maintenance facility near the Westchester landing were taken two weeks ago, when I drove across the new span.

Crews are constructing walls and preparing steel fabrications, and they continue building footing and retaining walls for the police facility on the south side of the Thruway.

I’d like to know what you think.

Copyright © Janie Rosman and Kaleidoscope Eyes 2017

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Judge rules tracks must stay

MALONE — A judge ruled Wednesday that the state’s plan to build a 34-mile rail trail was “arbitrary and capricious” and failed to follow numerous state laws.

“The 2016 UMP [unit management plan] is annulled and vacated, in its entirety, and in each and every part,” acting state Supreme Court Justice Judge Robert Main Jr. informed the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation and the state Adirondack Park Agency.

The Adirondack Rail Preservation Society, which operates tourist trains under the Adirondack Scenic Railroad name, sued the state in April 2016. The lawsuit stemmed from a plan by the DEC and DOT, and approved by the APA, that would have removed 34 miles of train tracks between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake and replaced them with a multi-use trail. The plan also called for another multi-million-dollar state investment to rehabilitate 45 miles of railroad tracks from Tupper Lake to Big Moose, allowing passenger trains to operate between Tupper Lake and Utica.

The railroad in question runs 141 miles between Utica and Lake Placid, and the state owns the 119-mile majority between Remsen and Lake Placid. ASR, under lease from the state, has run tourist trains between Utica and the Old Forge area since the early 1990s, and from 2000 through 2016 also ran them also between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Military Poetry – Intermission Story (20)

Pacific Paratrooper

When only poetry will do – in their words ______

A SOLDIERS PICNIC

I like my olives sanded,
My pickles full of bugs;
I’m rustic: To be candid,
I shy from chairs and rugs.

The open field! The azure sky!
The fields of waving grain!
The piece of huckleberry pie
That’s bogged with sudden rain!

I understand the merits of
A cake that’s turned to goo;
For every bite I take and love
Mosquitoes give me two,

And naught I know can close compare
The taste of hardboiled eggs,
While bees make honey in my hair
And flies besiege my legs.

So “outdoor” is the word for me
Ah! – Give me trees to hack!
And then my first response will be
To give the damned things back.

– By M/Sgt. H. E. KELLENBERGER

**********          **********         **********          **********   …

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Bullet train in India has multiple benefits; it’s economically viable

India’s first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will benefit the country and its industries, besides giving a boost to skill development, says Achal Khare the man who is leading the project’s minute-to-minute implementation.

Why does India need a bullet train? What is its economic viability?

Japan has done a very detailed feasibility study. As per their assessment, the economic rate of return is around 11.8%. So, economically the project shows a good sign. Savings on account of time, reduction in accidents and fuel – all add up. A lot of traffic from the roads is expected to shift to high-speed trains. As of now the project is economically viable.

Wherever Japan has built bullet train (network) in its country, earnings have increased drastically. If the normal growth was 60-70%, the growth in areas where high-speed rail runs is 150%. The overall area gets developed. That opportunity is there in India too. I am hopeful that in addition to the bullet train per se, transit oriented development will happen along the route. A number of hubs will come up. I hope that Virar will get developed into a major hub, because it will have connectivity with Mumbai with hardly 27-28 minutes distance. Boisar is another area that can come up as another major commercial hub. The project also has an element of Make in India. The industry will benefit because of that. We hope that a number of joint ventures will take place.

What are the engineering challenges? Can India absorb 100% of the technology?

There are challenges other than the under-sea tunnel. We are working in Indian Railways territory in Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Sabarmati. We have to work in a very limited area, with train operations on the existing track. Above that we have to build the high-speed network. For example, at Sabarmati, we have to build high-speed train over the rail overbridge and the metro network. There are technical challenges which we are confident we will find solution to with the help of our Japanese colleagues.

What about HYPERLOOP? Will existing Indian railway system benefit from the learning of this safety technology?

You cannot put the technology from one place (project) to the other. But the overall work culture can be translated on Indian Railways. So, yes it will definitely benefit the existing India railway system also.

Hyperloop will be tested in Amravati. What is the longevity of a bullet train project? Will it get outdated in the next few years?

There is no commercial service available for Hyperloop as of now. Once it is put to commercial service, then only we can talk about it. But the bullet train technology has been serving Japan for the last 52 years. It is a proven technology. With Hyperloop, I can’t comment.

FINANCIAL EXPRESS of INDIA

New India with Bullet Speed…!

A good and accurate blog. Are there any plans for HYPERLOOP in India???

Samruddha Bharatam

As we have seen that a couple of weeks ago PM Narendra Modi along with The Japanese PM Shinzo Abe inaugurated the most prestigious project of Mumbai-Ahmedabad Bullet Train in India.
Now India is developing and is running on the track of Prosperity with the bullet speed.

But how many of us know that when will the bullet train be on track for us? Or how many of us know about how costly is this project? Are these trains really affordable for India? If not then what’s the Importance of Bullet Train in India from the Global perspective? In this special article we will be covering all important facts along with its significance from a common man’s perspective.

MAHSRC : MUMBAI-AHMEDABAD HIGH SPEED RAILWAY CORRIDOR

Motive: To Transform and Revolutionise The Railways

Recommendation of Japanese Indian Survey Team : A Shinkanese Style System for the MA line with Automatic…

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$2M deal leads to new name for Utica Aud

A local bank made a substantial transaction in the downtown area Wednesday. Adirondack Bank has purchased the naming rights to the 4,000-seat Utica Memorial Auditorium for $2 million.

Adirondack Bank has purchased the naming rights to the 4,000-seat Utica Memorial Auditorium, which opened in 1960. For the next decade, the multi-purpose arena will be known as the Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium. The 10-year naming rights pact is for $2 million, Mohawk Valley Garden Inc. President Robert Esche said.

“This auditorium was built on the pride of the community and the veterans that gave their lives and served our country,” President and CEO of Adirondack Bank Rocco Arcuri said after the deal was announced. “We thought it was a great fit for us.”

The agreement is between the bank and the Upper Mohawk Valley Auditorium Authority, which oversees the facility. The deal was announced Wednesday at a news conference on the Aud’s front lawn near Oriskany Street. The event included officials from the auditorium, the bank, Oneida County, Mohawk Valley Garden and Utica College, as well as local veterans.

“It’s becoming the type of auditorium that I think everybody envisioned probably 60 years ago,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. said. “As things have changed over the years, it is no different here in Oneida County and Utica than it is in some bigger cities. It is a small venue, but it has all of the feel and all of the excitement … of a large arena.”

The building serves as the home to the popular Utica Comets American Hockey League franchise as well as the Utica College men’s and women’s NCAA Division III hockey programs. The venue also has hosted a variety of concerts, shows and events throughout the years.

Officials said it was important to keep the “Memorial” portion of the building’s name as a way to continue to honor veterans in the Mohawk Valley. Vincent Scalise, executive director of Central New York Veterans Outreach Center, said the move “will preserve the memories of veterans for years to come.”

“When we did this, we met with the veterans and wanted to make sure this was something that … they viewed in a positive manner,” said Esche, who noted the Aud’s General Manager Rick Redmond is a combat veteran.

Arcuri said a key motivation for the agreement is to provide support for the community. Since May, the building has been undergoing a multi-million-dollar, 21,000-square-foot addition and renovation project, which is expected to be completed before Oct. 27 when the UC men’s team plays its first home game. The Comets home opener is Nov. 1.

Reaction to the name change on the O-D’s Facebook page was mixed:

* “Most arenas have a sponsor name, so it’s not a big deal. Let’s all be thankful it’s still here and bringing things to this city.”

* “If the sponsorship helps to ensure the financial stability of the team so that they will stay here for a long period of time, more power to it.”

* “Leave the name alone … always has and always will be the Aud!”

* “The Aud will always be the name; history speaks for itself.”

Signage with the name change is expected to be placed around the outside of the building soon, Esche said. The bank’s logo also will appear on Comets’ helmets. The bank has been a sponsor for Utica College events as well.

“When you come to these games, they’re so loud,” said Arcuri, who noted that the bank will get one of six new suites being added during the construction project. “Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?”

Utica OD

What New York City’s subway system can learn from ones around the world

New York subway riders: At least we have Wi-Fi.

That may be the only bright side after years of worsening service and a “summer of hell” for the aging subway system.

Along with delays and derailments—and the constant bickering of Governor Andrew Cuomo and and Mayor Bill de Blasio—only 65 percent of subway trains ran on time during the first five months of 2017, down from 86 percent five years ago, according to MTA figures

The system seems to be physically straining under the weight of its popularity, handling 50 percent more passengers than it did in the ’90s with barely any additions in capacity and new cars.

“The costs of postponing improvements may be even more enormous” than the inconveniences of paying for them. Sadly, that clear-eyed assessment was written in 1981, before the MTA had as much debt (it now owes $40 billion).

Why have things become so hard for the New York subway system, and why do other systems around the world seem to do things better? It’s difficult to make comparisons between different subway systems, especially when it comes to the age and reach of each one.

The city’s own long history of deferred maintenance, especially in the ’70s, as well as its political peculiarities (Cuomo controls arguably the backbone of the city’s transit system, despite his assertions to the contrary), make it its own type of transit system basket case.

But, as Robert Puentes, president and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation, a non-partisan think-tank, and an infrastructure and planning expert, says, in this frustrating moment, riders, representatives, and leaders are talking about all the problems.

While it’s impossible to start from scratch and overhaul a 113-year-old mass transit system, comparing New York with its international peers does offer insight into the strengths and weaknesses of different systems, and perhaps some new ideas along the way.
Stockholm, Sweden, and maintenance

In New York City, many subway stations are covered in decades-old tile and layers of grit and grime, often with rusted-out infrastructure. It makes any comparison with Stockholm’s seven metro lines, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in the world, even more striking. Adorned with public art, Stockholm’s Metro isn’t called “the world’s longest art gallery” for nothing.

Many stations feature uncovered rock, with the jagged walls offering an additional aesthetic touch. The Kungsträdgården station even includes a fountain where the elevators meet the platform. Part of it is due to the city’s geography; rough stone allows the city to create au naturale subways stations, something that wouldn’t fly in New York City. (The subterranean schist would be unstable without tiling, which adds to capital and cleaning costs.) Natural cover, it turns out, is not just attractive but is also cost-effective.

Stockholm may have natural and manmade beauty, but its stations—and those of most other systems—have another advantage over New York City when it comes to maintenance: time, notably nights and weekends, when the system shuts down. While a 24-hour subway is convenient, it adds adds complications and costs to any potential repairs.

New York City has the highest operating costs in the world, says transit writer Alon Levy, at roughly $10 per train per kilometer—in Europe, it’s about $6 or $7 on average—and that’s mostly due to track maintenance and operations. Even other 24-hour train systems, such as the much smaller Copenhagen, are designed in such a manner that sections can be isolated for work much easier than inside the MTA’s vintage tunnels.

Another reason for Stockholm’s beauty may be its maintenance plan. According to Puentes, the city contracts out maintenance services to a private firm, and structures contracts to meet certain benchmarks. The city’s system manages to save money all while meeting strict standards.

“We’re good at building new stuff in the U.S., but we’re not good at maintaining it,” he says. “Infrastructure isn’t designed to last in perpetuity. Stockholm just makes sure to put these items on its budget and prioritizes them.”

There’s no magic formula here, he says, just sticking with maintenance goals and making them central to your budget.
Madrid and construction cost

New York has trouble maintaining the subway system, but at least it can build cool new stations, right? Who else has cool new Chuck Close murals? Well, it has grown, albeit incredibly slowly and at a cost multiple times more than more other cities across the globe.

Many blame the maintenance issues on the fact that local leaders (namely Governor Andrew Cuomo) in New York are fixated on shiny, new prestige projects instead of everyday, competent operations. But even when New York does create a new station or extension, it comes at an incredible cost.

The first phase of the Second Avenue Subway was most expensive rail construction project in the world. The costs were staggering: at $1.7 billion per kilometer, it was at least five to six times more than projects in other developing countries, according to Levy.

Numerous reasons have been given to explain the cost differential for the MTA: regulations, labor costs, local materials, even more costly design. But that doesn’t explain everything, says Levy. He posits that other countries are better at cost containment and organization. Take Madrid, Spain, where the MetroSur line, finished in 2003, is 41 kilometers long with 28 stations, yet was completed in four years at around $58 million per kilometer.

How can that be? According to Levy, the Spanish system has numerous advantages. One, they have a better bid and cost system. Overruns and additional materials requests are built into the contract, to help control overrun costs. And most importantly, they build quickly. Levy says Spanish infrastructure turns a typical saying about building—“fast, cheap, and well-made, pick two”—on its head by actually having a bit of all three.

Part of the reason is the way stations are built. There are two main styles of subway construction: cut and cover, where builders rip open a street and build underneath, and the tunnel-boring method, where teams set up large pits, and use large drills to work underground and build new tunnels.

The first is faster and cheaper and typically considered more disruptive, especially to surrounding businesses, but the Spanish go ahead and use it anyway. This makes their projects quicker to build. Levy even believes, in the long run, it actually isn’t as disruptive, because it’s faster and allows small businesses to plan ahead for disruptions. New York City used to do all cut and cover in the early days of the system, but it has become prohibitive as the city and system grew. (The Second Avenue Subway was built using tunnel boring, for example.)
Hong Kong and profitability

If we’re not getting private dollars, then New York City is back to its usual financial self: struggling to make ends meet. Like just about every other mass transit system in the U.S., it’s not making all its revenues at the farebox (that only covers roughly 45 percent of MTA’s budget), and by relying on a patchwork of city, state, and federal dollars, it makes it hard to plan ahead, much less afford capital improvements. Over roughly the last decade, the MTA’s costs have outpaced inflation by 50 percent, making it harder to dig out of any financial hole.

In Asia, another system is literally making billions every year, and it’s using a tool that New York has in abundance: high-priced commercial real estate. In Hong Kong, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR), which manages the subway, seems to print money compared to its peers; in 2012, it registered $2 billion in profits. Its farebox recovery rate, the percentage of operation costs covered by rider fares, was a staggering 185 percent.

But that’s not the true secret to the system’s financial success. It’s not just the stations; it’s what around them that matters. MTR owns much of the malls, shops, and stores clustered around its stations, and makes deals with owners, including co-ownership agreements and development fees. The MTR, in effect, creates its own transit-oriented commercial developments, funneling shoppers to stores it profits from, while getting them to pay for the trip. The system’s massive real estate holdings give it huge profit potential.

All this money allows the system to invest in state-of-the-art equipment and maintain a 99 percent on-time performance (“in 10 years time, everything will have changed,” the system’s operations director told CNN). Hong Kong now utilizes infrared cameras and an artificial intelligence system that maximizes limited overnight maintenance time (the MTA still has signal systems from the ’30s).

Like other comparisons to New York’s subway system, this one is also a bit flawed. For one thing, Hong Kong lacks suburbs, and has a much more captive rail market, with just a small percentage of cars owned for personal use (Hong Kong carries almost the same number of passengers yearly as New York with a third less track mileage). Like super-dense Tokyo, customer concentration means more rides. But when you think of all the valuable land near subways stations in New York, it makes you wonder what would happen if the MTA was more entwined with the real estate game.
Tokyo and efficiency

How do we fix these huge issues? Earlier this year, Cuomo announced that he was considering allowing private sponsors for certain subway stations, to help get private money to clean up at least some of the station’s mess.

But would privatization work? Wouldn’t creeping corporate control over the beloved subway, in the unlikely case it ever happened, turn it into a profit-driven system that loses its egalitarian mission?

If privatization looks anything like Tokyo, then it may not be so bad. In the Japanese metropolis, the city’s rail lines are run in tip-top shape by a handful of private companies.

The Tokyo subway handles twice as many riders as New York City (without 24-hour service), has train systems built after World War II with more efficient signaling systems, and benefit from being within one of the world’s most dense, massive metro area. Tokyo’s metro systems also benefit from land development in and around their stations.

Curbed NY Com

European Champion In The Rail Industry

The engineering giants Alstom and Siemens are to tie up their rail operations. Alstom of France and Germany’s Siemens say that the merger will create a new “European champion in the rail industry”. The new group,which will be led by Alstom’s chief executive Henri Poupart-Lafarge will be called Siemens Alstom and is expected to compete against China’s state-backed operator CRRC. Alstom makes TGV trains in France while Siemens makes the equivalent ICE inter-city trains that run on German long-distance routes. The French government,which owns around 20 percent of Alstom will shed its stake as part of the deal.