Category Archives: Adirondacks

1867: Railroads North

From the Utica OD
1867, 150 years ago

Pictured is the Remsen Depot

A new chapter in the history of Central New York is ushered in when the Utica and Black River Railroad is extended to Lyons Falls, thus connecting Utica with the North Country and its lumber and wood products.

The line was organized on Jan. 29, 1853 and on Dec. 13, 1854, it was opened from Utica to Boonville. Errors in management and underestimating construction and operating costs doomed the unprofitable railroad and it was forced to close. In 1860, a group of Central New Yorkers – headed by John Thorn – purchased the line. Thorn, a wealthy Utican in the soap and candle-making business, was elected president. He and his partners began to improve the railroad and its service and it soon began to make money and, for the first time, began to pay stockholders a dividend

Thorn was born in 1811 in Ruishton, near Taunton, Somersetshire, England. He settled in Utica in 1832. Today he is a director in several Utica banks and knitting mills and is a parishioner at Tabernacle Baptist Church. (He donated the land on Hopper Street for a new church. His wife, Mary Maynard Thorn, donated a lot of King Street for a chapel.)

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The governor and county officials later intervened and that proposal was subsequently withdrawn.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

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

Hop Aboard an Amtrak in NYC for the ‘Prettiest Fall Train Trip in U.S.’

Amtrak is set to launch its popular window-covered Great Dome Car on the Adironack route in upstate New York in time for leaf-peeping season.

Dubbed the “the prettiest fall train trip in the U.S.” by Country Living, the Adirondack train, which travels from New York City all the way up to Montreal, offers spectacular views of changing tree colors and Lake Champlain vistas.

People can board at New York Penn Station, but the Great Dome Car is only attached to the train at the Albany stop — and then seats are first-come, first serve.

The historic train car is virtually all window, allowing travelers to soak in all the gorgeous autumnal views. The trip from New York City to Montreal takes about 11 hours, and one-way tickets start at $69.

The Great Dome Car will be available on the Adirondack route on select days from Thursday, Sept. 28 through Sunday, Oct. 29. Find more information at amtrak.com.

The Great Dome Car is the only remaining dome car in Amtrak service. Built in 1955, it was previously used on the Chicago-Seattle Empire Builder route when the train was operated by the Great Northern Railway and the Chicago Burlington & Quincy Railroad.

NBC New York

Vintage private railcars are mustered at Albany-Rensselaer Train Station

Rensselaer

Dome cars, lounges, observation and sleeper cars, many painted in the livery of their former railroads, gathered at the Rensselaer rail station Wednesday, preparing for a multi-day journey that will wind through the Adirondacks, the Southern Tier, the Berkshires and Green Mountains.

They’ll end up in Burlington, Vt., for the 40th annual convention of the American Association of Private Rail Car Owners.

Before then, the owners of these cars, the oldest of which dates from 1911, will see a considerable amount of the Northeast. Hauled by two Amtrak locomotives, they’ll travel to Utica and then to Thendara, back to Utica and onto Geneva, then head east to Springfield, Mass., and Rutland before arriving at Burlington.

The owners, rail enthusiasts all, can talk about the history of their individual cars. They’ve often spent years restoring them. Former association executive director Borden Black has just acquired a car from Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, which has ceased operation.

Dick Johnston of Phoenix travels in a dome car built in 1955 by The Budd Company, once a major U.S. railcar manufacturer, and used on the Empire Builder, which runs between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest.

Amtrak took over the route, and the equipment, in May 1971, and used it until it was replaced by newly manufactured bilevel Superliners in the late 1970s.

Coordinating a trip like this can be a challenge. Taylor Johnson, the association’s vice president of transportation, had planned a stop in Saratoga Springs and a trip via Whitehall to Rutland. But when the Canadian Pacific balked at hosting the train, Vermont rail officials and the Finger Lakes Railway stepped up with an alternate routing.

The private rail car owners support the continued operation of Amtrak, and Johnson said their train “is a reflection of American history.” The owners often make their cars available to passengers looking for a unique travel experience.

Some of the cars have private bedrooms, dining rooms and kitchens, as well as showers and flat-screen TVs.

The organization hopes to draw attention to plans by New York state to remove the tracks from Thendara north to Lake Placid, a move it opposes.

Robert Donnelly, the association president, said the private rail cars often are owned by groups of shareholders.

Among the cars participating in this year’s convention is the Georgia 300, a platform observation car that once operated on the Crescent Limited between New York and New Orleans.

The car has been used by Jimmy Carter, George H.W. and George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and by Kerry/Edwards campaign, said another association member, LeAnne Feagin. The Obamas boarded it in Philadelphia, picking up Joe Biden and his wife in Delaware, to travel to the 2009 inauguration.

Albany Times Union

Tahawus: The Upper Works and Into The Backwoods

Sponsored by Adirondack.net and Tahawus: The Upper Works and Into The Backwoods – AARCH

When: Thursday, Sep 28, 2017 – 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Where: Tahawus , Tahawus Road Newcomb, NY 12852
Cost: $35 for members, $45 for non-members
The tour begins at 10:00 am and ends around 3:00 pm, and includes hiking on uneven ground and standing for long periods of time. On this tour, you will look at more than a century and a half of mining and settlement at this site and its progression through two mining era’s, time as a sportsman’s club, decades as ghost town, and now as a well-interpreted historic site. The fee is $35 for members and $45 for non-members.

 

See our WebSite too:

Tahawus: Railroad to a Mine

The Delaware and Hudson in Recent Memory

We have just updated our Delaware & Hudson Railway WebSite

https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/delaware-hudson-railway/

We have added lots of new material called “The Delaware and Hudson in Recent Memory”

See some great advertising, maps, time tables and posters of the D&H

We hope you enjoy it like we do.

Amtrak statewide ridership dips in NY State

ALBANY Times-Union

On the eve of massive track repair work at Penn Station in New York City, Amtrak’s upstate ridership is struggling to grow.

For passenger rail advocates such as Bruce Becker, vice president of operations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, that’s troubling.

“It is a cause for concern,” Becker said. “While ridership in the Hudson Valley has grown modestly, ridership across upstate New York and on the Adirondack has dropped.”

Becker cites a number of possible reasons for the decline.

“One is lower gas prices,” he said. They’re down about $1.25 per gallon in the Capital Region compared to the summer of 2014, according to figures from GasBuddy.com.

But Amtrak’s own difficulties may also have contributed.

It had to cancel one daily train for a number of days last summer west of the Capital Region while CSX worked on the tracks.

“Last summer was not a stellar period for on-time performance,” Becker added.

It has been nine years since Congress approved the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which shifted more of the cost of passenger rail operations to the states.

New York has continued to use the existing passenger cars, many of which are now 40 years old. Its specially built dual-mode locomotives that can operate on diesel or electric power have seen several breakdowns this spring, stranding hundreds of passengers.

For passenger rail advocates such as Bruce Becker, vice president of operations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, that’s troubling.

“It is a cause for concern,” Becker said. “While ridership in the Hudson Valley has grown modestly, ridership across upstate New York and on the Adirondack has dropped.”

It had to cancel one daily train for a number of days last summer west of the Capital Region while CSX worked on the tracks.

A recommendation by some state Department of Transportation officials to replace the locomotives wasn’t included in the most recent state budget.
The state,meanwhile, has a vested interest in seeing higher passenger revenues, because they reduce the amount it must pay Amtrak to operate the trains.

Nationwide, Amtrak saw record ridership last year, carrying 31.3 million passengers. But statewide, ridership fell nearly 4.7 percent to 1.7 million, according to a recent presentation to the Empire State Passengers Association.

About half of those — 855,000 — began or ended their trips at the Albany-Rensselaer train station, one of Amtrak’s busiest.

Many factors can contribute to a decrease in ridership levels including gas prices, construction and service reliability and we continue to evaluate ways to mitigate these impacts and highlight Amtrak’s many passenger amenities and value proposition,” Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said. “Amtrak ridership overall remains strong, with a record 31.3 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2016, marking the sixth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers.”

EDITORS NOTE: Is the upstate operation “pure” AMTRAK or dependant on the State too? How about borrowing rolling stock and dual diesel- electric locomotives from other NY State agencies (like Metro-North)?

The Trail people want the tracks gone; they’ll rip ’em out themselves!

More cool stuff on the section of the Adirodack Railroad that Governor Cuomo stuck his nose into.

Some of the Trail Advocates have actually said they would start tearing up the tracks as soon as the trains stopped running last Fall. And one of the trail planning groups even suggested that individuals actually go and do that.

Can you imagine the disaster that would create for the professional rail removers the State would contract. I can see a bunch of people rush to the nearest piece of track and start tearing it out. Then after a few minutes, realize that tearing out rails is actually hard work and just drop everything where it is, and leave little gaps here and there where rails are missing or thrown off to the side.

The Judge immediately put in place a Ceast and Desist Order, which he should, so nothing can be done by either side. So the State can not contract with anyone to come in and start ripping up rails. As to any individuals who would try to do that, they would be in violation of the Court Order.

I have no idea if anyone anywhere along the line has gone in and tore out anything. The Railroad is not inspecting or doing any maintenance to the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid this year, so I have no idea what might have been done to any sections of track since the Railroad ran the last train out in early November. I don’t know if anyone is checking that section of track. Probably no one is.

Unfortunately for the Trail Advocates, I personally believe they have been sold a bill of goods, and are gullible enough to fall for it, by the Anti-Rail people, who actually only want the rails gone so the Adirondacks can go back to “Forever Wild”. I don’t believe those few people actually want a trail any more than they want the Railroad. To gain public support to get rid of the rails, they promised the “wonderful, first class” trail that would be such a great trail that it would bring in hordes of people from everywhere in the US and the World and these people would spend $500,000 a week in the communities along the trail. I kid you not, they actually said that, and the trail people actually bought that.

Of course because the real objective of the people behind the trail really only want the railroad gone, they would have nothing to do, and opposed, having a trail run along with the railroad.

So communities like Saranac Lake are going to end up with nothing. No Railroad bringing in tourists, no Rail Explorers bringing in people, and no trail bringing in people. Actually the trail people are admitting mostly local people are going to be using the new trail, and nothing about a new trail is going to make local people spend any more money in the community than they do now.

Hopefully the lawsuit will be settled in favor of the Railroad and the trains can come back.

Mineville Is Getting Back On The Map NOW

MINEVILLE, N.Y. Some look at an abandoned, centuries-old iron mine in New York’s Adirondacks and see a relic. But, an ambitious group of engineers sees the shafts in Mineville as a new way to provide a steady flow of electricity in a growing market for renewable energy. They are pitching a plan to circulate some of the millions of gallons of groundwater that have flooded the mine shafts over the years to power an array of 100 hydroelectric turbines a half-mile underground.

They envision the operation as a solution for solar and wind power producers, who need ways to ensure an uninterrupted flow of energy when the sun isn’t shining and winds are still. While logistically complex, the plan is at the same time incredibly simple: Engineers would drain roughly half of the water from the shafts and pump the remainder into an upper chamber. The water would then be released into a lower chamber, powering turbines and creating electricity. The turbines would be reversed to pump the water back up to repeat the process. Technically, the pumped water is considered stored energy, to be released strategically when power is needed.

For the locals, the pumped storage project would breathe new life into a depressed former mining town, doubling the local tax base, generating hundreds of construction jobs and a dozen permanent ones, and providing extras like a new highway garage and water lines, said Tom Scozzafava, supervisor of the surrounding town of Moriah. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030.

minevillesign

So what and where is (was) Mineville? Well, I turned to the NEB&W Railroad.
images_troy_troy-grand-sassi-mm

The NEB&W Railroad is an “HO” scale railroad associated with R.P.I, a noted engineering school located in Troy, New York. The NEB&W still serves Mineville and Troy (where much of the products of the mine went).

Products went from the mine”minevillemine” to repunlicsteelfromtroymenandsbridgeRepublic Steel in Troy