Corporate bureaucracy is now stalling movement of railroad freight between Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties and the Port of Albany
We have been following, writing about and supporting railroads in the Adirondacks for quite a while. Mostly with stories about the “MYSTICAL” place called Tahawus. (Can’t call it the “fabled” because we also push the “FABLED RUTLAND MILK“). The NEWS ENTERPRISE has put together an excellent story on this PROBLEM. I’m going to follow along with the discussion and interject when I feel I can add something, Penney
QUEENSBURY — Corporate bureaucracy now stalling movement of railroad freight between Warren, Washington and Saratoga counties and the Port of Albany has prompted area officials to form a tri-county task force to expedite a solution
Warren County leaders said this week they and task force members will likely be asking Gov. Andrew Cuomo to influence officials of several railroads that hold right-of-way privileges on various stretches of track between Warren County and the Port of Albany to cooperate and reach agreements so goods and materials produced in the three counties can move freely to national markets.
Penney comment: How about asking Senator Chuck Shumer for support too? He has been supportive in the past.
Warren County Economic Development Corp. President Ed Bartholomew talked of the delays that the Saratoga-North Creek Railway was experiencing in securing access to the port so it can move many thousands of tons of granite gravel from Tahawus downstate to potential customers. The “high friction” aggregate mined in Tahawus has been eyed for use in premium asphalt and concrete products produced in New Jersey and southern New York State.
Penney Comment: Tahawus is almost like a “national treasure”. Used to be owned by the US Government even.
Bartholomew also said that Finch Pruyn and Irving Tissue were interested in delivering shipments of their paper products via rail, but were stymied by the lack of freight agreements.
Penney comment: This is so great that all sorts of customers are returning to the rails. They got turned off by the “giant railroad” approach to business and end up paying more for trucks that cost more to them and to the environment.
He said that moving freight to the Port of Albany required cooperation from Canadian Pacific and CSX — who lease the railroad tracks between the two destinations — as well as from the entity controlling the access spur into the port.
Penney comment: THIS IS SUCH “BS”. What is different than the “Port of New York and New Jersey”? Let’s think “out of the box”. An active, publically funded authority already exists: Capitol District Transportation Authority. Put them over the port and negate the “old boys” agreement that does not seem to work.
Bartholomew said that efficient, inexpensive rail freight service was vital for attracting and retaining industry.
Penney comment: How right you are Mr. Bartholomew. Giving these three counties no access to the rest of the world other than the Northway is like telling them to “die on the vine”.
Solving these rail freight issues will help new and existing businesses,” he told Warren County supervisors attending the county Economic Growth & Development Committee meeting July 3. He noted that two wood-product manufacturers are seeking to locate in northern Warren County, and rail freight availability is critical to the success of their enterprises. Securing cost-efficient rail freight agreements would make local companies’ products more price-competitive in the world markets, Bartholomew added. One rail car can hold a volume of material that would require five tractor-trailer trucks to transport, he said, noting the financial savings and environmental benefits of rail transportation.
Bartholomew said that with an eye on solving obstacles to efficient transportation of materials and products, he was seeking grant funding for a study of rail freight issues and potential solutions.
Penney comment: Again, right on target Mr. Bartholomew. Sounds like Governor Cuomo, Senator Schumer, who else? Where are the Congressmen and Senator Gillibrand? Out to lunch?
Besides the matter of corporate cooperation, another obstacle was the lack of available rail cars, and the need to upgrade railroad tracks for the considerable weight of freight, Bartholomew continued.
Penney comment: This rail car thing is a NATIONAL problem. Lot of it caused by “fracking oil”. Maybe time for more unique solutions like the State of Washington used for grain cars. North Dakota is going through lots of agony now.
Saratoga-North Creek Railway Operations Manager Justin Gonyo said July 8 that his company was currently negotiating contracts with Canadian Pacific and CSX, and the three firms have experienced good working relations. He added that his company was now involved in a project to upgrade tracks between Tahawus and Corinth.
Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty of Warrensburg said that establishing rail freight access was vital to the region’s economic sustainability and future prosperity. A former plant manager for International Paper in Corinth — with experience in arranging transportation of bulk products, Geraghty was asked to join the task force now in formation.
Geraghty predicted that Bartholomew would be effective in making headway in freight movement. Bartholomew serves on the state’s Capital Region Economic Development Council and has experience as a consultant to the state senate and to various legislators.
If there’s anyone who can get these problems solved it’s Ed,” Geraghty said. “We need to do everything we can to get freight moving by rail to Albany.”
Penney Comment: Mr. Bartholomew, looks like you are the “point man”. Anything we can do for you is “gratis”, we are located in France, but our manager is an American who is on top of this. Currently working on the All Aboard Florida thing.