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News stories tagged with "adirondack-scenic-railroad"

If the concept unveiled today by state officials is adopted, trains would no longer run to Saranac Lake's station (seen here) or to Lake Placid.  Train service might eventually be offered as far north as Tupper Lake.  Photo:  Susan Waters
If the concept unveiled today by state officials is adopted, trains would no longer run to Saranac Lake's station (seen here) or to Lake Placid. Train service might eventually be offered as far north as Tupper Lake. Photo: Susan Waters

State may convert section of Adirondack train route to rail-trail

State officials say they plan to reopen the planning process for the historic railroad track from Old Forge to Lake Placid.

In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, state Transportation and Environment commissioners also said they would consider converting a large segment of the historic train route to a "rail-to-trail" system.

If the proposal goes forward, tracks along the stretch from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, via Saranac Lake, would be removed and replaced with a trail surface.

"In response to public interest, we are reopening the Unit Management Plan, providing new opportunities to engage local communities and support the regional economy as we plan for the corridor's future," said DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald in a statement.  Go to full article
Adirondack Scenic Railroad train in Old Forge. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/72644361@N06/8183206757/">Brad O'Brien</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Adirondack Scenic Railroad train in Old Forge. Photo: Brad O'Brien, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

As rail debate simmers, big questions for Scenic Railroad

For more than twenty years, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad has struggled to create an excursion train from Utica to Lake Placid, an attraction that advocates hope will one day serve as a major draw for tourists, carrying passengers through some of the most rugged and scenic terrain in the East. "We view an asset like that as something you would never want to rip up," Bill Branson, the ASR board president, said in an interview last year.

But a nearly month-long investigation by the North Country Public Radio and the Adirondack Explorer has revealed stark and long-lingering questions about the non-profit railroad's financial stability, its professional staff, and its ability to scale up what remains a largely shoestring operation that still carries passengers over only short stretches of the historic corridor.  Go to full article
A rail-trail bridge on the Katy Trail sy stem in Missouri.  Photo:  <a href-"http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Katy_Trail_bridge_and_bikers.jpg">Kbh3rd</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A rail-trail bridge on the Katy Trail sy stem in Missouri. Photo: Kbh3rd, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Adirondack Rail Trail plan leans on state agencies

This is the second part of a two-part series on the Adirondack Rail Trail. Hear the first part here.

State officials say they'll decide soon what to do with the controversial rail corridor that stretches from Old Forge to Lake Placid.

For more than two years, a growing group of activists and local government leaders in the Adirondacks have urged the Cuomo administration to end decades of financial support for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.

The group called Adirondack Recreation Trail Advocates, also known as "ARTA," hopes to see the ninety-mile corridor converted into a year-round multi-use trail. They say a Rail Trail would provide a bigger tourism draw and could be built quickly with little additional financial support from taxpayers.

But a detailed review by North Country Public Radio in partnership with Adirondack Explorer magazine found that big questions remain about how the trail would be paid for and who would operate it.  Go to full article
Public hearings on the future of the rail corridor were held last fall.  What comes next and when?  No one's certain. Photo: Brian Mann
Public hearings on the future of the rail corridor were held last fall. What comes next and when? No one's certain. Photo: Brian Mann

Adirondack rails-trails debate still stuck "in limbo"

Eight months have passed since New York state officials announced that they were opening a review of the future use of the historic rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid. The move followed growing pressure from local government leaders and activists critical of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which now operates seasonal excursion trains on sections of the line.

Supporters see the railroad as a potential tourism attraction that could draw visitors from all over the world. Critics say the project has been a boondoggle and should be replaced by a multi-purpose trail. The debate has sharply divided communities and interest groups in the park.  Go to full article
DOT railroad expert Raymond Hessinger is public spokesman for the state's review of the Adironadck rail corridor.  (Photo:  Mark Kurtz)
DOT railroad expert Raymond Hessinger is public spokesman for the state's review of the Adironadck rail corridor. (Photo: Mark Kurtz)

How real is the state's review of the Adirondack rail corridor?

State officials wrapped up a series of listening sessions last night in Tupper Lake, aimed at gathering public opinion about the rail corridor that runs between Old Forge and Lake Placid.

Hundreds of people have turned out to offer opinions about the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and about the alternative of a multi-purpose trail.

But a growing number of tourism train critics say they're dissatisfied with the way state officials have conducted this review.  Go to full article
North Elba wants the tracks removed between their station in Lake Placid to this point at Union Station in Saranac Lake.  (File photo/Mark Kurtz)
North Elba wants the tracks removed between their station in Lake Placid to this point at Union Station in Saranac Lake. (File photo/Mark Kurtz)

North Elba wants tracks gone, favors multi-use trail

There's been another development this week in the fierce debate over the historic rail corridor in the Adirondacks.

The town of North Elba, which serves as the northern terminus of the line, called Tuesdsay night for the tracks to be torn up.

The town board also shelved plans to spend $2.6 million on a new trail that would have run parallel to the train tracks.  Go to full article
Rosalie Fontana of Bloomingdale voices her thoughts to DEC Forester Sean Reynolds, who was taking notes at the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor meeting at the DEC office in Ray Brook. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Rosalie Fontana of Bloomingdale voices her thoughts to DEC Forester Sean Reynolds, who was taking notes at the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor meeting at the DEC office in Ray Brook. Photo: Mark Kurtz

One fiercely disputed Adirondack rail line, two cool visions

For more than thirty years, most of the historic rail line between Old Forge and Lake Placid has seen little use. A tourism train operates on two different stretches of track, around Old Forge and Saranac Lake.

But despite a state plan that calls for the entire 119-mile route to reopen, much of the line has fallen into disrepair. Now state officials are asking new questions about how the train corridor should be used. They've begun a series of meetings to gather input and to try to channel a public debate that has grown increasingly rancorous.

There are now two starkly different visions for the rail corridor. Train boosters are calling for the state to invest millions of dollars refurbishing the tracks, while supporters of a new mult-iuse trail say the tracks should be torn up.  Go to full article
Bill Branson is president of the Adirondack Railroad Preservation Society, which operates the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/39017545@N02/">Matt Johnson</a>, CC <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/deed.en">some rights reserved</a>
Bill Branson is president of the Adirondack Railroad Preservation Society, which operates the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Photo: Matt Johnson, CC some rights reserved

Man at the heart of the Great Adirondack Railroad Debate

A group that wants to tear up an old railroad track in the Adirondack Park and replace it with a multi-use trail says it has gathered more than 10,000 signatures supporting the idea.

Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates, known as ARTA, formed last year, reviving the debate over what should be done with the historic rail corridor that stretches from Old Forge to Lake Placid.  Go to full article
Carl Knoch, manager of trail development for the northeast region office the the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Photo: Mark Kurtz
Carl Knoch, manager of trail development for the northeast region office the the Rails to Trails Conservancy. Photo: Mark Kurtz

Rails to trail advocates stick to the positive

A local advocacy group is trying to highlight the possible economic benefits of a year-round, multi-use recreational trail between Lake Placid and Old Forge. The Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates hosted a meeting at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake on Wednesday to unveil a new study on the potential economic impact of the group's proposed Adirondack Recreational Trail.

More than 100 people attended the presentation, which focused on the first stage of the would-be trail: the 34-mile span between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake. As Chris Morris reports, the group, known as ARTA, is spending less time talking about the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and is instead focusing on the benefits of the trail.  Go to full article
View of the Floodwood Pond area from the tourist train
View of the Floodwood Pond area from the tourist train

Study raises pros and cons of scenic train

A new study released last night in Tupper Lake is raising questions about the future of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.

The non-profit tourist train already carries thousands of passengers every year between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

The company hopes to expand that service soon to include the route to Tupper Lake.

But backers of the new report say state and local officials should also consider tearing up the tracks and building a multi-use trail for bicycles and snowmobiles.

Brian Mann has our story.  Go to full article

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