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News stories tagged with "railroad"

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
CSX's upgraded and faster rail crossing passes right by dozens of houses in Canton. Photo: David Sommerstein.
CSX's upgraded and faster rail crossing passes right by dozens of houses in Canton. Photo: David Sommerstein.

Ritchie: CSX "less than responsive" on rail safety in Canton

State Senator Patty Ritchie says she's still waiting for freight rail company CSX to provide more information about the hazardous materials being transported through villages like Canton and Potsdam. And she's calling for Governor Cuomo to expand his investigation into rail safety to include the North Country.  Go to full article
A train in Casselton, North Dakota carrying crude oil derailed and exploded on Dec. 30, 2013. Photo: Ken Pawluk / Associated Press / latimes.com, via NTSB press release
A train in Casselton, North Dakota carrying crude oil derailed and exploded on Dec. 30, 2013. Photo: Ken Pawluk / Associated Press / latimes.com, via NTSB press release

Lawmakers seek reform on 'unsafe' rail cars

North Country Congressman Bill Owens is joining a bipartisan effort to require rail companies to retrofit tanker cars the federal government deemed unsafe years ago. Owens became involved in the issue after a series of reports by North Country Public Radio. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/39017545@N02/5814147128/">Matt Johnson</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Matt Johnson, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Feds: $18.5M to help fund Syracuse rail upgrades

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Federal officials say they're giving the state $18.5 million to reduce delays and improve service on the railroad in Syracuse.

The U.S. Department of Transportation says the money will be used to cut passenger and freight train congestion on Amtrak's Empire Corridor at the Syracuse station.  Go to full article
CSX's upgraded and faster rail crossing passes right by dozens of houses in Canton, including the 24 East Main Bed & Breakfast (green house). Photo: David Sommerstein.
CSX's upgraded and faster rail crossing passes right by dozens of houses in Canton, including the 24 East Main Bed & Breakfast (green house). Photo: David Sommerstein.

Canton officials still have doubts over train speed increase

Yesterday, we heard about the efforts to rebuild the Quebec town of Lac Megantic, after a train explosion destroyed much of the village. That horrible accident makes any town with a railroad ask: could it happen here?

Last January, CSX announced it was upgrading a rail crossing in Canton so its trains could go faster through the village - from 25 to up to 40 miles per hour. The company says the change will speed up commerce on the line but will not compromise safety.

Local officials met last week with CSX over safety concerns. As David Sommerstein reports, the meeting opened up dialogue but didn't answer all the questions.  Go to full article
Lac-Megantic burning on the first day after the rail car derailment sent fireballs and streams of burning oil coursing through the Quebec village.  (Photo:  Surete du Quebec)
Lac-Megantic burning on the first day after the rail car derailment sent fireballs and streams of burning oil coursing through the Quebec village. (Photo: Surete du Quebec)

In Lac-Megantic, grief and resilience

Back in July, a massive tanker train filled with petroleum from North Dakota derailed in a tiny town in Quebec.
Explosions and fire ripped through the village, killing 47 people and destroying the downtown of Lac-Megantic.

Brian Mann has been covering the aftermath of that disaster for NPR and North Country Public Radio.

He was in Quebec on assignment again over the weekend. He joined Martha Foley on the line from NCPR's bureau in Saranac Lake.  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
Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Megantic. Photo: Surete du Quebec
Emergency service crews at work in the blast and fire zone of Lac-Megantic. Photo: Surete du Quebec

Railway Exec speaks about Lac-Megantic disaster

The chairman of the American railway at the center of the deadly disaster in Quebec is speaking out about his company's struggles.

The Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway faces a barrage of investigations and lawsuits, following the explosion last month that authorities say left 47 people dead. One of the railroad's industrial trains rolled free, derailed and exploded in the heart of Lac-Megantic.

Ed Burkhardt, who lives in Chicago, is the chairman of the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic. He spoke in-depth with Brian Mann last week. Burkhardt spoke first about the fact that his company has so far failed to pay for expensive clean-up effort in the village.  Go to full article
Adirondack Scenic Railroad train in Old Forge. Photo: Bradley O'Brien, CC some rights reserved
Adirondack Scenic Railroad train in Old Forge. Photo: Bradley O'Brien, CC some rights reserved

State to review Adirondack rail plan

State officials say they'll hold a public review of the management plan for the railroad corridor that stretches from Old Forge and Remsen through the heart of the Adirondacks to the Tri-Lakes.

The decision, announced yesterday, was a victory for critics of the seasonal tourism railroad, who say the 119-mile corridor should be remade as a year-round multi-use trail.

Supporters of the train have argued that the review is unnecessary and say public hearings could delay funding and development of the rail line.

Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article

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