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    Central New York Railroad on slow track By TOM KANE RIVER VALLEY — We haven t made a whole lot of progress in the six
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2005
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      Central New York Railroad on slow track

      By TOM KANE <mailto:tomkane@...>

      RIVER VALLEY — "We haven't made a whole lot of progress in the six
      months we've been in operation," said Walter G. Rich. "It takes time to
      get a business to switch from one carrier to another."

      Rich is president and CEO of the Central New York Railroad (CNYRR),
      which has leased the rail line along the Delaware River between Port
      Jervis and Binghamton, NY.

      "However, we are meeting expectations and will be spending $1.5 million
      this fall on rehabilitation of tracks and other infrastructure," Rich said.

      The line was to be abandoned by Norfolk Southern Railroad, one of
      America's largest railroad companies, which views the 125-mile line as a
      low priority.

      Rich, who specializes in taking over endangered railroads, is confident
      that the short-line railroad can survive if there is an intense campaign
      to find users.

      "Recently, the Norboard Company of Deposit, a producer of fiber board,
      has returned to using our railroad," Rich said. Rich is also focusing a
      great deal of effort on the bluestone industry in the Upper Delaware
      Valley.

      One of Rich's first steps in taking over the railway was to get a
      reduction of the railroad's property taxes at a faster rate than the
      abatement schedule authorized by the state's Railroad Ceiling Law, which
      was passed in order to correct the state's over-taxation of the property
      in the past.

      In the counties of Sullivan, Broome and Delaware, county and local
      governments agreed to the tax abatement to aid in rebuilding the rail line.

      In Sullivan County, the railroad is used by Narrowsburg Feed Company and
      Cochecton Mills. The two companies employ over 70 workers.

      "I know they've been working hard to get more businesses," said Dennis
      Nearing, co-owner of Cochecton Mills. "If they don't succeed, it will be
      a big expense for us to truck things from the Midwest. We'd have to pass
      the cost on to the farmers who are hurting as it is."

      Rich said, "One of the circumstances that has been a surprising boon to
      us is the increase of overhead business." Overhead refers to the
      periodic use of a railroad company's line by outside carriers who need
      to meet the increasing demands of the freight business.

      "Norfolk Southern and CSX are experiencing increased traffic during July
      and August and have been throwing business our way," Rich said.

      "Short line operators, like Central New York, are more willing and able
      to take over lines that the bigger railroads don't want," said Eugene
      Blabey, chairman and CEO of the Western New York and Pennsylvania
      Railroad. "For this reason, the short-line operators are more successful
      at saving railroads."

      Blabey has no direct interest in CNYRR but uses its tracks on occasion,
      he said.



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