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Just a quick note from your friends to the east

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  • oleroadslug
    Apologies Gino and list. Borrowed this from the D&H group. Very interesting. This would bring me back for a visit.... Adirondack branch (new life) Posted by:
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 24, 2006
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      Apologies Gino and list. Borrowed this from the D&H group. Very
      interesting. This would bring me back for a visit....

      Adirondack branch (new life)
      Posted by: "Edward Seaman" e.seaman@... palmerfalls
      Sun Sep 24, 2006 5:17 am (PST)
      CORINTH -- All the involved parties are on board in the effort to
      bring a scenic rail line from the Adirondacks to Saratoga Springs.

      The only question now is when the train will reach the station.

      If everything goes right, leaf peepers could be making their way
      from the Spa City to North Creek at this time a year from now, but
      many hurdles are still left to clear.

      'We're doing preliminary engineering as we speak,' said Steve Fisk
      of Canadian Pacific Railroad. Last spring, CP Rail sold a 16-mile
      stretch from Corinth to Saratoga Springs to the Town of Corinth for
      $2.2 million. Warren County owns and has already upgraded another 40
      miles from North Creek to Antone Mountain Road in Corinth.

      For trains to reach the Spa City, the rail bed from Corinth to
      Saratoga Springs must be upgraded to allow for speeds up to 30 mph.
      The project was sidetracked this summer when beaver dams in a remote
      area of Greenfield let go, washing out a 250-foot section of rail
      line.

      'The critical issue is getting the hole filled,' Fisk
      said. 'Hopefully work will begin this fall.'

      Operated by John and James Riegel, the Upper Hudson River Railroad
      has been making 14-mile round trips from North Creek to Riparius
      since 1999. The Riegels have a lease agreement with Warren County
      that runs through 2008.

      This winter, Corinth and Warren County will jointly issue a request
      for proposals allowing firms to bid on the rail line's operation.
      John Riegel said the number of riders has dropped considerably since
      the line first opened, from about 24,000 per year to fewer than
      18,000 this year.

      The novelty has worn off among local residents, and skyrocketing gas
      prices have affected many tourist operations throughout the region.

      'That's why it's so important to have the whole thing open,' Corinth
      Supervisor Richard Lucia said. 'Once the line reaches Saratoga
      Springs, Corinth will be open to the world.'

      Plans call for extending the season and running ski trains from the
      Spa City to Gore Mountain. New York City residents could enjoy
      winter getaways from Grand Central Station to North Creek without
      ever needing a car.

      CP Rail has retained freight rights to the line and Lucia said
      several businesses, including construction firms, have already
      expressed interest in shipping goods and products to the North
      Country via rail.

      This summer, tourist trains made several longer runs to 1,000 Acres
      Resort. Riegel said a 'River, Raft and Ramble' package is possible,
      allowing people to kayak the Hudson River from Thurman to 1,000
      Acres and ride the train back.

      Getting the line up to speed

      For the tourist line to become fully functional, however, stations
      must be built or renovated at several stops along the route.

      'You want stops because you want to pick up people,' Riegel
      said. 'It would be ideal to have stations, but temporary facilities
      could be used before the final stations are built.'

      Warren County is in the process of buying the Riparius station. New
      stations are planned for Thurman and Hadley, and an engineering firm
      has been hired to evaluate whether Corinth's dilapidated station can
      be preserved or a new one is needed.

      Located somewhat outside the village, the historic old structure has
      fallen into major disrepair with rotted ceilings, floors and walls.

      'My own personal recommendation would be to tear it down and
      rebuild, and try to capture as much of the original character as you
      can,' Lucia said.

      Albany-based Creighton Manning Engineering is expected to release a
      report this fall.

      'I remember when I was a little kid, taking the train from here to
      Saratoga with my mother and then to Whitehall,' said 70-year-old
      Byron 'Pete' Guy, of Corinth. 'My father used to work on the
      railroad. I used to run up to the coal yard at noon and bring him
      his lunch.'

      Like many people, he can't wait for tourist trains to start making
      their way north again, bringing much needed revenue to local shops
      and stores.

      'I think it would be great,' Guy said. 'I really do.'

      Some officials say the railroad could reach Saratoga Springs late
      next summer.

      'My hope is that this time next year we'll be starting fall foliage
      runs into the Adirondacks, ' said Jack Kelley, of Saratoga Economic
      Development Corp. Kelley also knows how slow the wheels of
      government can turn, especially when bids must be evaluated and
      approved not just for a rail operator, but for train station
      construction projects as well.

      So his optimism is tempered with experience when predicting the
      railroad's completion date.

      'Five years ago I stopped guessing,' he said.

      Rich with history, beauty

      For people who have ridden the train, there's no doubt about the
      rail line's scenic beauty. Paralleling the Hudson River much of the
      way, it takes people deep into the woods, traveling to places
      motorists never get to see.

      'These are unbelievable rides,' said train engineer Steve Wildermuth
      of Hadley. 'The view is breathtaking. It's so relaxing to ride along
      the river.'

      In Hadley, the railroad crosses the Sacandaga River on a high
      trestle, overlooking the newly reopened Bow Bridge, and there's also
      a great deal of history to the line. Theodore Roosevelt boarded a
      train at the North Creek depot en route to Buffalo where he was
      sworn in as president following the assassination of William
      McKinley.

      The railroad itself dates to the 1800s when summer vacationers would
      make their way would to grand old boarding houses throughout the
      Adirondacks. During World War II, the line was extended from North
      Creek north to Tahawus where minerals used in making armor were
      found.

      The future lies with the railroad's ability to attract and retain
      customers over the long haul, especially with the rising cost of
      operations. The train's massive diesel engine has a 1,500-gallon
      tank, which has accounted for $10,000 weekly fuel bills.

      'We're struggling but I see light at the end of the tunnel,' Riegel
      said. 'If the ski train happens and we can extend the season, our
      numbers should grow.'
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