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For history, scenery and access, keep railroad in Adirondacks

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For history, scenery and access, keep railroad in Adirondacks I found your August 9 editorial on the future of the Adirondack Scenic Railroad to be very interesting. Having taken a ride on the railroad last fall and hearing about the controversy between the rail enthusiasts and hikers, I felt that the editorial didn’t adequately show both sides. The group that is trying to shut down the railroad is very well organized and had spent considerable ...

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August 11, 2013
2:10 p.m.

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Organizations such as Saratoga PLAN have a lot of good ideas. Good ideas, however, that are based on taking over someone else's land. They leave it up to others to own and nurture these scenic views, then they show up and claim that it's good for the hikers. Well, taking out a railroad might be good for hikers, but it's not real great for those who like to take the train. Not everyone is a hiker and it's presumptuous of any group to claim to be protecting the scenic land when it's solely for their own use. Just because it's scenic doesn't mean that hikers alone get to determine its use. Keep the trains....train riders enjoy the scenery, too.

August 12, 2013
7:17 a.m.

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My favorite way to travel is by train and that is because of the view. Again, an elite few feel that they are the only ones who matter.

August 12, 2013
8:56 a.m.

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Redskins, Dago, Mick, WHO CARES. Get a life and some thicker skin. Racism and name calling exists because people bring attention to it and it will continue as long as people know that it bothers you. Are the U.S. Marines going to cry if someone calls them a leatherneck?

August 12, 2013
2:59 p.m.

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I do a bit of hiking myself and I think it would be kind of boring hiking along an old rail bed that has little or no elevation and direction change. I've been on several of these abandoned tracks in the north woods and they don't look all that appealing for a hike either. Is it really hiking\skiing they (whoever they are) want to promote, or exclusion of people who might want to travel to these remote locations by rail? Rail travel would be a lot better to use than cars which produce only congestion, air pollution, and other headaches. You can move a few hundred people through an area by rail several times a day and probably not notice a lot of impact, but try and move that many people by individual cars through an area, and it becomes a traffic bottleneck. If these Adk towns want more tourist dollars, it would only benefit them by getting more people there easily by a nice scenic train ride instead of autos which often have trouble just finding a parking spot in these small towns.

August 12, 2013
4:25 p.m.

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I agree with biWemple about the flat trails being a bit boring. Yes, many people will come to hike and bicycle ... but a lot more people will come AND SPEND MONEY for a unique railroad experience. (It's too bad they don't also embrace public transit as well ... strange on what people will do for vacation but not everyday activity.)

August 13, 2013
12:22 p.m.

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I have to agree with both biWemple and Robbump, although trains are not the only way to see natures splendor. Horseback is another way, but I won't get into that here.

I think that traveling by train is one of the more satisfying modes of travel around today. I find that flying is a pain in the rear, with the security check-points, the pat-downs, and x-rays, I feel like my private life has been invaded, and I just have issues with the methods that are taken to ensure my security inflight. I also find it difficult to try to identify places from the air to show my wife. Sort of "Oh look, Honey, there is where Andersonville Prison was!" As I have by now a crick in my neck from looking out those little windows that are mounted where no one can look out of. Al least a train you can see out of the windows and identify places you know about. Like as you head south on the east side of the Hudson, the Hudson River Lighthouse, Castleton State Park,Claremont Historic Site, Bannerman's Island, West Point, Sing-Sing Prison, Places like that to those who have never seen them before.
As far as using rail beds for bicycle paths, who is going to do all of the initial work to get those rail beds ready for the bicycles and their riders? How much is that going to cost? You are going to have to have the road beds graded every year is they are dirt because of other users during the winter months unless they are strictly patrolled! And both you and I know that isn't going to happen. There just aren't enough State Troopers and EnCon Officers available to patrol all areas 24/7/365 to catch the snowmobilers, and ATV's, and possibly some 4X4 trucks trying to do the impossible. And there will be some nut who will try.
Are you going to remove the old ballast and/or cinder bed? That is gong to cost money! Then you will have to grade(level) the bed, more money. Are you going to provide shelters for those who may want to camp over night? Those shelters aren't cheap, more money! Waste facilities(outhouses) are a good idea, more money and good for personal hygiene. I mention this only because most people don't know how deep to dig a latrine. So maintenance on that is going to cost more money. (lime and pine sol). Lord, I forgot about the old rails and ties. There is some big bucks! Those rails are heavy, and spiked to the ties. The ties aren't exactly featherweights either. If memory serves me, they are 8"X8"X8'long, and treated with creosote. So the creosote makes them un-burnable, because of the chemicals in them, that is dangerous in itself.
So I would opt for keeping the railroad and making a go with that. Yes you can get the money for eh scrap iron of the rails, plates, and spikes, but that is about all that is salvageable.I think the rest would have to be considered expenses.