OTHER Adirondack branch (new life)

Palmerfalls Sep 24, 2006

  1. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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    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.'
     
  2. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I certainly wish them luck! Here's hoping all goes well!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  4. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

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    I'd sure like to see that come to fruition, back in my "old stompin grounds" :teeth:
     
  5. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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    Adirondack Branch update

    Leaf-peepers to get a treat
    PAUL POST, The Saratogian
    09/30/2006

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    HADLEY -- Upper Hudson River Railroad will treat leaf-peepers to rides through northern Saratoga County today, from Hadley to Corinth.


    The scenic rail line will offer rides from Rockwell Street in Hadley every hour, on the hour, starting at 10 a.m. through mid-afternoon.

    Trains will stop on the 96-foot high trestle over the Sacandaga River that looks down on the historic Bow Bridge, which was recently reopened.

    Trains will consist of a locomotive, two coach cars, an open-air passenger car and a caboose.

    The railroad normally runs just between North Creek and Riparius in Warren County. Today's 45-minute rides are being offered to let people experience a different section of the line.

    Using a separate locomotive, the railroad will conduct regular trips between North Creek and Riparius today as well.

    Long-range plans call for extending trips from North Creek to Saratoga Springs. On Tuesday, state and local officials will hold groundbreaking ceremonies for a new station at Thurman, Warren County.

    Stations are also proposed for Hadley and Corinth.

    On Oct. 14, the railroad will host a special ride from Riparius to 1,000 Acres Resort, featuring a barbecue lunch.

    For more information, call 251-5334.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Sounds like fun! Would love to see photos!

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  7. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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    Adirondack Branch (it's old life)

    Tales from the rails: Bill Bibby shares some 37 years of stories


    [​IMG] [​IMG] By MAURY THOMPSON, thompson@poststar.com
    Thursday, October 5, 2006 6:54 AM EDT

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    PATRICK DOWD - DOWD@POSTSTAR.COM
    Railroad retiree and storyteller Bill Bibby shared some of his tales from the rails during an excursion train trip Tuesday from Thurman to North Creek. Bibby worked for the Delaware & Hudson Railroad for 37 years before retiring in 2004.
    En route from Thurman to North Creek -- "This ride today is very reminiscent of riding this train in the 1950s," said Bill Bibby, as an Upper Hudson River Railroad excursion train pulled out of Thurman, bound for North Creek.

    The excursion on Tuesday was part of a ground-breaking celebration for the new Thurman station, to be constructed next year.

    Government officials heralded the rail line as a catalyst of economic development.

    Bibby, who worked 37 years for the D & H Railroad and its successors, talked more about his long-time connections with the rail line.

    As a child, he traveled with his mother from North Creek to Saratoga Springs via rail for routine shopping trips.

    Passenger service along the line ended in 1956, but his connection with the rail continued.

    Bibby's father worked for the D & H before him.

    As early as age eight the son would tag along with the father to work.

    "It was tag-along work. I'd get an ice cream cone at the end of the day," he said.

    In his early teenage years, Bibby earned spending money sweeping out the North Creek station.
    On June 25, 1967, he started working for the D & H as a brakeman.

    "I graduated (from high school) Saturday night. Sunday night I went to work for the Delaware & Hudson Railroad. I was 19 years old," he said.

    The pay was $25.27 for an eight-hour shift.

    The job of a brakeman consisted of coupling and uncoupling rail cars as part of the process of switching them to a different track.

    During Tuesday's train ride, Bibby pointed out various landmarks and talked about their historical significance.
    One story would flow into another, as each story would remind Bibby of yet another anecdote.

    A branch off the main line was a route for transporting paper, sawdust, feed and coal in and out of Warrensburg, he said.

    Warrensburg Board and Paper Co., Pasco Feed and Emerson Coal all depended on rail for transportation, he said.

    North Creek, on the other hand, depended on the rail line to bring New York City tourists to the area.

    "North Creek, in its evolutionary years, was really put on its foundation from the ski trains," he said.
    International Paper Co. at Corinth relied on the rail line, and there was a sand distributor at White's siding, south of Corinth.

    The company sold box car loads of sand to the railroad.

    The railroad spread sand on the rails to provide traction if it rained or if rails were covered with leaves, he said.

    Discussion of the sand operation reminded Bibby of Stillwater siding, located farther north between North Creek and Tahawus.

    Crews would split 80-car long trains into two smaller trains in order to make it up the hill, a term called "doubling the hill," he said.
    "They had three locomotives pushing that train," he said.

    Talking about the route to Tahawus reminded Bibby of when he used to ride along in the caboose as a youngster.

    There was a coal stove, an ice box and all sorts of tools.

    "One of the things I remember most was the venison stew cooked at noon time," he said. "That was our refuge from the storm. It was a sanctuary for railroad story telling."

    As the train approached The Glen, a siding south of Riparius, Bibby recalled a tragic rail accident that occurred near there on August 26, 1946.
    A scheduled passenger train was coming north from Saratoga Springs, while a special run taking children home from a summer camp was coming south.

    The engineer of the southbound train should have pulled on to the siding, but didn't, causing a head-on collision.

    "The northbound train had rights over the southbound train. He was supposed to be there," Bibby said.

    Engine 451, the lighter of the two, was headed north.

    For some reason, no one knows just why, the engineer of southbound Engine 503 didn't pull off.
    "They didn't do it -- mental vacuum," Bibby said. "Both of those locomotives were cut up into scrap right up there -- never ran again."

    Bibby pointed to a marker along the tracks that memorializes the wreck.

    From there, Bibby's story-line reflected back to childhood, when the railroad was the major means of transporting appliances and large goods.

    Montgomery Ward shipped items from a warehouse in Albany, he said.

    "Like UPS today -- that's how it came to these small towns," he said. "I got my first bicycle in a railroad car."

    It was in 1959. Bibby was 12 years old.

    A baggage handler handed it down from the rail car to him.

    "He said, 'Here Billy, here's your bike,'" Bibby mused.

    The agent/telegraph operator at North Creek station was James Parkas.

    Parkas' assistant used to roll his own cigarettes using Bull Durham tobacco.

    "But his tie and his shirt were all burned with holes from the process of lighting those cigarettes," Bibby laughed.

    The station was a hub of activity in North Creek.

    "It seemed to be the headquarters of news and information," he said.

    Bibby retired in 2004, and now builds model railroad layouts and tells railroading stories.

    "I went from the big trains to the little trains, if you will," he said.

    Bibby's face lit up as he pointed out the window at a house near Riverside station.

    "Old Joe Coates lived there," he said. "He was my mentor to get me on the railroad when I hired out."

    Back then, you had to know someone with clout to get a railroad job, he said.

    Bibby started talking about how railroaders are like a family, which led him to mention Tippy No Toes, a hobo who lost several toes because of frost bite.

    "Many a night at Mechanicville I shared my lunch with him," Bibby said.

    Hobos were part of rail life, he said.

    "But they weren't bums. It was part of a lifestyle," he said. "Years ago hobos had their marks -- their own special marks" to designate which families along the rail line were generous, he said.

    Bibby said he tells stories about railroad life, because the lifestyle is disappearing.

    "What you see is a full-blooded Irishman, but not just an Irishman." he said. "You're talking to a guy that saw it, and lived it and worked it from the time I was a kid."

    Storytelling is a calling, he said, similar to the way followers of Jesus wrote down what he did and did in the Bible.

    "Not to sound like Billy Graham ..." he said.

    "Maybe we should get a pot of soft coal going," he said. "Right now looking out the window you wouldn't know what year it was. We're re-enacting."

    Soon after that, the train pulled into North Creek station, and the storytelling was over.
     
  8. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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  9. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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  10. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Very interesting story, and some interesting links!

    I'll post a few interesting scraps below, from this same branch. Hope someone enjoys.

    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  12. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Corinth, New York:

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    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  13. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    North Creek, New York:

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    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Saratoga (Saratoga Springs), New York:

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    :D

    Boxcab E50
     
  15. Palmerfalls

    Palmerfalls TrainBoard Member

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    Adirondack Branch

    Boxcab, really interesting documents. Are you from the Saratoga/Glens Falls area?

    Ed
     

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