The environmental watchdog group Protect the Adirondacks is calling for the state to intervene in stopping what they describe as “a train graveyard” developing in the Adirondacks.
Out-of-service oil tankers are accumulating on tracks in the Adirondack Park as more than 50 out-of-use rail-cars are sitting in an almost mile long row on siding track in the Town of Minerva.
Unabashed in his opposition is Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said that old trains have no place on the tracks that traverse New York’s Forest Preserve land, protected property that brings in a substantial portion of the state’s annual $35 billion in tourism.
“Nobody goes to the Adirondacks to look at old trains, they go there to look at natural beauty,” Cuomo said on October 25 during a visit to Glens Falls Hospital. “We don’t own the tracks, there is question as to what legal right we have to oppose, it but we oppose it 100 percent and we are going to do everything we can to stop the owner from storing the trains on those tracks.”
It is unclear what sort of hazard these cars might be to the neighboring communities where they are being stored, but the group that has brought attention to this story is worried that the longer the cars sit unused, the greater the danger from hazardous materials.
“We run the risk of seeing Iowa Pacific create a 25-mile-long junkyard through the central Adirondack Park. This reckless and damaging plan must be stopped,” said Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks.
IPH, established in 2001, is in the business of acquiring railroads and developing rail-related services. The company claims to be committed to increasing industry standards by making improvements in services, facilities and equipment. IPH also seeks portfolio expansion by working on rail-related endeavors including car storage and property development.
The train cars are to be stored indefinitely, according to Bauer. The Chicago-based organization owns railroads across the country and has been reported to have occupied miles of railway in other states with out-of-service rail cars. The plan is not only self serving as a storage tactic but it was proposed that IPH offer storage services to other train operators as well, as a profit amplifier.
In a press release from Protect the Adirondacks released last week, it was reported that IPH’s storage on the Sanford Lake Railway is only the beginning of filling the company’s 29 miles of track from North Creek to the Tahawus Mine in Newcomb.
“How many will it take for the state to act? 100? 200? 500? It’s high time for the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency to assert their authority and stop this ill advised plan that undermines everything that the Adirondack Park is all about,” Bauer said.