Officials spar over railroad track use in New York

Written by RT&S Staff
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There might be too many stones at stake. Warren County, N.Y., officials do not want a section of rail line marked abandoned and switched over to a recreational trail, and one of the reasons is a business is looking into moving stone from former mines in Tahawus, N.Y., out of the region.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is asking that the Surface Transportation Board declare the line abandoned. Saratoga & North Creek Railway owns the 30-mile section and has been trying to store old tanker cars. The short line railroad company also wants to sell the stretch of tracks, but OmniTRAX, the leading buyer, has pulled out of negotiations.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation wants to work with Saratoga & North Creek on an interim agreement, which would free Saratoga & North Creek of any maintenance and liability costs on the track.

Mitchell Stone Products, however, and Warren County still have plans for the line. Warren County officials also have submitted a letter to the Surface Transportation Board to keep the track operational. Mitchell Stone Products plans on moving stone south from abandoned mines. Officials in Warren County, Essex County and the town of Newcomb also are concerned about language in the Department of Conservation’s application to the Surface Transportation Board. A possible sale of the tracks and the stone movement would make the line active. Warren County owns a 40-mile piece of track near the section that is being debated.

Warren County has until Oct. 23 to submit any concerns to the Surface Transportation Board.

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