Friday, March 20, 2015

SNC 56 Is Almost There!

The Paint-Job is almost finished!!!

Special Thanks to Brad Peterson for sharing these awesome photos...

PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
 The latest addition to the SNC is BL-2 #56.  After arriving in North Creek last March, she is closer to be a full working member of the railroad...

PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
Staring down her sister #52

PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
Here is the interior of the 56

PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
Almost there and absolutely beautiful!

PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
Never hurts to place her by an ALCO Product!

PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
Hopefully this RS-36 will join in the fun on the SNC

PHOTO: Bradley Peterson Jr.
Photo-bombed by former ALCO Plant Switcher #5

Monday, March 9, 2015

Catskill Mountain Railroad offers to help Ulster County repair washed-out areas

Catskill Mountain Railroad offers to help Ulster County repair washed-out areas

The Polar Express train operated by the Catskill Moutain Railroad,crosses over Washington Avenue in Kingston last December. Tania Barricklo — Daily Freeman file
KINGSTON >> The Catskill Mountain Railroad, which is embroiled in a legal battle with Ulster County, is offering its help repair three washouts on the western end of the former Ulster & Delaware RaiIroad line.
In a March 6 letter to Brian Cunningham, acting commissioner of the county Department of Public Works, Catskill Mountain Railroad President Ernie Hunt said the company “would like to assist Ulster County DPW in any way to help in these repairs.”
He said he appointed the company’s engineer to serve as liaison to the county and asked that Cunningham “schedule a working meeting ... at the soonest practical date.” Hunt’s offer follows an announcement made by County Executive Michael Hein during a recent Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce breakfast that the county will begin repairing the washed out areas.

Deputy County Executive Robert Sudlow said the county’s own professional engineer will begin assessing the damage and how best to proceed with the repairs once spring arrives.
“We have a professional engineer on staff, and I will defer to him,” Sudlow said.
He said he was unaware of Hunt’s letter to Cunningham.
“If I had the letter, my first step would be to go to the county attorney because of the lawsuits that are pending,” Sudlow said.
The Catskill Mountain Railroad and the county are locked in a legal battle stemming from the county’s attempt to evict the railroad for not living up to the terms of its lease of county-owned tracks.
In 2012, Hein announced plans to turn the Ulster & Delaware line east of the Ashokan Reservoir into a pedestrian trail.
In June 2013, the county served the railroad with a notice of default, claiming the railroad failed to live up to the terms of the 25-year lease under which it is allowed to operate tourist trains on the tracks between Kingston and the Delaware County line. The railroad currently uses two sections of track: one in the Kingston-Ulster area and one between Mount Tremper and Phoenicia,
The railroad subsequently filed a lawsuit against the county to stop the eviction prior to the May 31, 2016, the expiration date of the lease, as well as “unspecified damages” it says it’s entitled to because the county made “a number of statements that are derogatory and/or untrue regarding the Catskill Mountain Railroad ... in press releases, articles and/or public meetings.”
The county, in its countersuit, is seeking $1 million in damages it says it is due as a result of the railroad’s default on the lease.
That lawsuit is pending before state Supreme Court Justice Richard Mott.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ulster County is bleeding railroad dry!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

New Power On Saratoga's Polar Express!

After a traction malfunction earlier this week, Saratoga and North Creek's strongest power awaits repair...

The 8524 waits at the Saratoga Station for a lift and to get back up the mountain.

Dropping in to give relief is Pan Am Southern's 307...

Looks like the borrowed Geep is pulling the express down the hill, while The SNC's Main BL2 makes the trip up to Greenfield!

All photos by Gino DiCarlo

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Snowmobile group misleads - Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Here is a person who knows what he's talking about!  These trail people just want to ride their snow machines without the bumps (rail ties).  They don't care what happens to the trail during the non-snow season.  They've got the rails to trail people involved just to have more in their corner!!!!!

Snowmobile group misleads - | News, Sports, Jobs, Saranac Lake region รข€” Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Take A Ride Up The Sanford Lake Branch

 Take A Ride To Sanford Lake!

    Earlier this year I posted some photos of a trip I took on the Saratoga & North Creek Railroad on May 24th, 2014.  We traveled from North Creek to Saratoga Springs and back via a track speeder. It was part of a run sponsored by the NARCOA track-car group. What an awesome ride that was.  Here's a link if you haven't seen it!     What I wasn't lucky enough to be a part of was the trip they took the next day to Sanford Lake.  Someone fortunate enough to was Russ Nelson, a fellow Railroad-Archeologist.  Russ loves crawling through the woods in search of lost railroads and signs of railroads that were never even finished.  He was nice enough to share his photos from that trip.  I used his captions whenever possible!  My reason for sharing these photos is for those fans who are interested in seeing where the stone-trains will operate on The Saratoga And North Creek Railroad.  Enjoy!

All Photos 2014 Russ Nelson

Just North of the Yard at North Creek is the first milepost for the Sanford Lake Branch (Tahawus).

 Crossing Bridge Over Thirteenth Brook

Milepost SL 24/NC 5 (SL= North to Sanford Lake, NC= South to North Creek)

Crossing the Upper Hudson River

Stillwater Siding.   
Russ: They put a passing siding on the top of the hill so they could cut a train in two to get it up the hill, and then reassemble it.

 A long string of railcars!

 Preparing to cross NY-28

 Russ: Second crossing of Tahawus Road, heading north. This is the only "virgin" crossing I was able to photograph, which still has all the sand in the flangeways.

 Russ: The southern end of the Tahawaus yard. There is a four-track yard here. Only the two right-most tracks have been cleared out by the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad. The other two tracks look perfectly fine. They're just clogged with brush.

Russ: The southern end of the Tahawus yard. They had us split out into two groups. Motorcars without a turntable underneath them were on the leftmost track (the main line). Motorcars with a turntable were sent to the second track. Clearly, nobody was going on the third or fourth tracks (where I'm standing).

 Sunken track at Sanford Lake

Russ: The wye track on the right is still brushed over. There's also a washout closer to the tail switch. Not a problem for our motorcars, but they couldn't run a full-size locomotive over it. More to the point, though, is the snowplow fouling the other leg of the wye, making the whole wye unusable.

Russ: The northern end of the Tahawus yard, at the switch for tracks three and four. Still needs a bit of work before it can be used.

Russ: This switch point is bolted shut, and for good reason -- the tracks on the other side of the frog have been pulled. Used to go further into the mine, serving a building there that doesn't exist anymore.

Russ: The tracks that the flatcar is on stop between me and it. I think this used to be the main line into the mine. At least it looks that way from the configuration of the switch. The other tracks that I'm standing in the gauge of, continue for another few hundred feet.

Russ: Two things. First, you can see where the tracks went through the grass by the discolored grass, stressed by the lack of organic matter in the railbed beneath it. Second, in the soil pulled up by the fallen tree, you can see a rail clip.

RUSS: The tracks used to go this way. In the brush, you can see a flanger sign. That was a warning to snowplows that the flangeways were obstructed ahead, probably by a crossing, and they had to raise their equipment.

Russ: The Saratoga and North Creek's motorcar, pulling up the rear of the consist, switching back on to the main line.

Russ: Justin Gonyo, general manager of the Saratoga and North Creek Railroad, rode with us in their own motorcar. He's waiting for us and one other car to clear the switch so he can realign it to the siding where their motorcar is sitting. 

First crossing of Tahawus Road, looking south.

First crossing of Tahawus Road, looking north.

Russ: Stillwater siding, with a self-guarding frog. This is a problem for a speeder, because it could pick the point, go to the right, and dump us on the ground. Not a big deal for our little speeder, which we could simply pick up and put back on the tracks. A more serious problem for the motorcars that you can only turn with a turntable.

Russ: Here's where the rockslide was in earlier years that kept speeders from traversing the whole line. Fixed now, of course, along with a washout further to the south. Apart from brush, these were the only two impairments to the Sanford Lake Branch!

Passing Milepost SL19/NC10

Bridge over Racquette Brook, not far from Barton Mine's plant.

Just North of North Creek along the Hudson River.

A BIG thanks to Russ Nelson for allowing me to share his photos on my blog!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stone Trains Begin


Saratoga And North Creek's 821 and BL2 54 head North at Ordway's Siding, north or North Creek (PHOTO: Bradley Peterson)


More train rides, new freight deals boost railway’s prospects

QUEENSBURY — With a new freight-hauling contract, and a surge in sales of passenger trips, the Saratoga-North Creek Railway is enjoying a prosperous conclusion to 2014, railway general manager Justin Gonyo said this week.
A new themed passenger excursion called the Pumpkin Patch Express is to occur this weekend, with as many as 1,000 children and adults participating.
The trip features children a choosing a pumpkin to take home and visits to North Creek shops, billed as a walk down “Trick of Treat Trail.”
This fall-themed excursion is selling quite well, Gonyo said, noting it was sold out for Sunday Oct. 19 and filling up fast for Saturday Oct. 18 — at a price of $20 per ticket.
Leaving at 10 a.m. from Saratoga, the train — accompanied by a story-telling scarecrow character — arrives in North Creek at 12:15 p.m. for a three-hour layover. During this time, children paint their pumpkin, win prizes, taken a pony or hay ride as well as visiting the local stores for treats. Vendors of crafts and other wares are to be on hand, Gonyo said.
“We aim to boost foot traffic in the local businesses,” he said.
The railway already has 10,000 passengers booked for its 2014 Christmas-themed Polar Express excursions. Last year, these special trips occurred during late November and throughout December. For this year’s Polar Express, a additional double-decker dome car will join the existing two in order to boost the number of passengers, Gonyo said.
While ridership was light on this summer’s new North End Local which aimed to give Lake George visitors a ride from Thurman Station to North Creek, the railway is taking action to build the passenger traffic next year. Efforts are already underway to partner with businesses and boost publicity for this short-run tourist service, Gonyo said.
The railway’s special trains on Oct. 4 and Oct. 5 to Thurman Station were sold out, Gonyo said. These runs transported bargain-seekers from Saratoga to Thurman for Warrensburg’s huge World’s Largest Garage Sale event.
“Overall, we’re very pleased about the response to our North End Local during it’s first year,” he said, noting he and other railway officials expect growth for 2015. In late summer, Gonyo told supervisors that ridership overall during 2014 had increased by as much as 25 percent, year-to-date.
New rail freight contract signed
The big news, however, is a new freight contract the railway secured — to haul 2,000 tons of high-grade gravel per day via rail from Tahawus to Taunton, Mass., where the material is to be used for railroad ballast under the rails.
Another pending contract calls for 6,000 tons per day to be hauled by rail to Corinth, and trucked from there to Fall River, Mass.
Gonyo said Tuesday Oct. 14 that freight cars in Tahawus were already being loaded with the gravel, and that the freight trips to Taunton would begin the week of Oct. 20.
The high-friction gravel is from the abandoned NL Industries mines.
Another contract, calling for millions of tons of gravel to be transported to Long Island for road construction, is still being negotiated. This customer is seeking to have as much as 20 million tons of gravel hauled via rail over the next two decades.
Additional rail freight traffic over the Warren County-owned railroad is welcome news, county Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty said Tuesday.
“There has been some concern that getting the freight underway was taking longer than expected, but this is good news because it’s important to the finances of the railway operations,” he said.
Warren County and the town of Corinth, which jointly own the track and stations, receive a portion of the railway’s revenue.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Save the Adirondack Scenic Railroad!

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is one of the most beautiful train rides you will ever take!  Right now a group is wanting to tear up the historic rail line and create yet another recreation/snowmobile trail.  The Adirondacks has got plenty of those, but it only has one railroad that passes through the heart of it.  Most of all, it's a foolish idea to tear up a working railroad.  There are other rail beds to convert, but keep the historic rails in place.  
Some say the scrap value of this railroad is enough to build the trail.  Perhaps scrapping all of the snow mobiles in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake could build a nice little walking path outside one of those villages.  And the idea of a parallel trail to the rail line?  Absolute foolishness!  It will destroy the scenery outside of the coach's windows.  Please support this historic operation and visit

Please enjoy some fine photos of the Saranac Lake Depot taken by rail photographer Greg Klingler.  A mountain bike arriving at this station won't have the same impact....

All Photos: Greg Klingler