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Change of horn, change of mind on train

August 9, 2011
By Jeremy V. Riendl

To whom it may concern at the Adirondack Scenic Railroad:

I am a resident of 66 Bloomingdale Ave., Saranac Lake, close to where your Scenic Railroad departs for Lake Placid. I have been enjoying the Scenic Railroad going past my house for the past couple of years, and now that my daughter is over a year old, she enjoys watching the train go by.

Unfortunately, this season you lost your in-town horn and have been forced to use the out-of-town horn on your engine. This horn is very loud to residents who live anywhere near your tracks, and due to the sometimes overzealous application of said horn, it has become a nuisance. I figured we could live with the nuisance for the remainder of the season with the hope that you could acquire the proper equipment for next season.

Tonight changed my mind. Your late-night wine-tasting train left for Lake Placid with a new/different engine than usual. The horn on this train (which was used in excess of the two toots per crossing) was outrageously loud. So loud, in fact, that I grabbed my daughter and ran inside. My ears are still ringing from being outside when the train rolled by and the conductor held the horn down for at least seven seconds straight.

Not only is this horn dangerous to the hearing of young children and adults; it also is another sign of how little your association cares about issues with your train that impact the local community. In your rush to pick up a dollar from tourists, you have stepped over and on many of the residents of Saranac Lake who share their year-round residence with your trains and railroad. It would seem to me that you would wish to foster good will between your association and the local communities that surround and sustain your business. Clearly this is not the case.

In addition to the horns, my neighbor has discussed with me the trimming practices of your crews who clear brush in the spring. We both share a yard on the tracks with a generous amount of room between our residence and the tracks. Every spring your crews come through and cut trees and the tops of trees which are near the tracks, and then dump them into our yard. We have spoken to the crews who come through, and they seemed unconcerned and merely told us that they have a 50-foot right of way to cut and clear. If this is the case, then their right of way would terminate in what we currently consider to be our yard. It is my understanding that a right of way gives users the ability to pass through said property without being impeded. It is my belief that this right of way is currently being abused by the Scenic Railroad as they have decided that they have ownership rights. If this is the case, then they ought to maintain the property in the right of way and keep it neat and orderly at their own expense. As it currently stands, my poor neighbor has decided to use his time to clean up your mess. Perhaps he ought to be compensated for maintaining your property. Perhaps you ought to be mowing our lawn.

Don't even get me started on the dangerous chemicals you use to kill plants around the tracks running off into our yard where our children play.

As I stated initially, I have a good history with the railroad and would like to see it continue to thrive. However, there is little or no respect shown on the part of the railroad for the residents who live near the train tracks. While I understand that we are a minority of the residents of Saranac Lake, it is not acceptable that we should be treated as if we did not matter in the least. I hope that you will seriously consider what has been said and take steps to improve your relationship with your neighbors who have the best wishes for your continued prosperity.


P.S.: This email has been forwarded to my neighbors, the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Congressman Bill Owens.



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