Rail car company will remove its tankers from Adirondack track

Train engines sit on tracks outside of the North Creek station of the Saratoga and North Creek Railway, alongside state Route 28. More rail cars were brought in this summer. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

Union Tank Car Company on Tuesday announced it has ordered removal of all of its rail cars from New York’s Adirondack Park.

A total of approximately 65 empty, cleaned tank cars owned by Chicago-based Union Tank Car had been temporarily placed on rail lines controlled by the Iowa Pacific Railroad. Removal of all 65 Union Tank Car units is expected to be completed by mid-January 2018.

“As we have previously explained, all rail car owners store idle rail cars from time to time until they can be returned to active service,” said William Constantino, general manager-leasing for Union Tank Car. “We select the storage provider, but not the precise storage location. We regret the railroad’s decision to place some of our rail cars in the Adirondack Park, which raised public concern about their effect on the park’s beauty and environment. We are acting to remove all Union Tank Car units from the Adirondack Park as soon as possible, relocate them to other areas outside the state of New York until they are returned to service and ensure none of our cars are stored in the Adirondack Park in the future.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called it a victory for the people of the state. “It’s just repugnant to the concept of the Adirondack Park that you would use it for a storage lot,” he said. “The Adirondack Park is one of New York’s great natural jewels and a driver of the North Country’s economy and never should have been used as a glorified junk yard.

“We need economic development, but every time we have a proposed development, it’s a balance. It’s under scrutiny, because we don’t want to lose the beauty of the asset.”

Cuomo said his administration had reached out to both Union Tank Car Company, which owns the rail cars, and Iowa Pacific Railroad, owner of the rail lines in the Adirondack Park. Although Union Tank Car Company will remove its cars, Iowa Pacific has not announced a change in plans.

Any rail cars that remain in the Adirondack Park after removal of the 65 Union Tank Car units will not be affiliated with Union Tank Car or its Canadian affiliate, Procor Limited, subsidiaries of Marmon Holdings Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company.

“We thank Union Tank Car for their prompt response,” said Cuomo. “We still have the track company [to deal with]. We have to make sure he doesn’t replace them with other cars.”

Cuomo said as far as the rail cars bringing in needed dollars to the park, “It’s not even a close call. There’s no revenue for anyone else. There’s no tourist attraction to look at old oil cars.

“In the wake of this important victory for New Yorkers, it is imperative that the Iowa Pacific Co. halt their plan to store thousands of rail cars once and for all. This administration has already called on them to cease and desist storing any future rail cars on the Tahawus Branch.

“I have made it very clear that we will not stand by and allow it to be used as a dumping ground, and we are prepared to exhaust all legal options to end this practice and keep the constitutionally protected Adirondacks forever wild.”


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