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Railroad being disassembled in Lake Clear, Saranac Lake

Jim McCulley, working for National Salvage, uses a machine to unbolt railroad tracks Friday morning in Saranac Lake near the Cedar Street crossing.(Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)
An excavator operator lifts rails from the bed near Charlie’s Inn in Lake Clear Friday morning. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Snow-covered railroad ties and spikes remain on the bed after the rails were removed in Friday morning in Lake Clear. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)
Jim McCulley, working for National Salvage, uses a machine to unbolt railroad tracks Friday morning in Saranac Lake near the Cedar Street crossing. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)
Jim McCulley, working for National Salvage, uses a machine to unbolt railroad tracks Friday morning in Saranac Lake near the Cedar Street crossing. (Enterprise photo — Peter Crowley)

SARANAC LAKE — Jim McCulley used a machine to unbolt railroad tracks Friday morning in Saranac Lake, near the Cedar Street crossing.

McCulley, a snowmobiler from Lake Placid, was for many years a leading advocate for the now-underway plan to replace the tracks with a trail for biking, snowmobiling and other uses. He said he was especially enjoying the removal.

A fellow National Salvage worker said the rails could be removed with an excavator as soon as next week in Saranac Lake. In Lake Clear Friday morning, the track removal was already underway.

As the snow fell, an excavator operator lifted rails off the ties, heading from west to east. After the rails were removed, ties with spikes sticking out of them remained on the ground.

New York state, which owns the tracks, is replacing the rails with a trail between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid. The replacement work started at the Tupper Lake end last year. The state also plans to renovate the tracks from Tupper Lake south to Big Moose, connecting with an already operational line south to Utica.

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