Correction on train times

To the editor:

So I must ask this: If a newspaper prints facts claimed by a person which are able to be proven completely false, then when is a retraction or correction printed or issued?

In response to yet another letter by Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates’ Tony Goodwin, he states: “I have looked at timetables from each decade of the 20th century up to 1950, and the fastest service (1940) from Utica to Lake Placid took five hours and five minutes. (1) This is an average speed of 27 mph, not the 45 mph Mr. Hest claims.”

Goodwin (and ARTA’s) “fact checking” has been documented as being wrong before, and it is wrong once again. I’ll try to keep this brief, as listing out line after line of train schedule information can be tedious and boring to even the most staunch rail supporter:

Example No. 1: Train No. 13, the Lake Placid Express, listed as leaving Utica at 3 a.m., set for arrival at Lake Placid at 7:25 a.m. Scheduled travel time, four hours 25 mins (Source: New York Central employee timetable dated June 22, 1941, www.canadasouthern.com/caso/ett/images/adirondack-tt-0641.pdf)

Example No. 2: Train No. 10, departing Lake Placid at 8:25 a.m., arriving at Utica at 12:35 p.m. Scheduled travel time, four hours, 10 minutes

(Source: New York Central public-issued timetable dated June 22, 1935, www.canadasouthern.com/caso/ptt/images/tt-0635.pdf)

There are countless other examples, but I will stick with these two for the purpose of this letter. Goodwin has chosen to list one train as his example. This was a train that made EVERY stop on the line. Stops along the way such as Carter, Sabattis, Brandreth, Piercefield, etc., are all memories now, some of them with NOTHING left at their locations in 2016 to even show they existed. To use an all-stops train to compare with what a ride would be in 2016 is both foolish and highly misleading.

Even more amazing is that Goodwin says (and I quote again) that “the fastest service (1940) from Utica to Lake Placid took five hours and five minutes,” yet the info which I referenced above is literally less than an inch away from his own stated “fact” – another clear example of ARTA’s way of glossing over pertinent information to help their cause.

Another thing to keep in mind is that both his and my examples are both from the 1930s and 1940s – STEAM-era railroading. It is fairly safe to say that any train run from this day on the Adirondack tracks between Utica and Lake Placid will NOT be making numerous water stops along the way, as ALL long-distance steam locomotive were required to do. These water stops factor into ANY time listed, so when you factor in the time removed for station stops that no longer exist, and the time it takes to service a steam locomotive during its journey, even the fastest time of four hours, 10 minutes would be shaved off considerably.

I am hoping a public clarification or printed correction/apology is in order, because Goodwin’s printed letter from yesterday (Feb. 1) is quite inaccurate.

Thank you,

Walter Ordway



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