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The train’s dead; move on

To the editor:

I can’t help but be slightly amused and greatly befuddled by those that would leave the rails in place instead of creating a year-round recreational trail. It is certainly a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

I ran across this today, going back to the Jan. 19-26, 1961, Tupper Lake Free Press:

“Citing an ‘above the rail’ loss of $93,940 on its Adirondack Division passenger operations during 1960, New York Central Railroad had petitioned the Public Service Commission to permit ending all Adirondack rail passenger service, and vigorous opposition was initiated at a meeting at the village offices here 55 years ago, chaired by Mayor Adam R. Palmer. Village and town officials from Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, Tupper, Piercefield, Long Lake and Old Forge, Sunmount VA Hospital officials, representatives from local industries and area Boy Scout summer camps, and ski promoters shaped plans to enlist legislative support and fight loss of passenger service at a hearing set for Feb. 9 at Saranac Lake.”

If a major railway operator couldn’t make a profit on this line 55 years ago when the highway system in the Adirondacks wasn’t anywhere near as developed as it is now, then how on earth is a tiny operator ever going to make it work?

The answer is obvious: It can’t, without millions and millions of state and federal dollars in aid. I don’t see that happening when our national infrastructure is crumbling before our eyes.

The railroad will never, ever operate on a regular basis again; face the cold, hard truth. Ticket prices will be exorbitant, and it’s unlikely there would be much repeat business.

When 99 percent of the businesses in Tupper Lake support a recreational trail, it’s pretty obvious which option has more benefit. These aren’t people pursuing a hobby or a pipe dream; these are folks whose lives depend on building up business.

It would be nice if local and county governments would figure this out and throw their weight behind the trail. Consider the added revenue Franklin County would bring in sales tax.

The train’s dead; it’s time to move on.

Respectfully,

Glenn Poirier

Tupper Lake

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