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Ruminations (in verse) on rail vs. trail

To the editor:

Yes railroads are great, except when they’re not.

In the Adirondack forest, the tourist train is fraught.

Remsen to Lake Placid, their 119-mile Cloud Nine,

Having failed for years to deliver, they still want all that line.

Claim a zillion miles per gallon, and flowers blooming on their path,

but folks choke on all their railroad soot, herbicide their aftermath.

Although they rarely venture inside the Blue Line’s route,

Their demand for more tax money is their only absolute.

Their promises forgotten, like sandcastles on the beach,

Their rail service to Big Moose a clear case of overreach.

They claim a long, great history which they do not own,

Like the rooster who claims his crowing causes sunrise all alone.

Their demand for sixteen million bucks to replace those rotted ties,

Then taxpayer subsidies expected, like a burger comes with fries.

They aspire to a tedious route that is double any other,

No evidence it’s feasible, but about that you needn’t bother.

They share little information ‘cept required income tax,

Their plans just dreams of hobbyists who wear striped railroad caps.

But a rail trail is a special thing to draw people from all around.

Ride a few miles, meals, a room, and spend money in your downtown.

Unlike a slow-motion tourist train, all day many miles from your store,

They’re on that train, with diesel on the brain, trying not to loudly snore.

Governor Cuomo, whatever you do, don’t fall for their old story,

Don’t give that railroad one more dollar, a hundred more obligatory.

They bit your hand when they went to court, and your generous deal is off.

The far-fetched plans of these choo-choo fans worthy only of your scoff.

Build the trail, Lake Placid to Old Forge, draw tourists to this state land.

They’ll come and stay, and spend and play, it’s a very much better plan.

David Banks

Rockville, Maryland

Formerly of Lake Clear

Former board member, Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates

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