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Rail News: Short Lines & Regionals

New York petitions STB to stop Iowa Pacific's rail-car storage plan in Adirondacks

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Photo – Cuomo's Twitter account


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced the state will pursue legal action to try to stop Iowa Pacific Holdings from storing thousands of rail cars in Adirondack Park.

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation has filed a petition for waivers and exemptions with the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to support the state's application for "adverse abandonment."

The petition outlines the state's arguments against the railroad's plan to store up to 2,000 cars on tracks running through the park. Iowa Pacific, which owns the Saratoga & North Creek Railway that operates the rail line, announced the car storage plan in fall.

Additionally, the department sent a "cease and desist" letter to Iowa Pacific demanding that the short line stop receiving and storing cars on the line that runs through the Adirondack Park from North Creek in Warren County to the Tahawus Mine.

The letter also demands that the railroad remove existing cars stored on the line. State officials also have called on Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the owner of Union Tank Car Co. — which owns the cars — to stop storing them on the track that runs through the park.

"The Adirondack Park is home to some of the world's most pristine forest lands, which powers its tourism economy, and we will not stand by and allow it to be used as a commercial dumping ground," Cuomo said in a press release. "New York is prepared to exhaust all legal options to end this practice once and for all, and to help ensure the natural resources of the North Country are protected from blight and from harm."

The railroad’s car storage plan indicates the cars would not contain hazardous materials. For the railroad, the plan would provide a new revenue source.

An email seeking comment from Iowa Pacific Holdings President Ed Ellis was not returned before deadline.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/21/2017