Adirondack Railroad, by John Taibi
It was the New York Central Railroad that brought the eyes
of the World to view the beauty of Adirondack Park. For 73 years, the Central’s
Adirondack Division trains introduced their passengers to the majesty of the
Park’s mountains and the awe-inspiring settings in which the Park’s many lakes,
ponds, rivers, and streams were collectively regarded as attractive “sheets” of
water. For these years the New York Central Railroad and Adirondack Park –
America’s premier railroad and preserve – co-existed harmoniously, each
complementing the other. But, this marriage ended suddenly in 1965 when
passenger operations ceased between Utica and Lake Placid due to the changing
travel attitudes of visitors destined to the Park. The automobilists, however,
soon discovered that roads could not take them to the heart of the Park where
the rails had.
The New York Central’s system trackage was reduced in length
when the railroad sold its line through the Adirondacks to New York State in
1974. For four years the line lay dormant, but the Adirondack Railway was
allowed to operate trains to Lake Placid until 1980. Then, dormancy returned to
the Snow Jct. to Lake Placid railroad corridor.
As the 100th Anniversary of the of the completion
of the Adirondack Division’s predecessor – the Mohawk & Malone Railway –
approached, individuals realized that the significant event would be a good
time to bring the line back to life. On July 4, 1992, the Adirondack Centennial
Railroad was allowed by New York State to run tourist trains from Thendara to
Minnehaha. At nearly the same time, the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society
was formed, and on January 1, 1994 the ACRR became the Adirondack Scenic
Railroad that operated under the guidance of ARPS.
Over time, the ASRR prospered and expanded its operating
district to include running trains to Carter, Big Moose, from Utica to
Thendara, and from Saranac Lake to Lake Placid. Then, as the ASRR emerged as
the Adirondack Railroad in 2020, New York State committed funding for the
rehabilitation of the “Lake Placid Corridor” from Snow Jct. to Tupper Lake.
After two years of track and right-of-way rehabilitation,
the Adirondack Railroad once again was able to expand its tourist service to Beaver River,
and then directly through the heart of the Park to Tupper Lake. People were
once again able to view the magnificent Adirondack Park scenery that had been
seen earlier by the New York Central Railroad’s generation of passengers.
After taking a fond look back at the glorious years of
Adirondack service by the New York Central, “The Adirondack Railroad” examines, explores,
and interprets the following railroading eras that provided service through the
Park while New York State possessed ownership of the line. As in the past, the
Adirondack Railroad and America’s foremost Park interact in a manner – today – that
benefits both the railroad passengers who desire to see the otherwise
inaccessible interior regions of the preserve, and the Park that should be seen
by tourists to be appreciated. In this way, the Adirondack Railroad perpetuates
the memory of the earlier New York Central Railroad service so that railroading
and the Park still complement each other and interact perfectly together.
On October 24, 1892, when the Mohawk & Malone Railway
opened for service, Dr. Webb knew that it would be a line where passengers
enjoyed Adirondack Park vistas. Now, 131 years later, the Adirondack Railroad
provides the same enjoyment for its passengers.
This is John Taibi’s 15th book about
railroading, mostly within New York State.
360 pages, 601 color photographs, and 191 black and white
MSRP $94.95 NYCSHS Member Price $78.96 and that is 20% off MSRP
And both prices include $15.00 shipping and handling cost.
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