Railroad revival would spark economy

To the editor:

I rode the last train to Lake Placid in 1964, and at that time the community lamented about the loss of passenger service and the New York Central’s “could care less” attitude about passengers. Editorials and news articles at the time suggested that the railroad be taken over by a new operator.

I do not understand the negative thinking of so many people who think the railroad is a nuisance. Over the past two decades since the Adirondack Scenic Railroad has been in operation, it has brought thousands of people to the region who might not have otherwise done so.

Revival of the railroad has been hailed by the village of Old Forge for sparking the economy in many ways, as a large segment of the population would rather ride the train than drive – especially since gas prices are 30 to 40 percent higher, and sometimes even more, than anywhere else. As time goes on, the tourism industry in the Adirondack region is going to be glad the railroad was preserved.

Also, all one has to do is ask any merchant in the village of North Creek what the railroad has done for them in the past couple of years. It’s sparked the local economy in a way no one thought possible, as it was becoming a ghost town.

There is no reason why snowmobilers and ATV enthusiasts cannot coexist with the railroad as they do in other parts of the country. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad in Cumberland, Pa., is a shining example of this, where a paved bike-snowmobile trail has been created adjacent to the railroad.

Also, just ask the proprietor of the restaurant in Big Moose what the railroad has done for him, where some days he’s been overwhelmed with customers.

It’s unfortunate that so many business people and government officials in the Lake Placid region are so blind. The people of Tupper Lake even built a new station at Faust, anxiously awaiting the rebirth of the railroad.

Richard Palmer