QUEENSBURY — The Warren County Board of Supervisors Finance Committee on Thursday passed a resolution indicating it was “not in support” of a plan to bring hundreds of tanker train cars to the region for storage.
The committee’s action came after county leaders got clarification that the train cars that Saratoga & North Creek Railway informed them were coming to the region to be stored indefinitely were tank cars, not boxcars.
The company has not indicated what they had carried, but said that they had been cleaned and did not require any placards indicating they were carrying hazardous materials, said Horicon Supervisor Matt Simpson, chairman of the county board’s Public Works Committee.
“We have not been told what they carried or how many there will be,” he said.
The committee also has county Attorney Brian Reichenbach looking into its rights under the county’s contract with the rail company, said Queensbury at-Large Supervisor Matt Sokol, chairman of the Finance Committee. Sokol said snowmobile clubs would like to use part of the Warren County line if Saratoga & North Creek is not going to run winter trains this year, after it canceled them last year.
The company’s counsel, David Michaud, said the company had no comment Thursday afternoon.
The move Thursday by the 11-person committee was mostly ceremonial, as the county has limited ability to control what the rail company can do, particularly on the rail line that Saratoga & North Creek owns north of Warren County’s line.
That line, from North Creek north to Tahawus in Essex County, is where the company plans to store “hundreds” of train cars.
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That stretch of rails, which had formerly serviced the NL Industries mines in Tahawus, is owned by Saratoga & North Creek railway outright, but accessing it can only be done through the line owned by Warren County and town of Corinth.
“We heard today they are on their way,” said Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer. “I’m not in favor of it.”
The resolution will be taken up by the full county board on Oct. 20.
It is another blip in what has become a strained relationship between the county and the railroad, which had been behind on its revenue payments and was at odds with the county over schedule issues earlier this year and a proposal to store oil tankers on the northern line two years ago. (The railway later backed off that idea.)
Sokol said the railway made two payments in recent days to catch up on what it owed, which amounted to about $4,900.
The vote came two days after Lake George-based Protect the Adirondacks came out against the storage proposal as well, saying the train cars the railway has left there in recent years had become dilapidated and that the storage proposal may require the Adirondack Park Agency to review it as a “new use” of the rails in the state forest preserve.
The railroad’s general manager, Justin Gonyo, told county supervisors last week that storing the cars on rail line sidings to the north was a revenue source for the company. He said some of the cars were en route at that point, and supervisors said they were in Pennsylvania as of Thursday and could be in the region by the end of the week.