The New York State Department of Transportation has broken ground on a $1.9 million project to remove the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid on the former Adirondack Railroad right-of-way, so it can be turned into a 34-mile shared-use path for hikers, bikers, cross country skiers, and snowmobilers.
A second project will start in coming weeks to rehabilitate the existing rails between Big Moose and Tupper Lake in order to create the longest scenic railway in the country, according to the state.
The rail trail and scenic railway are key components of the 2020 Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan, a blueprint for developing the 119-mile corridor meant to bolster tourism and recreation. The corridor follows the path of a rail line constructed in 1892, and operated continuously until 1972. The state bought the line and its right-of-way in 1974.
Under the project administered by the DOT, tracks will be removed from the northern portions of the line above Tupper Lake. The Adirondack Rail Trail will be constructed in their place to connect Lake Placid, Saranac Lake, and Tupper Lake. The corridor will have signs to help visitors interpret the history of the railway, the cultures of adjacent communities, and the surrounding natural resources.
The state Office of General Services is leading the trail’s design and working to ensure it will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Once the trail is finished, the Department of Environmental Conservation will assume day-to-day management.
Construction is to begin in 2022 and will be completed in phases. The multi-use recreation trail is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.
According to the state, the $19.1 million project to rehabilitate the rails between Big Moose and Tupper Lake will allow the current scenic railway service – now operated by the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society under a use and occupancy permit from the state – to be extended 45 miles further into the Adirondacks.
Rail rehabilitation is expected to be complete by the end of 2021. Plans also call for the Tupper Lake Station to be redeveloped to serve as a terminus for rail operations.
This article is from the Times Union Newspaper by Tim Blydenburgh on Oct 22, 2020
This railroad was once part of the NYCS. For more info on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad: Click Here