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Tupper Lake begins effort to restore RR tracks

Railway financials defended

Pete Snyder secures the first wooden tie Nov. 5 at the Tupper Lake train station during an event to launch the “On Track to Saranac” campaign.

Pete Snyder secures the first wooden tie Nov. 5 at the Tupper Lake train station during an event to launch the “On Track to Saranac” campaign. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— Dozens of railroad supporters joined the Next Stop! Tupper Lake group at the depot Saturday, Nov. 5 to replace the first wooden tie under the tracks to Saranac Lake.

The group — which rebuilt the train station several years ago on the site of the old depot — launched its “On Track to Saranac” campaign with a “First Tie Down” photo opportunity, a ribbon-cutting ceremony, family-friendly activities, and an opportunity to climb aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s train as it stopped in Tupper Lake on the way to Thendara for the winter.

Standing in front of the train, Next Stop! Tupper Lake chairman Dan McClelland told onlookers that the “On Track to Saranac” campaign will take about three years to raise money and restore the tracks between Tupper Lake and Saranac Lake, where the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society (ARPS) operates a seasonal tourist excursion to Lake Placid.

“So we’ll have train traffic between Lake Placid and Tupper Lake,” McClelland said.

Within three to four years, the group hopes to have an Adirondack Scenic Railroad conductor shout, “Next stop! Tupper Lake.”

“And it’s going to be a great day,” McClelland said.

Officials from the group’s partner organizations were given a chance to say a few comments before the “tie down.” The first speaker was ARPS President Bill Branson.

“Bill has put ARPS back on solid financial ground, and it’s a successful business model right now,” McClelland said.

Branson addressed recent criticism in the media from members of the newly formed Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA), who favor tearing up the 34 miles of tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid to build a recreation trail.

“This thing’s going to happen in spite of what you read in the paper from time to time, which is annoying to all of us,” Branson said. “The facts speak for themselves.”

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