Category Archives: Adirondacks

Setting a Goal, Earning The View

conquering the climb; 46 Mountains, One Lifetime

For months I have been trying to brainstorm the perfect blog that I would have no problems writing endless posts and taking endless pictures for. I started giving up on my little blogging hobby; Every weekend I’m gone on a camping trip.. how could I even make my posts consistent? And then I thought, “Why not combine my two favorite things… posting content online with my outdoor adventures.”

So now here I am, writing a blog about my goal to climb all 46 of the Adirondack High Peaksin upstate New York. The only feeling greater than being surrounded entirely by nature is the feeling of overcoming a goal as great as climbing a mountain. I hope to try and put those feelings into words and share with you the exhilarating feeling that is reaching your dreams, or in this case, the summit.


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Delivering a baby on the side of the road in Port Elizabeth


Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

I’ll be totally blunt. Port Elizabeth is not the most thrilling city in the world. This was my last stop before heading back to Cape Town, and due to bus timetables over Christmas, I ended up stuck there a little longer than I wanted to be. The town seems very industrial, made for work rather than play. The beaches are rocky and the small strip of attractions on the beachfront leaves a bit to be desired. Despite all this, my time in Port Elizabeth will be something I never forget.

On a day late last year in Port Elizabeth, the weather was lovely and mild, and rather than spend the afternoon lounging in my hostel or by the beach, I found myself wandering along a footpath between the ocean and a busy main road. I took this walk with the intention of clearing my head, getting some fresh air and…

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Dexter & Northern Railroad



Map above from the 1957 ETT shows the line in place from Dexter Junction to Dexter.


Map above shows Dexter today.


Map above is a close-up of Dexter today. Note what looks like the trace of the New York Central on the right above the river. Note a small bridge in bottom left. This COULD have carried the Dexter & Northern from the plant to the New York Central connection.

Recently saw an “anniversary” announcement: “In 1956, the Dexter & Northern Railroad line was purchased by the New York Central Railroad and reopened for service.” Now I did know a little about this short line’s early history, but nothing about it’s later life.

I had access to New York Central Employee Timetables (ETT) from 1941, 1957 and 1959. The Dexter & Northern Railroad connected with the Cape Vincent Branch of the New York Central at Dexter Junction. The…

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Adirondack Ore Run on the New York Central Called For High Class Railroading



Been a lot of recent discussions in New York Central Forums on Benson Mines. It is in the Adirondacks but on the New York Central it was connected to the St. Lawrence Division between Watertown and Syracuse.

Pictures (FANTASTIC) above are from the old NY Central Headlights magazine and REALLY tell a story.

There was a daily train BP-1 from Benson Mines to Youngstown, Ohio. It was blocked
1. Cleveland ore
2. P&LE (except ore)
3. LaBelle ore (south of Youngstown somewhere)
4. Aliquippa ore
5. Pittsburgh ore.

It picked up at Deferiets which was a paper mill. It also handled P&LE traffic from Watertown, Rochester, Batavia, Buffalo and Ashtabula.

Car supply was from the normal flow of hoppers through Dewitt yard. That was a bit of a problem. Many hoppers were inspected at DeWitt to find enough with the tight doors needed for ore service. Many cars suitable for…

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All Aboard for the Polar Express

As you know, we have been talking about the train to Lake Placid and the Adirondack Scenic Railroad a lot.


A blogger we enjoy is Phyllis Zimmerman.  She just published a great blog on a trip a few years ago on the Polar Express.
The Express runs between Utica’s Union Station and “The North Pole,” otherwise known as Holland Patent. At the North Pole, Santa comes aboard and listens to the wish list of every little girl and boy on the way back to Utica.
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Train to Lake Placid: New York State Travel Corridor

NYS DOT Freight & Passenger Rail Bureau,
My family has has property in the Adirondacks since 1971, and right out of High School I spent two years up there working on 1980 Winter Olympics facilities including the Olympic Bobsled Run, the Lake Placid Hilton, and the Adirondack Physicians and Surgeons Building. I am still active in the area and would love to see Lake Placid and Montreal bid for a future Olympics as it definitely would impact the area and further help with the advancement of rail transportation in the Adirondacks. The recent prominence and dispute between rail enthusiasts and conversion-to-trail advocates along the Remsen – Lake Placid corridor is very interesting. The option of a trail-rail combination seems logical and mutually beneficial. The corridor is generally 100 feet wide and with the right design, planning and especially budget enhanced by federal funds allocated for an Olympic event, it could work.

However, there is a much more important factor no one has addressed, that would not just involve a +/-$20 million repair of the existing tracks, but a complete overhaul, including any design and budget that would enable a trail-rail use of the corridor. What has not been discussed is that the Remsen – Lake Placid corridor as well as rail lines once operated by NY Central & Hudson River Railroad, and the Delaware Lackawanna & Western Railroad and Rome Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad may become the 3rd & 4th tier local service components of the NY State high-speed railway (HSR) system. As you may know from 2008 US DOT maps, the proposed 1st & 2nd tier main lines run south-north from NYC to Montreal thru Albany and east west from Albany to Buffalo (and on to Toronto) thru Utica, Syracuse and other cities along the way. These historic corridors may comprise the local HSR system northern NY service lines from the Utica terminal on the main line thru Tupper Lake and re-connect to the main line at Plattsburgh, and a second line from the Syracuse terminal on the main line thru Malone and on to Montreal. The line will also run south from Utica thru Binghamton and down into Pennsylvania and connect to other main lines. Behind the scenes, a global consortium has been developing a plan and program to design, build, finance, operate, maintain, and transfer (DBFOMT) the HSR system in NY using a public-private partnership (PPP) procurement and finance model. The proposed consortium includes high-speed rail and finance experts from the US, Europe, and China. The enabling PPP legislation has been proposed by Governor Andrew Cuomo, called the “Innovative Infrastructure Act”. Soon after the legislation has been enacted, the consortium will seek project approval and formally announce the proposed project.

Therefore, the 1996 Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan should not be revised to forever exclude rail transportation as it would be detrimental to the high-speed rail system in New York, the revitalization of villages such as Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, and many others, the economic growth of the Adirondacks, and the State as a whole. The Adirondack Scenic Railway was just the start of re-establishiment of passenger rail service in northern NY, but it has a very bright future, and the Unit Management Plan should keep that opportunity intact!




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Jim Burdge

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Paul Smiths Rentals

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