38 Reasons to Save the Rails

  1. We have a rich cultural history and railroads are at the heart of the story. Thirty Eight miles of rail line from Kingston to Highmount.
  2. The railroad was a factor in the Catskill’s history and will be in the Catskill’s future
  3. These rails, although battered at some points are neither dead nor abandoned.
    • They do host active train service.
    • The ideal use of a historic resource is its original use.
    • This is a fundamental principle of historic preservation.
    • The rail corridor is a model of living history which deserves protection
  4. Tourism has been growing in the communities along the rail corridor. These communities are becoming a destination for arts and cultural tourism. Train service can be a high value asset for this market.
  5. Rail travel is an excellent, sustainable mode of transportation compatible with the character of the Catskill Park from ecological, social and economic standpoints.
  6. The per capita carbon footprint of rail travel is far less polluting than personal vehicle travel.
  7. Saving the rails re-uses the embodied energy and investment already devoted to construction maintenance and planning.
  8. Our unique Catskill Park is becoming both a national and international destination. FEMA funded repairs and improvements in the rail infrastructure will increase value to this regional asset.
  9. To tear out this existing backbone from our Catskill Park would be a foolhardy step backwards in the Ulster County’s goal to attract more visitors
  10. A trail alone with no rail support will result in greater cost for the county to provide security for user safety, litter maintenance and accessibility to aid in user injuries than the county has a budget for
  11. The rail infrastructure is valuable and a transportation asset that once removed will never be replaced.
  12. The active portions of the railway generate business to the communities near to those active portions
  13. The operating portions of the railway produce income for the landlord, Ulster County, which will only increase over time
  14. An operating train service provides options for recreational activities, as well as economic development to residents and visitors alike of all ages and varying degrees of mobility all along the corridor
  15. An operating train service can carry people from Kingston westward to stops all along the Rt 28 corridor and beyond
  16. By reinstalling the switch to the main line in Kingston, the possibility of freight service westward from Kingston will result in decreased truck traffic on Rt 28
  17. Saving the rails and building a trail allows for a greater diversity of trail user options of use for the user of the trail.
  18. A rail line represents a greater public good than a trail only, especially in a region that has several hundreds of miles of DEC maintained trails but yet has very little in the way of a transportation infrastructure.
  19. Removing a section of rails between 2 points is not the answer. Rail lines that fail to reach their endpoints are not economically viable and North America is littered with abandoned branch lines that back up this statement
  20. Those visiting to use a converted trail will most always be arriving by personal vehicle. This further removes those without personal transportation from experiencing the Catskill Park.
  21. One significant group of recreationalist who cannot be included in trail use if the rails are removed are the physically impaired.
  22. Trains will aide in access to the Catskill Park to those growing number of urbanites who do not own automobiles.
  23. Train service along the corridor will increase employment opportunities to those along the corridor.
  24. Employment opportunities will increase in towns along the corridor in which the trains have passengers embark and disembark.
  25. An active railway can provide emergency access in an event where roads are impassable.
  26. Rails with Trails allows the rail infrastructure to be used in the construction and maintenance of adjacent trails and to control access to more naturally sensitive areas.
  27. Rails with trails provides a system of Trains and trails that accommodates the broadest range of options for all users.
  28. Rails with trails provides a greater variety of uses in winter
  29. Rails with trails maintains rail service between communities and the potential of “drop off” services to outlying areas.
  30. Rails with trails avoids the waste of removing rail segments and greatly reduces the environmental impact of that removal.
  31. Rails with trails enables a biker to ride the train to a destination point and then explore that area on bike.
  32. Because removing any rails ends the federal easement and then the property ownership reverts back to the land owner thus allowing that land owner to deny access to anyone on to his property.
  33. Rail service will provide access for children, the elderly and handicapped to enjoy the beautiful views of the Ashokan Reservoir and the surrounding wilderness.
  34. Because the rails are owned by the residents of Ulster County and the overwhelming majority want ALL the rails to stay in place.
  35. Because the people of Ulster County want to see a revitalized railway system up and running.
  36. Because there is a widespread deeply felt community connection to the railway resulting in strong support for the rails to remain intact.
  37. Because it is already there, go try to build one of these railroads anywhere—it’s almost impossible and very expensive.
  38. Because no one ever had a model “trail” underneath their Christmas tree.

Bonus: Because the great Johnny Cash never sang a song about a trail!