Recently the Kingston Daily Freeman published a brief article about U.S. Senator Charles Schumer visiting Kingston and posing on the tracks managed by the Catskill Mountain Railroad. It appears someone has misled or hoodwinked both Senator Schumer and the reporter when the Freeman’s article proclaimed the railroad track on which the Senator was standing to be “abandoned.” Far from being abandoned, this stretch of heritage railroad is part of the expanding tourist train run in Kingston. It was rebuilt with no county funds and is actively used by the Catskill Mountain Railroad (CMRR).
I rode this railroad during its recent Christmas run over the very tracks where Senator Schumer was standing, past the Holiday Inn out to bridge C-9, which was rebuilt with volunteer labor over a two-year period. The CMRR continues to push forward with its plans to expand its run, even in the face of organized opposition and the County Executive’s plans to derail their efforts. Next up is a rebuild of tracks to Route 209 and then up to “Hurley Mountain.”
The Senator and the Freeman reporter might want to talk directly with the Catskill Mountain Railroad and to read the February 2013 CMRR study which details how a “Rail with Trail” concept would work for the benefit of Ulster County. This study builds on the 2006 ALTA Engineering report prepared with funding and in-kind support provided by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Ulster County, and the State of New York.
On page 5 the ALTA report states, “The future vision of the Ulster & Delaware Rail + Trail is a significant opportunity for local communities, Ulster County, and the region. The combination of two historic tourist railroads, the trolley and railroad museums, restored historic sites, and a trail for multiple uses will compliment (sic) the tourism and recreation economy of the Catskill Mountain Region. The project can become a model of sustainable transportation and cooperation between a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit partners.”
It’s curious to this reader that the county is now ignoring this study paid for in part with its own funds. Meanwhile, the recommendations of the report have been followed faithfully by the CMRR over the past six years.
To see a short video of the CMRR train passing over the rebuilt C-9 bridge west of Kingston, go to this YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXMjhX4kdjw
I suggest that the next time Senator Schumer visits this stretch of the active U&D rail corridor for a photo-op, he and the Kingston Freeman reporter should carefully look over their shoulders, because they might see a train coming. And they should do some careful research before proclaiming this active rail bed as abandoned.
My new bumper sticker:
Peace Is Calling
I’ve reserved the Mescal Hornbeck Community Center at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13, for another community opportunity to make Peace here in Woodstock for folks on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian issue. The previous meeting was sparsely attended on a bitter cold night. I believe that everyone wants peace in that land, and this will be an opportunity for us to find the ways to accomplish that between ourselves. A recent example of that is the orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim, consisting of brilliant Palestinian, Israeli and Arab musicians. Even though some few, on both sides criticize them, nevertheless, they exist and work together for the sake of all the world. Myra Goodstein’s letter last week is a ‘cri de coeur’, a heartfelt plea for understanding and peace. Feelings that bar the way between us are suspicion, anger, fear, ignorance, and the feeling of justification. These all make it ‘safer’ to maintain a position than taking the trouble to see opponents as people, human beings. It will be a gift to ourselves when we see the truth of that. Peace is calling, let’s answer.