Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

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Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby BR&P » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:56 pm

Rochester local news has a story tonight about the "deteriorating" tracks through Manchester. http://www.rochesterfirst.com/news/loca ... /769615128 So much misinformation, saying the line runs east through Clifton Springs and eventually connects to Finger Lakes Railway. ONCT had several rounds of tie replacement during their time, FGLK has continued maintaining and improving things, and the bridge replacement project about 10 years ago made the tracks very decent in that area. They make it sound like the line is inadequate now, and if only it was better all sorts of "light industry" would start shipping by rail. Image

But read carefully, and buried deep in the story seems to be the hidden agenda. All these bad track problems will be fixed with only $80,000, AND - there will be enough left over to refurbish the old roundhouse.

The roundhouse project alone would swallow $80k in the blink of an eye. If they manage to reach into the taxpayers pockets for that structure, they can add one zero and quite likely come close to a second one before it's all said and done.

I have looked that place over several times over the years and the structural, environmental and legal issues are staggering. As much as I love railroad history, the taxpayers of this state should not be on the hook for such folly.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:54 am

BR&P wrote:But read carefully, and buried deep in the story seems to be the hidden agenda. All these bad track problems will be fixed with only $80,000, AND - there will be enough left over to refurbish the old roundhouse. The roundhouse project alone would swallow $80k in the blink of an eye. If they manage to reach into the taxpayers pockets for that structure, they can add one zero and quite likely come close to a second one before it's all said and done. I have looked that place over several times over the years and the structural, environmental and legal issues are staggering. As much as I love railroad history, the taxpayers of this state should not be on the hook for such folly.


I agree, and I wonder how serious the proposal is. You don't just renovate a building like that without a purpose (or tenant) in mind. You could spend $80K just on soil remediation alone, I imagine.

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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby BR&P » Thu Jul 20, 2017 3:25 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:
I agree, and I wonder how serious the proposal is. You don't just renovate a building like that without a purpose (or tenant) in mind. You could spend $80K just on soil remediation alone, I imagine.

-otto-


Image

There are those who see that building as the hub of "Steamtown North". Unless somebody wins the Powerball, there's no way.

The news article was a slap in the face to FGLK, who serves Manchester at least TWICE a week last I knew and who has increased traffic and expanded operations in Manchester significantly. It's also a slap in the face to ONCT, who DID maintain the tracks and who preserved the options the area now has. The tracks have NOT been deteriorating since the 1970's. The track there is in the best shape it has been since before LV left town.

That $80,000 MIGHT buy one new turnout if they had a customer to need it. How that amount will magically transform the rail service and jump-start the local economy, I don't know. Either the town supervisor is trying to get things rolling so they have to follow up with additional grants, or else he is woefully out of touch with the reality of what railroad infrastructure costs these days.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby lvrr325 » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:43 pm

Unless something has changed drastically in the last few years, Finger Lakes was quoting about $38,000 for a new turnout. On the ONCT it may even be cheaper since that quote was for the section between Hartlot and Solvay that Conrail relaid with 155-lb rail. So you get two switches for your $80,000. Whoopee.

I have no objection to them dumping some funds into stabilizing the structure, better that than all the money they wasted at the State Fairgounds, but I do agree $80,000 doesn't really go very far towards either track upgrades or anything else over there.

As for the shape it's in, I don't get that either, it may only be rated for 25 but it looks good and it wouldn't surprise me if you could go faster than that on parts of it.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby BR&P » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:27 pm

lvrr325 wrote:As for the shape it's in, I don't get that either, it may only be rated for 25 but it looks good and it wouldn't surprise me if you could go faster than that on parts of it.


At some point before CR started, LV needed rail. Possibly to repair a wreck, I don't know. So they removed over a mile of the main line, from about where Manchester Tower was ballpark MP 359.6, westward to about MP 361. That is roughly a quarter mile east of where Rt 96 crosses today. LV utilized a yard track between those 2 points instead, as the new "main line". That segment was in much worse shape, the rail was older and not as good, ties and ballast not good.

When ONCT took over that stretch was always 10MPH except a few bad spots from time to time were 5mph. Eventually the sharp dogleg at the west end was eased, ties were replaced, worn-out rail was replaced with good 136LVM from the Rt 332 bridge project, and the speed was raised to 25 westward from the dirt road unofficially known as "Chunko's Crossing". At the time LA&L sold out the ONCT to FGLK, work was still being done as time permitted to extend the higher speed eastward. This Duncan Richards photo shows rail being replaced there in 2004.

ONCT Rail relocation Manchester NY 08-22-04.jpg


At the east end, enough work was done to (usually) keep things on the rail. That end of the segment got a major upgrade when the Rt 21 bridge was removed at Manchester. As part of the program, the track was given a major upgrade from (IIRC) South Ave all the way to west of Rt 21.

However, the grade crossing of Rt 21 is "exempt" meaning a school bus or hazmat truck does not have to stop. Due to various factors, after intense discussion it was ruled the train does NOT have to stop and proceed, the only such crossing in the state at the time that was done. Speed IS limited to 10MPH in that area for that reason. And at the west end FGLK decided to keep the low speed all the way to MP 361, negating much of the benefit of ONCT's improvements there.

So the Manchester part - which is what the news article is about - has had upgrades at both ends, tie work all the way through, and is way better than it was when LV left. But ir is still rated for 10 mph east of MP361.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby JoeS » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:56 pm

"Refurbishing the roundhouse" is a non-starter since the railroad doesn't own it.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby nydepot » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:31 pm

Maybe some confusion as the article says "old roundhouse used to turn trains around." Maybe they mean where the turntable was?
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby BR&P » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:34 pm

JoeS wrote:"Refurbishing the roundhouse" is a non-starter since the railroad doesn't own it.


Nobody said they did. But then again, the railroad does not own the tracks either, the county does. So just how the town is going to spend $80k on somebody else's building and somebody else's railroad is a question I have not seen answered - nor even asked. Image
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby nessman » Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:48 pm

$80k will probably get you a consultant's report and little more.

Roundhouse is abandoned property - it was determined in another thread somewhere (here or on FB - I don't recall) that the property belongs to a company that's no longer in existence and owner has likely passed away. County hasn't seized it because they don't want to be on the hook for a multimillion dollar environmental remediation as the ground is likely contaminated and a demolition as I'm sure by now it has structural issues, but from what I've read, the state and federal EPA types will be giving the property a once-over.

Not sure what rail-related purpose the roundhouse could serve. FGLK has their facilities in Geneva.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby BR&P » Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:06 pm

My understanding - which may or may not be accurate - is there is asbestos in the building itself. Roof? Wall tiles? I don't know. I have heard that there is a large underground fuel tank on the property which still had diesel in it X years back, and which was said to be leaking. Further, there was some contention that large concentrations of cinders had some heavy metals from the coal.

I'm not an environmental scientist. This might be total BS or might be right on. But in these days when you need moon suits and remediation plans just to remove old pipe insulation from a basement, the odds are there is going to be SOMETHING found there which will cost cubic dollars to remove. A decent study alone will eat up the $80k as Nessman says.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby lvrr325 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:38 pm

nessman wrote:$80k will probably get you a consultant's report and little more.

Roundhouse is abandoned property - it was determined in another thread somewhere (here or on FB - I don't recall) that the property belongs to a company that's no longer in existence and owner has likely passed away. County hasn't seized it because they don't want to be on the hook for a multimillion dollar environmental remediation as the ground is likely contaminated and a demolition as I'm sure by now it has structural issues, but from what I've read, the state and federal EPA types will be giving the property a once-over.

Not sure what rail-related purpose the roundhouse could serve. FGLK has their facilities in Geneva.


Owner must have an estate that would have to be settled somehow.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby BR&P » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:36 am

lvrr325 wrote:Owner must have an estate that would have to be settled somehow.


The last owner as far as I know was Springbrook Grain Co, who was in there back in the....1990's? I believe after they left, the building was used to store recycled paper or other material, but I don't know what entity did so nor whether they actually owned the place. I have heard the same thing that was posted earlier, the County has the right to seize the place for unpaid taxes, but does not want to do so because they would then assume liability for the environmental issues.

But if Springbrook WAS in fact the last owner, and if the company has been dissolved, there would be no estate involved.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby lvrr325 » Sun Jul 30, 2017 10:13 pm

.... anybody want a free roundhouse, then? Only comes with millions in cleanup costs and repairs.
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby Leo_Ames » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:50 pm

I drove by here after the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen yesterday. Was the water tower that's nearby used for filling steam locomotive tenders with water?
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Re: Manchester roundhouse - taxpayers watch your wallets!

Postby lvrr325 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:15 am

Only RR water tower anywhere near here is down in Orleans along the former PRR Elmira Branch.
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