Tahawus and North Creek

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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby Lronan » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:01 pm

Thanks' for the memories, worked for NL back in those years, in the Traffic Dept. This consisted of moving all the freight in and out of are various mines and plants. It was always a joy being envolved in handing the cars loaded with ore out of the mine. A side note, National Lead was very involved in the railroad business, i.e. railroad brake shoes, and bearings, one of our Divisions that made them was Magnas Bearing Co.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby Watchman318 » Thu Dec 09, 2010 5:42 pm

Okay, I searched the site for "Tahawus," and found this thread. Since Lronan's post pushed the thread into 2010, I didn't feel too bad about digging it back up. ;)
In the course of looking up something about the Maine Eastern RR, I found this:
"Business may help put rail service back on track"
Scroll waaay down past all the links in order to see the actual article. It's from just about a week after the (previous) last post on the thread.

Thought you guys might find it interesting.

[You must include a brief quote of the article you are linking to! -omv]

Business may help put rail service back on track
By DON LEHMAN- The Post-Star | Posted: Friday, April 30, 2010 5:03 pm

Freight traffic could resume on the Upper Hudson River Railroad as soon as next year, as a northern Warren County business seeks to get its product to market more cheaply. Barton Mines would use trains to transport product from its North River mines to markets right now, if it could, said Chuck Barton, chief operating officer of the company. Barton said the company has made an application to the government to begin using rail transportation when freight traffic resumes on the Upper Hudson line. He said the status of that application was unclear. The company, which mines garnet and produces garnet-related products, recently expanded production at the North River site and plans to re-enter the European sales market, Barton said. It also is working on a material that would use a byproduct of its production process, and if it decides to sell that material commercially, rail transportation would be an efficient way to get it out of Johnsburg. "If it was to materialize, the railroad would be a nice option," he said. It's been at least four decades since freight trains used the rail line that begins in the hamlet of Tahawus, Essex County and makes its way south to Saratoga Springs. Representatives of a Maine-based railroad company were in Warren County last week to meet with Barton representatives and Warren County officials.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Dec 15, 2010 8:46 pm

I have never gotten a clear anwer as to where the ore went after it reached Saratoga.It does not seem to have continued as a unit train. Does anyone know?
"Welcome all ye who enter; the show that never ends. Tingfield Sperminal Railway." (Graffiti on the entry to Mohawk Yard Office)
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby Watchman318 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:50 pm

[You must include a brief quote of the article you are linking to! -omv]

Okay, my error. I thought I had quoted this excerpt from it, since this was the part I found most interesting:
Representatives of a Maine-based railroad company were in Warren County last week to meet with Barton representatives and Warren County officials.
Fred Monroe, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, said the railroad representatives also inspected the tracks on the Upper Hudson line.
The company, Maine Eastern Railroad, was one of three prospective operators for the railroad that met with county officials earlier this year.
The county is preparing to put out a request for proposals for a railroad operator for 2011, and the prospective operators that met with supervisors in February indicated they wanted to be able to have freight rights in addition to operating the North Creek-based tourist railroad.


If I had discovered the omission sooner, I'd have edited it to include the section above. :oops:
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby jakirk » Sat Dec 18, 2010 5:41 pm

Here's a recent news article about the line' s possible purchase
for freight trains by Iowa Pacific. url= http://poststar.com/news/local/article_ ... 002e0.html

And here's an article concerning their bid for the Warren County
owned portion of the line. url= http://poststar.com/news/local/article_ ... 03286.html
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby RussNelson » Sat Dec 18, 2010 7:55 pm

Interesting news! I presume that they know about the rockfall currently blocking the line.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby ChiefTroll » Sat Dec 18, 2010 8:18 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:I have never gotten a clear answer as to where the ore went after it reached Saratoga.It does not seem to have continued as a unit train. Does anyone know?


In my D&H time (1966-1972), SC-6 ran as a turn from North Creek to Mohawk and return. None of the blocks in SC-6 were handled as unit trains. Probably some others on the net can tell us just where the ilmenite and magnetite went from the D&H, but I do know that they were handled in regular D&H freight service from Mohawk to Binghamton, and Wilkes-Barre or Buttonwood. The cars did not move under unit train rates, which really didn't exist at the time. The only reason that they were solid blocks is that the Sanford Lake ore was just about the only freight traffic out of North Creek. SC-6 also handled any other occasional traffic that originated or terminated north of Corinth.

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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby Bob Sandusky » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:28 am

Engineer Spike wrote:I have never gotten a clear anwer as to where the ore went after it reached Saratoga.It does not seem to have continued as a unit train. Does anyone know?


If I remember correctly most of the material went to the old National Industry site in Albany (just off Rte 5/Central Ave) and the by-products from the processing was part of the reason that site was declared a toxic waste site in the 1980s.

Also (again if I remember correctly) there was never enough material brought out at on any individual run to qualify for a "unit train". The D&H brought it out in a small number of cars at a time in order to be able to attach it to a regularly scheduled freight and to save wear and tear on the branch line.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby march hare » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:51 pm

Hmmm, not sure about this one.

The NL industries site on Central Avenue is largely a lead problem, also had some radionuclides. Not sure what the link with Tahawus ore would be.

Plenty of yellow ilmenite hoppers headed down the second sub over the years, generally in blocks of several cars each. I even caught one solid train of nothing but short hoppers, but that was a one time event.

Titanium is used for strengthening steel and increasing corrosion resistance, and the oxide of titanium (also known as rutile) is an important white pigment in the paint industry.

I think the mine also produced magnetite, which is an important iron ore.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby Steve Wagner » Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:27 pm

I remember reading somewhere that the ilmenite was sent to two places: one in northern New Jersey and one somewhere near St. Louis.

Considering just how black and dirty the ilmenite loaded at Sanford Lake (Tahawus) was, it's more than a little ironic that much of it was processed into pigment for white paint. My wife and I visited one of her aunts in Newcomb, NY, the nearest settlement to Tahawus that's on a numbered highway, in the spring of 1971, when we were engaged but not yet married. Posted very conspicuously in the laundromat there were signs stipulating NO MINE CLOTHES!

March Hare is right about the magnetite. It was separated from the ilmenite at the NL Industries facility at Tahawus and then was also sintered there. That process involves a considerable amount of heat, and the sintered ore was loaded into hopper cars hot. It burned paint off many of the car; the D&H responded by putting the reporting marks, car numbers and some of the needed data on steel plates that were attached (welded?) to unpainted cars. The ilmenite, which was loaded into many more cars than the magnetite, wasn't hot; but it ws so dirty that it was hard to see the yellow paint on many of the cars.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby Adirondack_Ghost » Mon Jan 17, 2011 7:36 am

march hare wrote:Hmmm, not sure about this one.

Th and the oxide of titanium (also known as rutile) is an important white pigment in the paint industry.


this mine was after the ilmenite... National Lead owned the "Dutch Boy" paint brand. :)
whatever was mined was sent to a processing plant in New Jersey. In October of 1999, "Adirondack Life" Magazine had a great article about mining in the Adirondacks.
my original copy had been swiped so I had to email Adirondack Life in Jay NY and have another copy sent to me.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby kinlock » Mon Jan 17, 2011 1:47 pm

So now we buy all these metals from the Chinese? What a resource in the Adirondacks! Not just Tahawus; but Lyon Mountain and Benson Mines (NY Central).

...Ken
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby RussNelson » Mon Jan 17, 2011 4:36 pm

Yes, and the Chinese buy stuff from us.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby march hare » Wed Jan 19, 2011 2:32 pm

The Adirondacks were way out of the iron ore business long before the Chinese got in the picture. Adirondack ores are "hard rock" which require extensive grinding (often the second biggest budget item in running a mine, right behind the blasting and excavation).

Lake Superior ores were originally all soft, with lower processing costs. Later innovations allowed harder ores to be mined and made into taconite pellets (still cheaper than the Adirondack ores, and bigger deposits to boot, also with cheap water access via the Great Lakes).

China, BTW is a net importer of iron ore. By far, the biggest importer in the world, and a major customer for US and Canadian suppliers.
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Re: Tahawus and North Creek

Postby staustell92 » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:28 am

Just to clarify a few points:

The D&H may have built the rail line between North Creek and Tahwaus, but they built it for the U.S. Government. The Government owned it until some years after it was taken out of service, at which time the General Services Administration (the U.S. agency responsible for government property) held an auction in Boston. NL Industries (or its successor) bid on the rail line, bidding against a scrap dealer. I don't recall the sale price, but $1.8 million sounds familiar. It may have been lower. NL wanted to preserve the rail line in the event that it once again became economical to operate the mine. The auction didn't take long (perhaps fifteen minutes?), but the mine manager told me it was the longest fifteen minutes of his life.

By this time, mining and processing operations at Tahawus had been suspended for several years. However, there was still a large quantity of processed material on the ground and every once in a while a tractor trailer load of it would be shipped out, I believe to some facility in Pennsylvania.

There is still a huge quantity of unprocessed ore on the ground at Tahawus, perhaps several million tons. The reason the operation was shut down, I was told by the facility manager, was that there were other, more economical sources of titanium dioxide available, thus making Tahawus uneconomical.

I'm thinking that they stopped shipping by rail from Tahawus in 1988, though I'm not entirely sure. They had stopped mining some time before that, perhaps as early as 1985, shipping out what was processed and stored on the ground.

The NL business represented a significant portion of D&H income. I was told by the president of the railroad company-during-bankruptcy that at the time rail shipments ceased, NL's business had comprised nine percent of D&H revenue. The same year that the D&H lost the NL business, Ford Motor Company switched to tri-level auto carriers, which couldn't fit through the Hoosac Tunnel on the B&M. The Ford traffic, of course, came to the B&M from the D&H. That meant that the Ford traffic, which comprised 11 percent of D&H revenue, was shifted over to Conrail. So, in one year, the D&H lost 20 percent of its business!

It's interesting that, while this 20 percent loss in business probably contributed to the D&H bankruptcy, it is not specifically mentioned in the bankruptcy trustee's report.
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