Wow; wouldn't it be great if they could turn the Utica branch into a primitive rail-trail? All that's needed is to leave the bridge steel and timbers in place when they pull up the tracks. Deck over the timbers with pressure-treated wood laid on the diagonal, and hand-rails. If they sign a conservation agreement for exclusive recreational use, they won't have to pay any taxes and .... will still own a contiguous railbed which could be relaid whenever reasonable.
No, it would not be great. Once the rails are removed the possibility of reinstallation of rail is nil. ZIP. ZERO. Just to site one problem with that theory: The rail could not just be relaid. The entire line would have to be reengineered to modern standards and practices. Basically starting fresh, including fighting the NIMBYS. Pulling the rail means fixing all the grandfathered problems associated with the line. Government doesn't have the backbone required to pull off reactivation. Plain and simple.
If the line has any hope of being saved as a railroad, It must remain intact and be repaired soon. The people in communities along the line must step in and stop the dismemberment if the ROW. Unfortunately, timing could not have been worse. A lot of folks are peed off because of the powerline proposal and would not lift a finger to help NYSW. They don't differenciate between the line itself and the company that runs trains over it. That is what will doom this line. The county agencys need to get the their right of ways back. If that doesn't include NYSW, OK.
There's just one thing I'll guarantee, the best things in life they sure AIN'T free.......
Weird Al Yankovic.