THE CONTROVERSIAL TAHAWUS RAIL LINE
In a August 18 report by Don Lehman, Post Star reporter, “The State Department of Environmental Conservation this week notified the owners of the stretch of rail line that runs from North Creek to Tahawus that it plans to ask the federal government to declare the rail line “abandoned.” … “The DEC’s case rests in part on Iowa Pacific’s “absence of current use” of the 29-mile line, as well as a “lack of any reasonably foreseeable future need for rail service on the line,” according to the state filing.”
The filing is the latest move in a legal battle that began late last year when Iowa Pacific, which operated Saratoga & North Creek Railway between Saratoga Springs and North Creek, began storing out-of-service rail tanker cars on the Tahawus line. That infuriated environmental groups and state officials who argued it was an environmental problem in the state Forest Preserve.
The rail line has been a subject of controversy for some time now. Municipal leaders worry that abandoning the rail line will limit options for use; any chance of getting revenue from the railroad would be lost.
Other municipal leaders and several environmental groups feel that a better use of the rail line would be to abandon the track, and convert the rail line to a recreational rail trail (a multi-use trail for hiking and biking).
WCSQBO is working with a committee of private citizens and municipal leaders to discuss options, and to initiate a plan resulting in the most beneficial use of the present railway, considering the region’s residents, guests and financial wellbeing.
It appears the line could become a trail by default if declared abandoned. Read the Post Star article