TO THE EDITOR: An excellent story on Jan. 26 about our local preparedness in case of a train disaster, except I couldn’t disagree more with the Plattsburgh resident who believes “ the low probability of a train accident isn’t worth being afraid of.”
Your Jan. 3 article on oil shipments from North Dakota states, “The amount of oil moving by rail in the U.S. has spiked since 2009, from just more than 10,000 tanker cars to a projected 400,000 cars in 2013.”
Does anyone know the quantity of rail shipments of oil through the North Country? Is anyone monitoring the condition of our rail beds? Can they handle a 400 percent increase in usage?
The rail lines from Champlain to NYC follow along Lake Champlain and the Hudson River for over 300 miles. Many rail lines in New York trace rivers and lakes, including the Erie Canal, Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Niagara Falls. A tanker spill along any of these waterways would be devastating for the residents, wildlife and landscape.
We averted a near disaster with the Lake Champlain Bridge when it was inspected, condemned and swiftly replaced. I’d like to know if the same vigilance is in place for our train lines.
TO THE EDITOR: I read with interest and concern your front-page article of Jan. 27 regarding the hazards of freight trains passing through our area containing large amounts of hazardous materials.
I write not on that specifically, but on the deteriorated condition of the railroad overpasses on State Route 9. There are two overpasses that come to mind, located at Cliff Haven and AuSable Point.
I’m certainly not an engineer; appearance tells me they probably are not safe for the loads they are supporting. The concrete foundations are severely deteriorated, and where the metal girders connect to the foundations there is an abundance of rust, corrosion and excessive concrete deterioration.
Unfortunately, this appears to be an accident waiting to happen. Several years ago, I became aware of this situation. At that time, I took a series of pictures of both overpasses.
Thinking that New York DOT was responsible for keeping our highways safe and that they would take the initiative to insure proper repairs were made, I mailed DOT (Albany) the pictures of both overpasses, along with a letter explaining the situation.
This was naïve thinking on my part. Nothing apparent has been done, and there has now been further deterioration. I personally do not feel it is safe to drive a vehicle under these overpasses while a train is proceeding overhead.
Until appropriate repairs are made, I suggest that warning stop lights and/or gates be placed on the roadway to stop vehicles from driving under the overpasses while trains are passing overhead. The alternative to that would be to totally close the highway to traffic or stop all trains.
In the interim, it would be wise to have an independently licensed structural engineer evaluate the overpasses and certify their actual condition.