Train Freeze:  Railcar Controversy Update

The Iowa Pacific Railroad is running a tank bank in the Adirondack Park:  It stores, for a fee, out-of-service oil tanker railcars on idle Iowa Pacific tracks in the eastern High Peaks.

Iowa Pacific says it needs to use its Adirondack tracks for storage because it can’t make money using them to move freight or passengers. The railroad’s lawyer says Iowa Pacific has room to stow more than 3,000 cars on a 30-mile line between North Creek and the Tahawus Mine near Newcomb.

Iowa Pacific started the tank bank with some 65 idle tanker cars owned by Union Tank Car, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate run by famed billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett.

While the State threatened Iowa Pacific with lawsuits, the Adirondack Council took a different track. The Council organized a letter writing campaign to the Oracle of Omaha, asking him to remove his cars. The Council says that the campaign, which ESSLA endorsed, generated a thousand letters from concerned citizens. (If you were one, thank you!)

Make that a thousand and one:  Governor Cuomo also wrote to Mr. Buffett to ask for his help.

It seems Mr. Buffett has his ears to the tracks:  at year end 2017, Union Tank Car announced that it is withdrawing its cars from the Adirondack tank bank and closing its account.

Alas, the controversy chugs on. Iowa Pacific informed DEC that it has 60 potential customers beyond Union Tank Car and “plans to bring in hundreds more cars over the next few months”—unless the State agrees to buy out Iowa Pacific for the amount it has invested in the North Creek-to-Tahawus line.

The next stop for the Adirondack Express could be the courthouse.

Comments are closed.