Aerial Photo Shows Tanker Cars Near Boreas River

Unused tanker cars parked along tracks near the Boreas River.

Last week, Iowa Pacific Holdings told Warren County officials it would back off its plan to store empty tanker cars on tracks in the Adirondacks if the county compensated it for lost revenue. The company estimates the revenue would be seven figures.

No money was forthcoming, and this week Iowa Pacific moved more than two dozen tanker cars through the Adirondacks to park them on a siding near the Boreas River in the town of Minerva. Click here to watch a video of the cars moving through North River.

The aerial photo above shows just how close to the Boreas the cars are.

As it happens, Iowa Pacific is embroiled in a similar controversy in Chicago, where the railroad is based. The company is storing railcars in a neighborhood that the city wants to redevelop.

As it did here, Iowa Pacific offered to move the cars for a fee—in this case, $275,000, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“In my opinion, these guys are railroad trolls,” Matt Garrison, a developer, told the Tribune. “They want to get paid to move out of the way.”

Iowa Pacific’s lawyer, David Michaud, defended the offer as fair.

Click here to read the full article.

One concern of Adirondack environmentalists is that the tankers could leak and contaminate the environment, including the Boreas River. The Boreas is designated a Scenic River in the state’s Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System.

Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, said in a news release today that there are “28 used oil tankers cars” on the tracks north of North Woods Club Road.  The tracks cut through the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Area. “Each tanker car is roughly 58 feet in length and the 28 cars lined nearly one-third of a mile of rail track,” Bauer said.

The news release said Minerva Supervisor Stephen McNally opposes the storage plan. “There are many groups and individuals who work tirelessly to keep the Adirondack Park as the jewel that it is, but I cannot see how storing these cars goes along with this vision,” McNally is quoted as saying.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency say they are looking into what can be done about the railcars. The company, however, contends that that the state does not have jurisdiction over the railroad.

Look for a full article on the controversy in the forthcoming November/December issue of the Adirondack Explorer.

The rail line crosses the Forest Preserve. Photo/Protect the Adirondacks.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Dee says

    Im wondering if these are the same cars they moved from the Boonville and Lyons Falls area. They were sitting on the tracks up there for 2 years or more. They were moved this September.

  2. Tim says

    I am environmentalist, Adirondack lover and realist. These cars are not on the forest preserve. They are on private property. Let’s be careful how we spin this. Not sure empty cars are going to leak either.

  3. Bob says

    These tracks were built through the forest preserve as a transportation route for materials. No where does it state that these tracks can now be established as a storage or junkyard facility.

    • Fred says

      @Bob … and nowhere does it say they can’t be. Tim is correct .. it isn’t forest preserve … it is private land.

  4. John J. Blair says

    Those cars are steam cleaned so that there is no trace of what was carried inside the tank and the only chemicals on them are the lubricants (greases) in the brake system and axle bearings. A gallon or two at the most which is sealed inside the machinery.

  5. Jim says

    Simple solution, buy the tank cars, are there 100 of them? At $50K each that’s only $5,000,000
    At 70,000 lbs each the scrap value would be about $500,000 minus scraping costs and transportation.

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