• In this August 8, 2015 photo, seldom-used railroad tracks owned by Iowa Pacific Holdings vanish into the Adirondack forest in Newcomb, NY. The railroad wants to supplement its revenues by storing hundreds of empty oil tank cars on the tracks. Miles-long lines of black tank cars are showing up on long-unused rail spurs around the country as short-line railroads store them for the leasing companies or other entities that own them.  (AP Photo/Mary Esch)

    In this August 8, 2015 photo, seldom-used railroad tracks owned by Iowa Pacific Holdings vanish into the Adirondack forest in Newcomb, NY. The railroad wants to supplement its revenues by storing hundreds of empty oil tank cars on the tracks. Miles-... long lines of black tank cars are showing up on long-unused rail spurs around the country as short-line railroads store them for the leasing companies or other entities that own them. (AP Photo/Mary Esch) (The Associated Press)

  • This Aug. 8, 2015 photo shows the Hudson River near an abandoned iron mine in the Adirondacks in Tahawus, NY. A short-line railroad plans to supplement its revenues by storing hundreds of empty oil tank cars on unused tracks that end at the mine. Environmentalists are against the plan, saying it would hurt tourism in a place that’s popular with hikers and paddlers. The tracks are close to the river in some places but the rail operator says the tank cars will be in a forested area out of public view. (AP Photo/Mary Esch)

    This Aug. 8, 2015 photo shows the Hudson River near an abandoned iron mine in the Adirondacks in Tahawus, NY. A short-line railroad plans to supplement its revenues by storing hundreds of empty oil tank cars on unused tracks that end at the mine. ... Environmentalists are against the plan, saying it would hurt tourism in a place that’s popular with hikers and paddlers. The tracks are close to the river in some places but the rail operator says the tank cars will be in a forested area out of public view. (AP Photo/Mary Esch) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This Feb. 7, 2014, file photo, shows a view from a nearby apartment building of railroad oil tanker cars at the Port of Albany in Albany, N.Y. A recent downturn in oil-by-rail shipments has idled thousands of tank cars, providing a revenue opportunity for a struggling scenic railroad in the Adirondacks and other short line railroads that charge fees to store the cars on unused tracks. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File)

    FILE - This Feb. 7, 2014, file photo, shows a view from a nearby apartment building of railroad oil tanker cars at the Port of Albany in Albany, N.Y. A recent downturn in oil-by-rail shipments has idled thousands of tank cars, providing a revenue ... opportunity for a struggling scenic railroad in the Adirondacks and other short line railroads that charge fees to store the cars on unused tracks. (AP Photo/Mike Groll, File) (The Associated Press)

Adirondack tourist train, other short-line railroads see profit in storing idled oil tankers

Energy Associated Press

New tank car safety standards coupled with a slump in oil-by-rail shipments are causing headaches for many in the railroad business, but for struggling scenic railroads and other short-line operators, they may bring salvation.

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Ed Ellis is president of Saratoga and North Creek Railway. He says he plans to store up to 500 empty tank cars for a year or more on seldom-used tracks near the High Peaks Wilderness region of the Adirondacks. He estimates storage fees could add up to "seven figures," ensuring the future of the cash-strapped tourist train.

The American Association of Railroads says oil-by-rail shipments were down. Miles-long lines of idle tank cars are showing up on long-unused rail spurs around the country as short line railroads like Ellis' store them.