GLENVILLE Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s quest to uproot government waste led him to a desolate, weed-stricken field along the edge of an industrial park in Glenville, where four idle trains are rusting away.
The trains were part of a high-speed rail program the state launched in 1998 to provide faster service between Albany and New York City. In 2004, the project failed after the state invested $70 million.
Touring the 'trains to nowhere'
Take a look inside one of the 'trains to nowhere' and the warehouse in Rotterdam where a multitude of equipment and parts have been stored.
“I have repeatedly said that state government must be more efficient and must stop wasting taxpayer money,” Cuomo said in a prepared statement. “In this case, millions of dollars of taxpayer money were used to buy obsolete equipment, and hundreds of thousands more spent to store it.”
Since the project was dropped, 20 train cars have sat on the outskirts of the Glenville Business and Technology Park, which has cost the state $58,000 annually to store the “bullet trains.” Also, the state has paid $95,000 annually to store replacement parts for the trains in a warehouse at the far end of the Rotterdam Corporate Park.
Director of State Operations Howard Glaser announced on Thursday, May 31, the governor has directed the Office of General Services to oversee the sale and disposal of the trains and unused parts. Storage costs for the trains were discovered during an ongoing review of spending by state agencies.
“It’s time to put a stop to these shocking examples of waste and incompetence that have characterized the New York State government for a decade,” Glaser said during a press conference at the Glenville site. “We have zero tolerance for this kind of waste.”
Originally built in 1976, the four trains each consist of two locomotives, a café car and two passenger cars. The state had acquired seven train cars and two were upgraded and put into operation shortly during 2003. The $70 million the state spent was only part of the $185 million estimated project total.