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North County Trail rebuilding - closures?

Old 03-31-19, 12:01 PM
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North County Trail rebuilding - closures?

It sounds like some of the notorious paving and related issues of Westchester's North County Trail (which forms the middle portion of a 48 mile route from NYC to Brewster in Putnam county) are being rebuilt and repaved this summer in an 8 million dollar project:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/yorkto...tions-underway says that that work has already begun and includes repaving, fence replacement, etc.

While that is certainly a welcome improvement, a lot of it sounds like projects that would make sections of the trail impassable while in progress, and in many places there isn't a good bypass. Anyone have any recent on-the-ground experiences of closures? This seems like the kind of thing that may require keeping tabs on for quite a while when planning rides; haven't immediately been able to find any announcements from the county about what they are doing and where.

(And also apparently paving of NYC's putnam trail at the southern end of the route has been awarded to a contractor and likely to result in extended closure at an undetermined time)

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Old 03-31-19, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
It sounds like some of the notorious paving and related issues of Westchester's North County Trail (which forms the middle portion of a 48 mile route from NYC to Brewster in Putnam county) are being rebuilt and repaved this summer in an 8 million dollar project:

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/yorkto...tions-underway says that that work has already begun and includes repaving, fence replacement, etc.

While that is certainly a welcome improvement, a lot of it sounds like projects that would make sections of the trail impassable while in progress, and in many places there isn't a good bypass. Anyone have any recent on-the-ground experiences of closures? This seems like the kind of thing that may require keeping tabs on for quite a while when planning rides; haven't immediately been able to find any announcements from the county about what they are doing and where.

(And also apparently paving of NYC's putnam trail at the southern end of the route has been awarded to a contractor and likely to result in extended closure at an undetermined time)
On one hand itís good they are keeping up with maintenance, on the other, doing it when itíll see the most useage is unfortunate, but I suspect that as itís likely a new asphalt surfaces, they cannot do it in winter.
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Old 04-05-19, 05:57 AM
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yes, i've been up there recently. the section immediately preceding the bridge over croton reservoir is closed.
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Old 04-05-19, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by basketbro View Post
yes, i've been up there recently. the section immediately preceding the bridge over croton reservoir is closed.
Thanks, good to know. Do you mean the section to the south, or the section immediately north (er, well, just north of the parking lot and road crossing just north of the bridge) where the storm-induced washout caused them to narrow the trail with a fence? (Or could be closed both side of the bridge - putting a higher railing on to deter diving/jumping was one of the listed projects, hope it doesn't completely spoil the view)

I get the sense there aren't a lot of simple detours in that area, fortunately a roundtrip to the bridge area and back to NYC is about the same distance as going on to Brewster if less enjoyable - the bridge, Yorktown Heights and the Putnam portion were always the motivations I'd look forward to.

Though actually if it's closed south of the bridge I'll probably just turn around at Briarcliff and not deal with the road portion...

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Old 04-05-19, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
Thanks, good to know. Do you mean the section to the south, or the section immediately north where the storm-induced washout caused them to narrow the trail with a fence? (Or could be closed both side of the bridge - putting a higher railing on to deter diving/jumping was one of the listed projects, hope it doesn't completely spoil the view)

I get the sense there aren't a lot of simple detours in that area, fortunately a roundtrip to the bridge area and back to NYC is about the same distance as going on to Brewster if less enjoyable - the bridge, Yorktown Heights and the Putnam portion were always the motivations I'd look forward to.

Though actually if it's closed south of the bridge I'll probably just turn around at Briarcliff and not deal with the road portion...
I'm not sure what section is currently closed but at the time of the original closing of that narrow section there was a short detour to a nearby road and then back to the trial on a small road that crossed it just north of that section
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Old 04-06-19, 02:26 PM
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Well, I'm confused. We have a report that a section near the reservoir bridge is closed, but Strava is showing a number of rides today for both:

Millwood to Yorktown https://www.strava.com/segments/1032273 several miles from the south ending at the road crossing just north of the bridge

and

Bridge to Coffeeshop https://www.strava.com/segments/12533801 which appears to be there up to Yorktown Heights or so.

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Old 04-07-19, 07:12 PM
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i'm talking about immediately south. and yes, i'm sure there are people who just walked around the fence and continued. the path isn't torn up yet.
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Old 04-08-19, 06:47 PM
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I guess I won't be doing my annual ride from Brewster to Brooklyn, except I don't usually make it past ****man St in Manhattan because it gets dark. I have a beer or two and some food at one of the outdoor bars along there and take the A train home.
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Old 04-22-19, 10:49 PM
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Looks like NYSDOT might also be protecting the Route 100 stretch this year https://www.dot.ny.gov/programs/stip/files/R8.pdf

802249 EMPIRE STATE TRAILWAY - ROUTE 100 NORTH COUNTY TRAILWAY SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS WILL PROVIDE A SEGREGATED PATH WITHIN THE RIGHT OF WAY OF ROUTE 100 FOR BICYCLES AND PEDESTRIANS ON A 13\\\' MULTI-USE, TWO-DIRECTIONAL PATH SEPERATED FROM THE HIGHWAY BY CONCRETE BARRIER. THE PATH WILL RUN BETWEEN CAMPFIRE ROAD IN THE TOWN OF NEW CASTLE TO ROUTE 9A OVERPASS IN THE TOWN OF MOUNT PLEASANT IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY.
Hopefully that won't mean an additional set of closures
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Old 04-23-19, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by basketbro View Post
i'm talking about immediately south. and yes, i'm sure there are people who just walked around the fence and continued. the path isn't torn up yet.
Correct me if I am wrong, but this picture is actually taken at Chappaqua Road south of Millwood and before the 2nd part of the on-road gap, right?

That would match what is currently on the Westchester Parks Site:

The parking lot on Route 9A/100 just south of Millwood will be closed for construction starting Tuesday March 19 until further notice.

The trail section between Chappaqua Road and the parking lot on Routes 9A/100 is closed for construction.
I know I've accidentally done the whole Millwood to Briarcliff section southbound on RT100 at dusk when I missed the turnoff to get to this closed piece, and I recall being passed by roadies on the traffic side of the guardrail while doing the long shallow climb between Chappaqua and Millwood on the path side.

So I'm thinking maybe this is legitimately by-passable... and I'm now seeing exactly that on Strava with someone's track taking Chappaque the tiny bit east to RT 100 and then following that north to Millwood.

Now if only it turns out to be a dry enough week for Van Cortlandt Park :-)
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Old 05-08-19, 03:02 PM
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No problem bypassing the closure at Chappaqua Road, it's the brief off road part between the two sections officially on the shoulder of rt 100 and the shoulder in that part is just as wide.

A little worried though as there are some sections just south of there where they graded out some frost heaves and put down brief stretches of asphalt that was neither hot enough nor rolled enough, I really hope that is not what the trail is going to become.

PUTNAM COUNTY IS DOING WORK TOO.

Right before the end of the Putnam County Trail end my headlamp revealed a "Trailway Closed Ahead" sign and then around railroad milepost 52 there was a half mile of new pavement. Good new pavement, not the halfhearted driveway repair of the NCT section. Fortunately it looks like they're set up to close it only when doing actual work, I think I glimpsed lights on the sign which were not on and flashing. Which is good, because given the hour and need to get through to my train home, I'd have had little choice but to walk through even if it was closed off.

Also, recent news writeup though not really saying much new: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/loc...ts/1139805001/

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Old 05-13-19, 12:53 AM
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Not the paving schedule I was a looking for, but a little history writeup I hadn't encountered before

A Guide to the “Old Put” for Bikers and Hikers

It's funny how you can be standing in the middle of railroad infrastructure and not realize it - I only just found out that the odd circular garden below the Yorktown Heights skate park, was a turntable from the steam era.

Couple of other tidbits: there's money allocated to turn at least some of the Mahopac Mines branch going northwest from Baldwin Place (vs northeast on the existing trail) into a short "Mahopac Falls" trail.

There has also been talk of connecting to Goldens Bridge, I wonder if this is on the former rail connector that according to the above link used to run from the Harlem Line to about where the trail crosses Bucks Hollow road. But I don't get the sense that project has been funded. More connections from the trailway to active Metro North rail would be a great thing.

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Old 05-17-19, 11:06 AM
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Sometimes you get a too-silly idea in your head and then have to go do it just to make that reality:


That said, in the realm of things more actually relevant, after once again bypassing the Millwood piece between 100 and the parking lot via the grocery store lot, this time I took a look back down the trail and it seems like they've hopefully fixed that marshy spot which started developing large persistent puddles. Or at least I hoped they fixed it - it had rained enough even overnight that there were puddles in other places on the trail there usually are not, and I think I saw water on the margins, but the new paving there looks dry.

North end of it is not barricaded but south is fenced off, so a number of southbound bike commuters sitting in road traffic at the lights, I hope they take the fence down soon as bypassing that stretch is frustrating.



Also encountered some milled surface as if prepped for paving, trying to remember where, trying to remember if it was on the NCT between Millwood and the bridge, or now that I think about it my memory is more of by the lumber yard between Mahopac and the Carmel crossing... one thing tends to blend into another...

Been trying to figure out a better way to do a century on this than last summer's up and back that put the bumpy parts of the SCT after dark. Yesterday starting thinking of riding up, retracing to Millwood and then going north again since the Putnam County portion isn't bad after dark, but that doubles the extended climbs from the bridge to Yorktown and Yorktown to Baldwin. So I guess another option would be to ride up to the Kitchawan bridge, return to the city line, then ride north for real.

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Old 05-19-19, 07:44 PM
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The last freight movement on the Put was the pick-up of an empty boxcar from Creed Bros. Lumber in Yorktown Heights in 1970. An unauthorized move occurred in 1975 when two teenagers stole a switcher from the Brewster yards and ran it up the Put until it rammed a fallen tree at Carmel. The case was not closed until years later.


Now that's what I call taking a ride on the Put!
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Old 05-26-19, 08:50 AM
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Update:

**All trails will be accessible for Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27.**The Trailway from the Eastview parking lot north to the parking lot on Route 117 in Mount Pleasant will be closed to all for repair and final paving between Monday, June 3 and Friday, June 7.The Eastview parking lot off the Saw Mill River Parkway in the Town of Mount Pleasant has been reopened following resurfacing.The parking lot at Route 117 in Mount Pleasant is undergoing resurfacing during the week of May 20 – 26.The section of Trailway between Eastview and Route 133 in Millwood is currently being resurfaced.Please observe closure and/or detour signage along the trail.

Took advantage of the temporary re-openings on a Memorial Day Metric (not that I wouldn't have ridden it via 100 anyway).

The stretch in Millwood parallel to the grocery store has been drastically improved by building it into a miniature causeway above the surrounding floodplain. Remains to be seen what the final paving job there and at Chappaqua Rd ends up like - currently it's like someone's budget driveway repair.

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Old 08-12-19, 09:07 AM
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Paving project is currently in the mile south of Briarcliff Manor and technically the short distance beyond up to the route 100 entrance. Diverted around that northbound on the road (at 7am I was not passed by a single car, southbound would be less pleasant as there are a lot of drains disrupting the shoulder of the road).

Apart from the very last bit to where you cross the highway it looks mostly done and to be very nice - there'd be a lot of damage in that section including one huge tree root that you could miss northbound as it was in the shadow of that tree.

Overall I'm liking the recent work - the whole section from Eastview up to 117 is quite nice now. That's in contrast to the initial work in places like the off road segment within the route 100 stretch, which got a very on-again off again patching. When they repave real roads they mill the surface, repave the whole thing, and leave behind consistency, in that stretch they fixed some issues but left behind inconsistency, and in addition to all the changes between new and original you can see in places it was too cold or something when they rolled it.

Hoping they've done a full, consistent repaving of the Granite Springs Rd to Baldwin Place section by next summer.

Incidentally, the Old Putnam Trail paving theoretically kicks off this Wednesday.
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Old 11-14-19, 03:23 PM
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Is there a site where I can order copies of the North & South County Trails without having to download and print?
I did these trails years ago starting from Springfield MA to Yonkers and had copies that "disappeared".
I used rail trails to Conn. then back roads to Baldwin Place. (originally from the Bronx)
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Old 11-16-19, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by bktourer1 View Post
Is there a site where I can order copies of the North & South County Trails without having to download and print?
I did these trails years ago starting from Springfield MA to Yonkers and had copies that "disappeared".
I used rail trails to Conn. then back roads to Baldwin Place. (originally from the Bronx)
Honestly there's not much need of a map for the NCT/SCT. The new Elmsford connector means there's only a half block discontinuity at the street crossing, which should be quickly figured out, and the section on the road shoulder between Briarcliff Manor and Millwood is logical northbound and no big deal southbound if stay on the shoulder the whole way and you miss crossing back over for the brief stretch that momentarily goes back into the woods on the east of the highway. Apart from that, knowing where you can get food/water - eg, Elmsford, Millwood, Yorktown Heights, just west of Baldwin Place, etc. It shows up on google maps cycling routes and directions, too.

The MA/CT part sounds interesting. The Farmington Canal Trail is quite nice between New Haven and Westfield (just southwest of Springfield), but there's still a 10-mile road gap in the middle (which I got teleported across by family). Those trails do have a printed map available at many of their information signs, though again apart from the road gap in the middle you hardly need it - the water stop information didn't seem particular reliable (though the new Cheshire facility is great!) and for other services google or whatever maps are probably better. Rail routes have a real habit of avoiding the consumer-ish parts of towns and this is no exception - for example most services in Avon and Simsbury are missed with the exception of the turn at the edge of the parking lot of the Drake Hill shopping center, and you pass a large shopping plaza in Hamden but that's too close to New Haven to typically need to be a stop. (There are some trailside breweries however)

Did centuries on both of those this past summer, but probably won't personally be trying to connect them - you'd still have to get between the former Put route a minimum of six miles into NY, and what is essentially the middle of CT, so I did them on separate trips via Metro North and the new cycle-friendly Hartford Line.

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Old 12-15-19, 08:13 PM
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It's been months since I've been up the former Putnam route, as the section through Van Cortlandt Park was fenced off in late August for the long awaited paving. But facing a winter's briefer bundled up rides more locally, I got to thinking about aspects of the trail that never quite made sense, and doing some research, first on railroad history forums, and finally with old USGS topo maps.

The huge hill by lake Gleneida right before the Putnam County End.

This never felt like a rail route at all - no way a train was climbing that southbound, or me either. But where did the trains go? During rides, that level route from the bottom of the hill out to Brewster Ave made me think that the private military facility was blocking the original route. But no, comparing a 1930's USGS map to a current one reveals the truth:



See that channel with the name of the Gleneida Court housing development? That's a cut where the tracks went, drastically reducing the scale of the hill. Too bad their drive doesn't connect through to Brewster Ave making a more level road option.

What bout the route 100 section?

It turns out that while the trail now follows the highway up the west side of Echo Lake, the railroad went up the East - 1930's map:



I'm not quite sure the total of what happened here, but I've found claims that a "Sewage Plant in the swap" blocked the original right of way in Millwood.

What about the short sharp dogleg climb just north of Woodland's Lake?

For a while last night I'd almost convinced myself that the rails went up the west side of the lake past the building (was it ever a station?) and what is now the Great Hunger Memorial. On a map it almost makes sense.

But no. Actually the rails crossed the same bridge below the falls that the trail does, only they then ran in a straight shot just east of where the trail does now. The trail actually detours onto what had been a walking trail beside the river, and that sharp little turning climb is its return to the original route of the rails, which I guess are hidden in the trees behind the benches. It always seemed like there was a hillside there in the vegetation - but perhaps that's actually an artificial rise to support the rails.


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Old 12-19-19, 06:27 PM
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I guess riding unicycle opens a whole different perspective on what is a hill. :-)
I've never ever thought about these areas near Echo Lake and Woodlands Lake as hills and I'm so glad that we have this tiny bit of hills around Carmel - Brewster area, so that there is at least some small area to practice paved climbs outside of actual roads with traffic.
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Old 12-19-19, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by UniChris View Post
It's been months since I've been up the former Putnam route, as the section through Van Cortlandt Park was fenced off in late August for the long awaited paving. But facing a winter's briefer bundled up rides more locally, I got to thinking about aspects of the trail that never quite made sense, and doing some research, first on railroad history forums, and finally with old USGS topo maps.

on - but perhaps that's actually an artificial rise to support the rails.
EDIT: For clarification;

Your 1930's topo will not show the Taconic Parkway, which was built up the east side of Echo Lake in the 1960's. My memory of the early Taconic was a road much like the sections north of Rt6., I.E 2 lanes each direction. It was subsequently expanded in the late 70's, 80's ?, can't remember, to a 3 lane ea. direction, divided. The current Google map shows that the Taconic is right on top of where the Putnam RR right-of-way existed. Note that the Old Put had stopped passenger service in the late 50's, was freight only till '75 but only as far as north Elmsford and had been abandoned north of that. Thus it's easy to see where the planners for the Taconic put it right on top of the railbed. Thus the planners for the NCT decades later had no rail-trail right-of-way to put the trail and had to resort to on road route on Rt 100 to Millwood.

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Old 01-11-20, 12:23 PM
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NCT is closed for 1/4 mile at the historic washout (formerly narrow fenced spot) north of the parking lot north of Kitchawan. Go up the road, take a right uphill opposite Nadine's and meet the trail where that side street crosses it.

Beautiful day for a ride! Firestation in Yorktown Heights said 68F (though their clock is wrong). Enjoying lunch before tackling the climb to Baldwin Place.

Alas Westchesters's paving project doesn't seem to have made it past Yorktown Heights so the last miles were their usual bumpy wet selves. The also skipped some spots further south that are developing cracks that are are going to need attention soon.

Was fun to ride through with leaves off the trees though - could actually see Lake Mahopac from the hill and see streams hidden far deeper in the woods than usual.

Feels like cheating to have started in Tarrytown on the excuse of it being "winter" - we get another day like this and I'm going to have to set out early enough to do the whole trail.

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Old 01-16-20, 10:42 AM
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Went back on 1/16/20 and did the whole trail Bronx -> Brewster. Perhaps because it was a weekday ran into an excavator and dump truck at work on the stretch in Amawalk above Yorktown Heights between Quaker Church Rd and Granite Springs Rd. Pedaled up to them expecting to get told to turn around, but they paused and let me through.

Does raise the question though if that stretch is blocked what the best route around it would be. Quaker Church to Granite Springs, or Mahopac Ave.

Before I know I was going to get through I also thought about turning around, checking a map now it was 16.3 miles on to Brewster as planned and ridden but 18.6 south to Eastview, off the branch and downhill to the train at Tarrytown. Those more comfortable with road routings could probably head west to Katonah or Goldens Bridge.

Anyway it looks for the moment like the areas likely to see work are between Yorktown Heights and the county line at Baldwin Place, and the brief 1/4 mile detour from just north of the Kitchawan Bridge to Birdsall Drive, the first road the trail crosses just above the washed out section where the narrow fence was.

Last edited by UniChris; 01-27-20 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 01-27-20, 11:55 AM
  #24  
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Found the North County actually closed with a fence at that spot in Amawalk just beyond Yorktown Heights yesterday. At least it didn't have much ice on it. From Alan Shepherd place in Yonkers up to the fence and back was 60 miles, had to do a short repeat to hit 100km. Seems like I was lucky to get to enjoy going through to Brewster twice earlier this month, but will be nice when the whole thing is finally fixed.

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Old 05-14-20, 05:12 PM
  #25  
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Drove up to Millbrook today and road as far north as we could before the trail was closed for repaving, about 1.5 miles north of Yorktown Heights. There was still the detour on 129 to Birdwell, where the section of the trail collapsed. After returning to our car we drove over to Croton Gorge Park, were very few were wearig masks.
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