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Tourist train linking Saratoga and North Creek opens

2011-07-21T11:30:00Z 2012-08-06T06:45:26Z Tourist train linking Saratoga and North Creek opensJON ALEXANDER - jalexander@poststar.com Glens Falls Post-Star

SARATOGA SPRINGS - Local officials hailed Wednesday's inaugural run of the Saratoga and North Creek Railway as a step forward in the region's tourism industry.

About 100 area VIPs got their first glimpse at the Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC line after more than a year of negotiations and planning.

And they were almost universally impressed.

"It's a historic day for Warren County," said Dan Stec, chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. "The change to the railroad is like what happened at the (Warren County) airport. Their (Iowa Pacific's) predecessor moved us forward, but this is a new level."

Iowa Pacific replaces the Upper Hudson River Railroad as Warren County's official rail operator. Joint negotiations between Iowa Pacific, the town of Corinth and the Canadian-Pacific Railroad, which owns the rails south of Corinth, have brought trains from North Creek to Saratoga for the first time since 1956.

Officials said the link with Saratoga opens up a significant opportunity to usher Amtrak-traveling New York City tourists into the Adirondacks.

"This brings it all together," said Jean Raymond, supervisor of Edinburg, referring to the link to the southern lines.

Several area supervisors remarked about the plush seating and food service, complete with bow-tie wearing waiters, in the first-class seating area being a draw for moneyed tourists looking for relaxing travel.

Rail service between Saratoga and North Creek officially opens to the public this Saturday.

The intermunicipal deal will guarantee that Warren County receives at least $82,000 in the first year, compared to the $19,500 it received last year.

Warren County spent about $70,000 last year on bond payments and taxes on the lines. Iowa Pacific will pay the taxes as part of the deal, which amounts to about $14,000 a year. Iowa Pacific will also be responsible for any track repairs costing less than $50,000.

Iowa Pacific is in negotiations with the owners of a northern rail line between Newcomb and North Creek, opening up the potential for freight service.

"Iowa Pacific is interested in expanding," said Gene Merlino, supervisor of Lake Luzerne.

Mike Pratt, manager of the state-run Gore Mountain Ski Center in North Creek, said ski area officials are currently researching the best way to get winter train passengers from the North Creek Rail Depot to the mountain.

Early 20th century "ski trains" are widely credited for placing North Creek on the tourist map.

Iowa Pacific has committed to running regular ski trains between Saratoga and North Creek throughout the winter.

"We're hoping the demand will force us to expand our shuttle service," Pratt said.

During the summer, the railway will run a regimented daily schedule with trips between its two hubs, but will also operate sightseeing tours to other towns along the line, including Riparius, Thurman, Lake Luzerne and Stony Creek.

Groups like the North Creek Business Alliance are ahead of the curve to get summer passengers into Johnsburg's business district. The organization has secured a six-seat golf cart and plans to ferry incoming tourists to and from Main Street.

"We want to people to spend the night and get a new perspective of North Creek," said Anna Bowers, manager of Bar Vino in North Creek.

Copyright 2016 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. homeboy
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    homeboy - July 24, 2011 8:48 pm
    boston said: "Remember when railroads were run by owners and investors. Now there run by politicians and taxpayers. "

    Since when have public roads ever been run by owners or investors. Federal Highway funds for NYS dwarf what the taxpayers spent on this rail line.
  2. railroad family
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    railroad family - July 23, 2011 1:32 am
    Many people are missing the point and getting upset over "Time table deficiency's". I visited the North Creek Hq 2 weeks ago when SNCRR personnel & contractors were working to upgrade electrical systems, paint the new color scheme on rolling stock and review procedures with FRA Inspectors(Federal Railroad Administration)to make sure all was squared away before one customer rode the train. An amazing feat! If you want "A train to somewhere". Write to NYSDOT,CDTA and Amtrak!! They will add trains from downstate or the Capital District if their is public support and funding!!
    We need to give this railroad and owner Ed Ellis a chance. As taxpayers, we funded this years ago, like it or not. If the roadbed gets ripped up for "Rails to Trails", there is NO return on investment.
    I live in Greenfield and will take the train a few times a year, but tourists love them or hate them, bring the North County and Saratoga dollars. My father always said, "No finance, no romance". Same for trains!
  3. boston
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    boston - July 22, 2011 5:17 pm
    Remember when railroads were run by owners and investors. Now there run by politicians and taxpayers.
  4. idontcare
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    idontcare - July 22, 2011 1:19 pm
    @ Opinionated

    I am glad you find it to be a waste dont use it and stay out of north creek. tell your family and friends not to bother too.
  5. Opinionated
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    Opinionated - July 22, 2011 11:29 am
    Am I reading the schedule right? You basically have 3 3/4 hours in North Creek (really less since you have travel time back/forth from the North Creek station) with the Hudson Explorer. That's not much time to raft, hike or do the sort of things you may want to aside some walking around and having lunch. But the improperly named "New York Express" gives you a full day in Saratoga if you're coming down from North Creek.

    This doesn't seem like a thing that people who live here will use more than once, possibly twice. Not much time at the destination... unless I'm reading the schedule wrong, which I could be.
  6. Opinionated
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    Opinionated - July 22, 2011 10:51 am
    Qtown_Bob said: "There was a day when the railroad coming to your town was a good thing . Opportunism ruled the day Now all anyone sees is a rail to nowhere. hmmmmmmmmm "

    There's already a railroad coming to my town. What it needs to do it go more regularly to more useful places. Step 1 should have been getting more people to SAR with more trains from ALB. And, conversely, those in SAR could go to ALB (and places south) more readily. Not sure why it escapes you that this train is taking people from B to C, when there needs to be more A to B first.
  7. brifle
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    brifle - July 22, 2011 9:45 am
    Life is good said: "What is the link to find out the cost and schedule? Does anyone know? Thanks so much!! "

    http://www.sncrr.com Shows times and prices.
    Personally I would like to use this train in the winter to gore. As I live just south of Saratoga. I would assume the schedule would be updated eventually.
  8. Life is good
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    Life is good - July 22, 2011 9:05 am
    What is the link to find out the cost and schedule? Does anyone know? Thanks so much!!
  9. Opinionated
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    Opinionated - July 22, 2011 8:39 am
    vocal101 said: "It seems this train is from "kinda somewhere" (Saratoga) to "kinda nowhere" (North Creek) instead of going south to "somewhere" (Albany)."@Opinionated, it seems like you have some exploring to do! North Creek is a FAR CRY from, "kinda nowwhere." Instead, it offers some of the best skiing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking and kayaking in New York State! North Creek is a hidden gem that will now be accessible to those looking to escape to a place of peace. You might just want to pay a visit for yourself; you'll be PLEASANTLY surprised. "

    Been there. It's nice, but it's not as useful as a regular SAR <-> ALB train. NC is a good getaway for us, but we want to easier for people down south to have us be a good getaway for them. As well as make it easier to commute to ALB and NYP from here.

  10. Qtown_Bob
    Report Abuse
    Qtown_Bob - July 22, 2011 6:32 am
    There was a day when the railroad coming to your town was a good thing . Opportunism ruled the day Now all anyone sees is a rail to nowhere. hmmmmmmmmm
  11. Rick59
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    Rick59 - July 22, 2011 6:08 am
    vocal101, Did not your parents teach you "sarcasm will get you nowhere"?
  12. idontcare
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    idontcare - July 21, 2011 10:50 pm
    Its too bad that our little gem is no going to be even more over run by tourists who think the adirondacks should be paved and protected so the locals have no say. Thanks alot warren county
  13. vocal101
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    vocal101 - July 21, 2011 6:15 pm
    North Creek is a killer getaway.
  14. vocal101
    Report Abuse
    vocal101 - July 21, 2011 6:09 pm
    It seems this train is from "kinda somewhere" (Saratoga) to "kinda nowhere" (North Creek) instead of going south to "somewhere" (Albany)."

    @Opinionated, it seems like you have some exploring to do! North Creek is a FAR CRY from, "kinda nowwhere." Instead, it offers some of the best skiing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking and kayaking in New York State! North Creek is a hidden gem that will now be accessible to those looking to escape to a place of peace. You might just want to pay a visit for yourself; you'll be PLEASANTLY surprised.
  15. Opinionated
    Report Abuse
    Opinionated - July 21, 2011 5:00 pm
    How about a shuttle between SAR and ALB? There are a lot of trains from ALB to NYP, and SAR is missing the boat by not having a regular shuttle/commuter train between the two stations. I'm sure it would work the other way as well, with people down state coming to Saratoga for a day/night trip.

    It seems this train is from "kinda somewhere" (Saratoga) to "kinda nowhere" (North Creek) instead of going south to "somewhere" (Albany).
  16. northq
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    northq - July 21, 2011 4:10 pm
    While I hope the railroad does well Dan Stecs comment doesn't bode well.He said " the change to the railroad is like what happened at the Warren County Airport".When Warren County awarded the airport management contract to Rich Schermerhorn against the wishes of local pilots the pilots vowed to boycott the airport. Apparently they kept their promise,it's been a quiet summer.The County then lowered Schermerhorns lease rate by 50 percent (despite the fact that he signed a contract agreeing to the original lease rate),which also reduces lease revenue the County receives by half.Mr. Stecs comment regarding the railroad should be a warning flag to all area taxpayers.

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