Saratoga & North Creek Railway plans to dramatically boost its dining car offerings this year after finding plenty of interest in meals on rails in recent years.
The railroad plans to bring new dining and lounge cars to its line to try to increase ridership on the tourist train.
The company will offer dinner, brunch and lunch train trips, with much of the food and beverages offered on the trips to be provided by local suppliers.
SNCRR will offer 94 dining trips between Saratoga Springs and Thurman Station starting June 4 and running through Oct. 28, an increase over the 15 offered last year.
The trips will be run on new equipment that includes a bigger, 48-passenger dining car with a full kitchen, and a “luxurious” lounge car with couches and a bar, said Justin Gonyo, SNCRR’s general manager. The trips have been dubbed The Pullman Table.
Gonyo said the company had seen that dining car trips were selling out in previous years, with all but one of 28 over the last three years being booked solid.
“This is a very exciting business franchise,” Gonyo said.
The kitchen can turn out up to 300 meals per trip, he said. Wine will be provided by Greenfield winemaker The Fossil Stone Vineyards, and local farmers and food suppliers will provide ingredients for meals.
Menus posted online listed standard breakfast offerings, with entrees like prime rib, grilled salmon and “Adirondack casserole” and the “D & H Deluxe Burger” for later meals.
SNCRR’s parent company, Iowa Pacific Holdings LLC, offers the same service on its other affiliated railroads in Oregon, Texas, Illinois and Louisiana.
The company has been dogged by lower-than-anticipated ridership numbers, though the Polar Express holiday trips have done well. SNCRR canceled snow train trips for skiers this winter between Saratoga Springs and North Creek.
The railroad’s five-year contract with the county expires in June, but county Administrator Paul Dusek told county supervisors Monday that negotiations for a new deal are progressing.
“It looks like it’s going to be a go for another five years,” Dusek said.