HADLEY -- Passengers hoping to ride one of Saratoga & North Creek Railways passenger trains will have a new place to buy tickets and get on the train this summer.
The railway and Warren County are renovating the historic train station on Rockwell Street in Hadley, to create a staffed station that is almost midway on the railway’s Saratoga Springs to North Creek line.
The station will have a ticket counter and amenities, and also serve as a “crew reporting” station for railway workers. The workers will be assigned to the freight operation that is going to ramp up in the coming weeks with shipments of stone tailings from the former mines in Tahawus, Essex County.
Justin Gonyo, general manager of SNCRR, said rail shipments of the tailings will begin in mid-May. They are being shipped to the Port of Albany, and will eventually make their way downstate for industrial use. Tailings will be stored at a railyard in Corinth, pending shipment south.
SNCRR is upgrading the rail line in places to prepare for the increased freight traffic, Gonyo said.
He said the Hadley station renovations will preserve the station’s character while enhancing its appearance.
“It will have an old-time rail station feel to it,” he said.
The original train station at the site dated back to the 1870s, although it was demolished in the 1950s during a dispute over taxes and then rebuilt. It has largely sat unused in recent decades, until SNCRR began operating the railway in 2011.
Gonyo said there will be a station agent on hand starting July 1, mainly on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to start, but the hours could be extended if there is demand.
No cost estimate for the renovations was released, but SNCRR is paying the bulk of the tab.
Warren County Public Works Superintendent Jeff Tennyson said the county is paying for some of the utility upgrades at the station.
The county is using funds from an $80,000 state grant awarded for work at the Thurman and Hadley stations. Money is being used to upgrade the water and septic systems at the Hadley station for the expected increase in use, and bathrooms were also built at the Thurman station.
Tennyson said the Hadley station is viewed as a potential attraction for tourists staying in southern Warren County during the summer.
“I think their intent is to man it to try and draw more passengers from the Lake George area during the summer,” Tennyson said.
Gonyo said spring ridership on the passenger train has been strong, with an increase of about 60 percent. He said the increase seemed to be driven by special events, such as an Easter-themed train and Maple Festival-themed trip.