The company that operates pedal-powered rail “bikes” on a section of rails in northern Warren County wants to expand to run trips south of North Creek, including on a picturesque stretch along the Hudson River to the hamlet of Riparius.
The Warren County Board of Supervisors Public Works Committee voted Wednesday to set up a committee to work with Revolution Rail Co. and come to an agreement for one or two new rail bike routes later this year.
Robert Harte, co-owner of Revolution Rail, said 21,000 people rode his company’s four-wheeled bikes on the stretch of rail line in North River that is owned by Saratoga & North Creek Railway. That section of rails is just north of where Warren County’s section ends.
With that success, the company is hoping visitors would also like to ride the rails along other scenic sections of the rail line, which hosted tourist trains for years.
The section from North Creek south to Riparius passes through undeveloped woods with near continuous views of the river.
“That’s a very pretty run from North Creek to Riparius. You’re along the Hudson River the whole way,” Harte explained.
He said details of the length of the trips were still to be determined, but it was hoped the new offerings would be available this spring, summer and fall. That will depend, at least in part, on repair of washouts that occurred during last fall’s Halloween rainstorm. There was at least one washout on the line between North Creek and Riparius.
Harte said he has also had discussions with the new owners of Stony Creek Ranch, which fronts the rail line, and the company hopes to work with them on rail bike trips between the ranch and Thurman Station. That trip would also go along the Hudson River, and riders would be able to enjoy the ranch’s restaurant and activities, Harte said.
Supervisors were in favor of the proposed addition on Warren County’s rail line, provided a mutually agreeable contract could be reached amid concerns about how the rail bike operation would interact with rail crossings.
“This is a tourism driver for us. We should be jumping on it,” said Glens Falls 3rd Ward Supervisor Claudia Braymer.
Harte said the hope was to run the new trips this spring and summer, and said they could result in 25 new jobs.
“The variable is the washouts,” he said. “We’re under a bit of a time crunch to make it a reality for this season.”
County Administrator Ryan Moore said any contract with Revolution Rail had to include language about line maintenance. While the county, as owner of the rail line, would be responsible for rail repairs, he suggested that Revolution Rail help with maintenance along the line, such as tree trimming.
Warren County owns 40 miles of rails between Hadley and North Creek. The town of Corinth owns the section between Corinth and Saratoga Springs, and SNCR owns the stretch between North Creek and Tahawus.
That northern section is the subject of an abandonment request by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, in which SNCR has joined.
Don Lehman covers police and court matters, Warren County government and the outdoors. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or email@example.com
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