JOHNSBURG — A Saratoga & North Creek Railway locomotive derailed near Route 28 last week and has remained off the tracks with its engine running for nearly a week as the company tries to right it, angering residents who have been inhaling diesel engine fumes for days.
The engine was being used to try to clear snow and ice from tracks between Johnsburg and Thurman on Feb. 6, when it jumped the rails and became stuck.
Efforts to get it back on the rail since have been hindered by ice and snow, said Justin Gonyo, SNCR’s general manager. And because it is a diesel engine that does not have antifreeze, SNCR has been forced to keep the engine running so it doesn’t freeze, he said.
That has included refueling it at least once.
“Believe me, I want it out of there as much as anyone,” Gonyo said.
The engine remained upright and was stuck in a stretch between Glen Creek and Route 28, just west of the Hudson River.
There are a number of homes and businesses clustered in an area known as The Glen who have been wondering about the progress in light of the noise of the engine and odor of diesel exhaust.
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Johnsburg Supervisor Andrea Hogan said a number of residents have taken issue with the “really bad” odor from the engine’s fumes.
“I have been hearing their frustration,” she said Monday.
She said railroad management had promised to have the train back on the tracks as of Saturday, but that day came and went without success.
“It might be time for them to pay for a contractor,” she said.
One resident said that railroad workers did not come to the site for several days last week, after the Wednesday snowstorm. They were there during the snowstorm and returned on Saturday.
Water from flooding last month blocked the tracks in several areas along the Hudson River, and Gonyo said the company has been working to clear it so snow train trips could resume. The company has scaled back the length of the snow train trip to avoid the flooded area, but Gonyo said ticket sales have been good and the company wants to re-open the full line as soon as possible.
“The ice has been a big problem, and we haven’t gotten to the worst of it yet,” Gonyo explained.