JOHNSBURG — Warren County has filed a lawsuit against a New Hampshire railroad company that has left rotting railroad cars on county property in Johnsburg for more than eight years.
The county filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in Warren County against Southwind Rail Travel Limited of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, and its owner, Michael G. Kelly, seeking a trespass finding and court order to have a locomotive and coach rail car removed from tracks at the county-owned rail station in North Creek.
Southwind leased cars to Upper Hudson River Railroad, one of the former operators of a tourist train on the county-owned and town of Corinth-owned tracks. Upper Hudson’s contract was terminated at the end of 2010 when legislators became unhappy with a lack of development of business operations.
Southwind was unable or unwilling to remove the cars it owned when a new operator took over, and Southwind agreed to pay storage fees of $2 per day to the county after Upper Hudson lost its contract, but Southwind’s contract was terminated by the county in 2012.
Southwind had 30 days to remove the equipment but he cars have sat unattended since, despite repeated county requests to the company to have them removed, and complaints about their dilapidated conditions.
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With the county seeking a new operator of trains on the line, letters were sent to Southwind in July 2018 and February and May of this year that have received no response, wrote Robert Terwilliger, Warren County’s first assistant county attorney.
“Despite receiving written requests from Warren County to remove the railroad cars from the North Creek Rail Station, and being aware of the county’s desire to have the railcars removed, neither Southwind nor Mr. Kelly have taken any steps to remove them and the railroad cars to this day are still on the tracks at the North Creek Rail Station,” Terwilliger wrote.
So the county attorney’s office filed a lawsuit Aug. 28, seeking a court order to remove the equipment. No court dates had been set as of Friday.
Efforts to reach Kelly were unsuccessful Friday, as no listed phone number for his company could be found.
Box cars formerly used by Upper Hudson also sat on a stretch of tracks north of North Creek for years, becoming covered with graffiti. But that section of tracks is not owned by Warren County.