Aboard the Saratoga & North Creek Railway’s Inaugural Run
By James H. Miller
Thursday, August 18, 2011
At the steady pace of 30 mph, the train rolled in and out of dense forest and along the dark waters of the Hudson, passing through small towns—Riverside, Thurman, Hadley, Corinth, Luzerne—where people waved from cars and back yards as it whistled by. When the train passed the back of one house, kids in bathing suits danced around the swimming pool and threw their hands in the air. On board, passengers waved back and applauded—applauded for what? A lot of things, it seemed, but primarily the combined efforts of their community, and the revival of this track.
Last Wednesday, The North Creek & Saratoga Railway opened its train doors for a special preview run. Passengers boarded at the quaint rail station in North Creek, and in a little under two hours, they arrived in Saratoga Springs. It was a historic event, in that no train has run as far as Saratoga Springs from North Creek since 1956.
Operators of the railway, Iowa Pacific Holdings, acquired the track from the Upper Hudson River Railroad, and now its revival could invigorate the local economies of these out-of-the-way towns. Tourists are likely to hop on the North Creek & Saratoga line for a scenic ride and stop into town restaurants, shops and hotels. The railway operates from Thursday to Sunday, offering both leisurely excursion rides and early morning service to Saratoga Springs, where New York City bound passengers can transfer to the Amtrak line.
“We’ve received so much support from the area,” said the conductor, Jody Moore, in his sleek black uniform with gold trim, who’s been with Iowa Pacific Holdings for two years. “It’s great to be giving back to the community.”
On board, passengers were able to take in incredible scenery, the kind that’s singular to the Adirondacks. The train burrowed into tucked away landscapes that looked untouched, came into view of the Hudson, and pressed on through beautiful small towns.
In the dome car, the railway’s first class car, passengers sat over tableside lunch. For a train, the lunch menu is extensive, offering restaurant quality sandwiches, salads, deserts and cocktails.
Coach offers a quieter ride, and food service is still available to those who want it, by entering a small dining room located on the lower level of the dome car.
In two hours time, the train pulled into Saratoga Springs.
“Everything worked out much better than we thought,” Ed Ellis, the President of Iowa Pacific Holdings said on the platform. “The response has been phenomenal.”
Before leaving Saratoga Springs to head back to North Creek, Corinth Supervisor Richard Lucia spoke through the intercom at the front of the dome car.
“I’m breathless, just breathless,” he said. “All aboard. And thank you.”
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