NORTH CREEK The Upper Hudson River Railroad celebrates the tenth anniversary of its inaugural run this year on Saturday, Oct. 13. As those who reside in North Creek know, in the past ten years the little train station that is nearly synonymous with the history of the town has gone from a dormant bud to a thriving blossom, becoming one of the most unique and popular of tourist destinations in the area.
The North Creek depot and its trains have a rich history dating back to the late 1800s when the station was a significant point on the Adirondack portion of the D&H railroad, and has gained particular fame as a result of the fact that Teddy Roosevelt received word that President McKinley had deceased while at the station, thus ushering him into the presidency.
Where restoration of the depot itself had already been taking place for some years prior by a separate entity called the North Creek Railway Depot Preservation Association who worked both to improve the depot and develop a depot museum, train rides through the Upper Hudson River Railroad, a private excursion railway, became a possibility after Warren County purchased the track for the promotion of tourism and development in the area.
There had been a strong movement to acquire a train in North Creek. Town Supervisor Bill Thomas had hoped to see the train to fruition for some time, and there was a large group of people involved in bringing the dream of an active railway to life.
Although the station itself had already been purchased by the county, funds were needed to repair and maintain the freight house, engines and rails, and U.S. Rep. Gerald Solomon, R-Queensbury, became an integral part in acquiring these finances.
Those originally involved in the Upper Hudson River Railroad worked hard to procure success for the project. Tim Record, the general manager of The UHRR at the time of its conception, endeavored to transform the vision of a fully operational railway excursion into a reality. An enthusiastic and knowledgeable pilot crew complemented the operation, including Larry LaFarr, who had worked as an engineer for D&H for 44 years, conductors Gene Corsaoe and Ernie Nenning, engineers Bill and Al Cameron, Jerry Riegel and UHRR president John Riegel, who along with their company W.J Riegel and Sons, restored the 8 mile track from North Creek to Riparius. The Upper Hudson River Railroad, in contract with the county, was then able to provide the preliminary train trip from North Creek to Riverside Station in Riparius.