Train is carrying the load of boosting the economy

"The idea for us to run to Hadley and back once a week is ridiculous," he said. "We plan on making special trips south of Riparius, but going to Thurman with only 30 people on-board would financially destroy us."

Frustration among taxpayers and supervisors has intensified recently as costs and setbacks have multiplied. Such expenses include a washout last month which rendered the track south of Riparius impassable, requiring more than $100,000 in repairs.

The only part of the train operation that regularly turns a profit is the gift shop at the North Creek Depot, Wellz said. The original plans for the other stations called for similar shops and amenities, but after numerous cost-cutting revisions to plans, the final stations ended up being merely very expensive pole barns.

"I think the paring down we are doing now will allow us to at least break even, if not potentially turn a profit this year," Wellz said. "Upper Hudson is very much a viable enterprise."

The 16-year tourist train project has cost approximately $12 million, most of which came from state and federal grants.

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