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Upper Hudson, Americade strike a deal in wake of washout

NORTH CREEK - In the wake of the recent track washout, a level of uncertainty surrounded the scenic train schedule, as the damaged tracks made travel to the three Warren County owned platforms south of Riverside Station impossible. Of immediate concern was two previously scheduled trips during Americade from North Creek to the 1,000 Acres platform in Stony Creek.

But with a little cooperation, Upper Hudson River Railroad, Americade officials and 1,000 Acres announced this week that they will make it work, through an altered tour route on June 3 - 4.

"We decided that we will ride our bikes up to North Creek, take the train to Riparius and back and then go for a touring ride to 1,000 Acres for lunch," Americade founder and President Bill Dutcher said. "Given an act of God and the realities of a time element it seemed like the best fix for everyone involved."

Earlier this month, heavy rains and a beaver dam destroyed approximately 40-feet of track-bed as a century-old culvert became plugged and gave way.

In recent months, political and public sentiment regarding the county-funded railroad project has reached an all-time low with some supervisors who have traditionally supported the project changing their tunes.

Luzerne Supervisor Eugene Merlino and Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed both indicated this week that they thought that the track repair work should not be undertaken during the current budget crunch.

Both supervisors have train stops in their communities.

Goodspeed went so far as to introduce a measure last week that would not fix the tracks until the budgetary situation improved.

Warren County is currently projecting a $6.3 million shortfall for the 2010 budgetary year.

However, supervisors rejected this measure after Warren County Public Works Superintendent Bill Lamy said that things would only get worse if water was allowed to continually erode the track-bed. However, the repairs are currently out for bid and will likely take several months to complete.

Estimates place the repair costs at nearly $100,000 from county coffers.

The cooperation between UHRR, Americade and 1,000 Acres circumvents the governmental process and will bring revenue to UHRR and 1,000 Acres.

"We are going to work around the washout," UHRR General Manager Cliff Wellz said. "We are all willing to work together and make this happen."

Jack Arehart, owner of 1,000 Acres resort, said he stands to lose $10,000 in revenue if the two Americade trips were canceled.

Wellz said he expects around 250 bikers for both trips.

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