NORTH CREEK - One of the newly-constructed railroad platforms and another which is currently in the construction phase may not see the traffic Warren County officials had hoped for.
Upper Hudson River Railroad announced this week that it has canceled its weekly trips to the Hadley platform and will only make special trips to the Stony Creek platform at 1,000 Acres Ranch.
"If I am running with less than 45 people on a train it amounts to a net loss," Upper Hudson Railroad General Manager Cliff Wellz said May 7. "We will fulfill our contractual obligations with the county and make at least runs a week between North Creek and Riparius." The $1.1 million Hadley platform cost the county about $405,000 after property acquisition, engineering and construction , according to Warren County DPW Superintendent Bill Lamy.
The balance of the cost was funded through state and federal grants.
County supervisors displayed frustration with the new development, especially following public outcry against the overall cost of the 17-year, $11.8 million project.
"We have got to move in a different direction," Queensbury Supervisor-at-Large Fred Champagne said at a special county DPW Committee meeting May 7. "What we have gotten ourselves into is obviously not a money-maker for the railroad and a real loser for the county - maybe it's time to find another operator who can turn this thing around."
Over the last several years Warren County has spent $2.7 million in design and construction costs for the Hadley and Thurman platforms. Of that, $613,918 has come directly from county coffers, Lamy said.
The contract between Warren County and Upper Hudson River Railroad requires the railroad to make regularly scheduled runs to all completed train stations.
However, the platforms do not fulfill the requirements to meet the definition of a station.
"The language is very clear as to what kind of stations they were expecting," Warren County Attorney Paul Dusek said. "The contract clearly states that the stations will be in turn-key condition with amenities like a gift-shop and snack-bar - the current situation is not what everyone had hoped or anticipated."