QUEENSBURY - The long-awaited extension of Warren County's tourist railway to Saratoga Springs may become reality as soon as next spring, county leaders learned last week.
Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Fred Monroe said that he had been assured by state and federal representatives that $1 million in grant funding for repair of county train track in Saratoga County has been approved.
The money would be spent on upgrading the 16-mile portion of the Warren County tourist rail line that runs between the Village of Corinth and the connection with CP Rail near Saratoga Springs.
The grant is going to the Town of Corinth, which is to administrate the grant, authorities said. Corinth Town Supervisor Richard Lucia confirmed Friday that the money was granted by the state Dept. of Transportation, but the grant was awaiting a signature of the state Attorney General.
For well over a decade, county leaders and area economic development officials have envisioned regular train service connecting North Creek with Saratoga Springs, the Capital Region and New York City. This connection would allow Manhattan skiers to leave their vehicles at home and enjoy a scenic ride all the way to North Creek, they've said.
Also, it was envisioned that a series of stations would be constructed at towns along the route. When federal grants promised didn't materialize, these stations weren't built, and several platforms were constructed instead at considerable cost - a situation that angered taxpayers and eroded support this year among county supervisors for the tourist railway.
However, this $1 million grant is likely to make the connection with Saratoga Springs and New York City a reality, Lucia said, if it indeed materializes.
"The game plan is all there," Lucia said.
Cliff Welz and Jerry Riegel of the Upper Hudson River Railroad said that the money would be spent on installing a crossing signal at Anton Mountain Road in Corinth, and replacing ties and improving the rail bed along the 16 miles of track from Corinth to the connection with the CP Rail line near Saratoga Springs. Upper Hudson River Railroad operates trains daily from North Creek to Riverside.