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$1 million grant for tourist train expected

The $1 million would bankroll upgrading the track to Class 2, which would allow train travel at 30 m.p.h. The portions of the track which are passable south of Corinth are now just Class 1 with a speed limit of 15 m.p.h., Welz said.

Lucia said his town has an engineering firm on board, ready to draft upgrade plans as soon as the $1 million check is signed.

Upper Hudson River Railroad is planning a series of excursions this fall from North Creek south through Warren County. Two trips are scheduled - one each on Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 - to go from North Creek to Thousand Acres Ranch in Stony Creek, and another run is slated to go from North Creek to the Hadley station platform on Oct. 17.

Riegel and Welz said they'd need a minimum of 45 reservations to make these runs.

County supervisors expressed frustration Thursday over the fact these trips were conditional, and that UHRR had cut their daily runs in half.

The county is ready to issue a request for proposals for operation of the train service, the role that UHRR now serves, effective beginning in 2010 when their 12-year contract with UHRR expires.

Supervisors have said they are frustrated with the declining ridership of the railway, which they blame on lack of promotion by UHRR. This, in part, has prompted them to open up bidding on the service to other enterprises.

But Riegel contends he had to cut the number of trips this year to cut his financial losses; and that to build ridership, the railway needs real stations, not platforms, and vibrant communities at each stop-off. He said that Warren County hasn't lived up to their agreement to provide the rail stations.

Supervisors blame the federal government for backing away from its long-standing commitments to fund the stations.

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