Supervisors entertain proposals for new railroad operator

County leaders plan to research each company and schedule follow-up meetings. Most, however, were impressed with Iowa Pacific.

"If they can deliver what they say they can deliver, it could be great for Warren County," said Dan Stec, Queensbury Supervisor.

Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed was encouraged by the opportunities presented by Iowa Pacific's plan.

"The tourist train has always been neat, but to see a proposal with that kind of depth is exciting," he said.

He acknowledged the benefits for tourists, residents and schools.

"The possibilities are endless" he said. "Someone could board a train in North Creek in the morning and be in Manhattan that afternoon. That provides a lot of opportunity as well as an avenue for Gore Mountain to become a monster ski center in the east."

Local residents and business owners alike hope the train will continue to benefit the local and regional economy.

"The train has a huge economic impact on this region," said Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce president Dave Bulmer. "It is important that we work together to push the county to make a decision as quickly as possible."

The train attracts thousands of visitors to the Gore Mountain Region yearly and has spurred such annual events as Race the Train, Ales on Rails, visits from Thomas the Tank Engine and many others. Warren County estimates that the Thomas event alone provides a $840,000 economic impact to the region.

"Train traffic is extremely important to this and the surrounding communities," said Joel Beaudin, owner of the Copperfield Inn in North Creek. "We need it to enhance our businesses, our town an our county as a whole."

No date was set for a follow-up meeting on the subject, but county leaders maintain they are on schedule with their end of the year deadline.

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