The Saratoga-North Creek Railroad passenger train
Photo by Nancy Frasier.
continued “We need to be prepared for a large number of people just wanting to get out of the house in the winter. Typically the only thing to do is winter sports, which leaves non-skiers out of the club,” said Munley.
The train company has purchased buses that were gutted and retro-fitted to bring skiers and their accompanying equipment to the slopes. The buses will also be used to shuttle visitors around town for events.
Goodspeed introduced a motion to the town board to allow the company to use Tannery Pond for free during budget hearings.
“We want to help them any way we can,” said Goodspeed.
Getting the Depot Museum open for the ski trains is something businesses and the town would like to see happen, but museum Director Ray Flanagan said he can't see a way for that to work.
The museum already runs on an all-volunteer staff, and their docents have mostly left for the winter.
Flanagan said winter operation would greatly increase maintenance costs. Heating for the small museum building costs about $3,000, even with the thermostat set to 44 degrees, he said. Snow removal will need to be accounted for, and with snow comes more dirt and water brought inside. Durable carpet or frequent cleaning would be needed to deal with the slush.
The most recent Johnsburg budget cut town funding to the museum by 25 percent. Flanagan said a reduced budget and a request for more operation days will place a major financial strain on the institution.
“While it would be nice to be open for the ski trains and the museum is working very hard to make that happen, nothing can interfere with the museum's basic mission, and that is education,” said Flanagan.
The ski train will run from the end of December until March.