Plan to build train stations okayed

QUEENSBURY-For years, Warren County Supervisors have complained - or suffered public embarrassment - about the expensive train platforms they had constructed primarily with grant funding for the county railway.

Two platforms, one at Hadley and the other in Thurman had cost $2.5 million to build - an expense that angered and puzzled the public, considering these were not complete train stations as people had envisioned nearly a decade ago for the tourist railway.

But last week, with a county railway to be running trains as soon as this summer under an ambitious new operator, the county supervisors endorsed a plan to erect structures, however modest, at these two stops.

Passengers traveling the rail line may soon have at least a rest room and a roof to keep rain off their heads when they visit the two stopovers in Hadley and Thurman.

At the suggestion of Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino, the county endorsed a plan to spend up to $47,626 in leftover federal grant funds to put up walls and roofs, and at least one rest room at each of the two platforms.

Merlino suggested that volunteer labor to build the structures could be recruited from the communities served by the railway, and the grant money could be stretched to bankroll more upgrades besides building materials, like lighting and signage.

County Department of Public Works Committee Chairman Dan Belden, Supervisor of Hague, said spending the money to upgrade the passenger experience would be a good use of money that would otherwise have to be handed back to the government.

"We fought to get the funds, and I hate to turn it back in," he said.

The proposed structures, however, fall far short of plans drafted five years or so ago, which called for architect-designed train stations with historic detailing, complete with lobbies, luggage rooms, and concession booths.

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