Who would have thought that a train, in this day and age, would have such an impact on an Adirondack community? With passenger service discontinued in many sections of the Adirondack Park more than 40 years ago, the new passenger train connection between North Creek and Saratoga Springs has given us cause for celebration.
It also brings added responsibility. As many in the tourist industry know, a lot of work needs to be done before we see the economic rewards that come with the Saratoga & North Creek Railway. It requires new services, new infrastructure and a new way of thinking. The way North Creek did business two years ago is already outdated, for this is a railroad town once again.
North Creek has been in the hospitality industry for more than a century. And having a tourist train — with the Upper Hudson River Railroad — gave this community a lot of experience with train enthusiasts. But the Saratoga & North Creek Railway is in a different league and gives North Creek more opportunities.
Not only is the railway a tourist attraction, offering scenic day trips to points south, it is now connected to Amtrak passenger service at Saratoga Springs, linking it to a potentially lucrative market in New York City. And the railway is expected to create jobs here after it begins hauling ore out of the Tahawus mine in Newcomb.
We’ve seen the North Creek Business Alliance lead the charge and make improvements already, creating new events, establishing concierge services and new signage at the train station, forming partnerships to provide local transportation for train travelers, fostering a can-do attitude, and working with chamber, town, county and state officials to re-build North Creek as a modern, four-season resort town.
But there’s more work to be done, and it’s going to take the entire community — not just the Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce, North Creek Business Alliance and government officials — to pull it off. It will take all the not-for-profits, businesses, schools and ordinary citizens, both year-round and seasonal.