NORTH CREEK Passenger service on the Saratoga-North Creek railroad was suspended for five days over the Fourth of July holiday weekend due to a rail-bed washout, a railway official told county leaders Monday July 29.
The service interruption from July 3 through July 8 was caused by flash flooding which washed out gravel underneath rail ties over an 850-feet stretch of the rail bed in the town of Greenfield, railway superintendent Justin Gonyo said. Substantial lengths of railway shoulders were also eroded, he said.
Over 100 feet of the damaged stretch of rail bed, the track sunk 3 inches, which prohibited Saratoga-North Creek Railway from running trains at speeds greater than 10 miles per hour, he said. Due to the repairs necessary to restore full service, the railway suspended its daily runs, he added.
Reconstructing the rail bed required laying down 600 tons of stone under the ties. Gonyo said the cost of repairs was $34,079, plus an additional $7,929 in operational losses from the shutdown.
The contract between Warren County which owns the track and the railroad operators call for the railway to pay for repairs costing less than $50,000. Repairs exceeding that sum to be negotiated between the county and the railway.
Gonyo said the washout was caused by a heavy rain sweeping brush, debris and limbs into a storm culvert — blocking it up — which caused water to back up and erode the rail bed.
During the passenger service suspension, the railway continued to carry freight.
Gonyo noted that the railway is now negotiating to transport as much as 500,000 tons of stone next summer from Tahawus to Troy. Plans also call for the enterprise to move 1,000 tons of “rip-rap” stones off the Barton Mines property.
He also said that a meeting was scheduled this week between Saratoga-North Creek Railway management and Canadian-Pacific executives to negotiate fright transportation.