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New scenic train run aimed at Lake George tourists

Saratoga-North Creek Railway General Manager Justin Gonyo smashes a bottle of champagne on the front of a locomotive June 26 to christen the new North End Local service on the railway.  Wincing from the impact of the bottle are train conductor Mark Salis and railway publicist Kristen Hanifen. This new short-haul scenic train ride between Thurman and North Creek is intended for tourists, particularly from Warrensburg and Lake George, who want to experience the scenery along the upper Hudson River and a unique view of rural communities along the way.

Saratoga-North Creek Railway General Manager Justin Gonyo smashes a bottle of champagne on the front of a locomotive June 26 to christen the new North End Local service on the railway. Wincing from the impact of the bottle are train conductor Mark Salis and railway publicist Kristen Hanifen. This new short-haul scenic train ride between Thurman and North Creek is intended for tourists, particularly from Warrensburg and Lake George, who want to experience the scenery along the upper Hudson River and a unique view of rural communities along the way. Photo by Thom Randall.

— As a bottle of champagne was smashed against the front of a locomotive June 26, the Saratoga-North Creek Railway’s new short-haul passenger service was inaugurated.

The new 50-minute scenic trip from Thurman to North Creek is expected to bring 12,000 or more tourists from popular Lake George Village into North Creek this summer, bolstering the latter community’s economy.

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Passengers on the inaugural run June 26 of the North End Local service on the Saratoga-North Creek Railway are greeted by conductor Mark Salis as they emerge from a dome car.

The railway’s new “North End Local” service is features two departures per day every weekend from Thurman Station, which was also christened during the June 26 celebration.

Tourism and governmental officials hailed the new service that offers a half-day, full-day or overnight getaway at a low price.

Lake George Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Consuelo said the new run — to be promoted heavily in Lake George Village — would offer new options to tourists. Consuelo said that visitors to the village would undoubtedly enjoy traveling in the vintage dome cars along the historic railway, as well as discovering the small-town charm of North Creek.

“This new train service offers tourists something really different, and it brings North Creek closer to everyone,” he said. Consuelo noted that tourism officials are seeking to launch a shuttle service for Lake George visitors, which can number as many as 50,000 per week during summer.

Town of Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow predicted that the short runs would indeed be popular, considering their low price.

“There’s definitely a market for it,” he said, noting that the railroad’s former operator had carried 12,000 to 16,000 passengers annually between Riparius and North Creek, a short trip of 7 miles or so.

Laurie Arnheiter of Hudson River Trading Co. said the new short-haul train service would be popular, as it only required tourists to commit a portion of a day rather than a full day.

“If they can draw as many tourists as they plan to, it will be phenomenal,” she said.

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