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Railway sale comes as a shock to county officials

Communication with Iowa Pacific leaves a lot to be desired

A train operated by Saratoga North Creek Railway pulls into Thurman Station during summer 2013.

A train operated by Saratoga North Creek Railway pulls into Thurman Station during summer 2013.

— Iowa Pacific Rail, the parent company to the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, has agreed to sell an 80 percent interest to Chai Trust Co. LLC and EGI Fund Investors.

Details of the sale have not been released by either party, under protective order. It was mentioned in the filing that the senior management of Iowa Pacific are set to maintain the remaining 20 percent interest.

Local county officials cited that communication and transparency with the railway is lacking.

“Our office is looking into it,” said Kevin Geraghty, Warrensburg Supervisor and Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors. “Ed Ellis and crew are still maintaining (the line), and hopefully this adds an influx in capital.”

SNCRR has struggled financially in the past with local debt and payments to Warren County, who are proprietors of the rail lines.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board made the sale public through a filing made April 21. No effort has been made at press time by Iowa Pacific or SNRCC to bridge communication with Warren County.

“I am sitting back and observing,” Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow said. “I am hoping for a positive outcome, but I’m cautiously optimistic.”

SNCRR is member of the Gore Mountain Region Chamber of Commerce, where officials say they have been heavily supported.

“We received no official notification, and we are pretty disappointed in that,” said Lisa Salamon, Executive Director of the chamber.

SNCRR currently runs their passenger service between Saratoga Springs and North Creek with seven station stops in between. They have recently also added summer service between Thurman and North Creek.

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