Saratoga & North Creek Railway is in negotiations with a second customer that wants to remove material from the abandoned NL Industries mines in Tahawus. Great!
The railway’s executive director, Justin Gonyo, said this week that the company hopes to complete a contract that would result in additional freight train traffic on the rail line from Tahawus to Corinth.
That contract would come in addition to one being signed with a company that plans to remove millions of tons of tailings from the former titanium mines to use in road construction.
The removal for road construction was expected to begin this year, with tailings taken from Tahawus to Corinth by train, then trucked from Corinth to the port of Albany to be shipped south.
But Gonyo said the first company, which has not been identified publicly, now wants to ship the material by rail to Albany, so SNCRR is negotiating with Canadian Pacific Railway to get the material by rail from Saratoga Springs — where SNCRR’s line ends — to Albany.
SNCRR officials were hoping to start shipping the material this year, but Gonyo said no timetable has been established as the contract is finalized. SNCRR has moved 33 hopper train cars to North Creek, and will have 55 there when shipments begin, he said.
Word of the likelihood of more freight traffic was good news for the county.
Warren County and the town of Corinth, which own the rail line, get a portion of the revenue the railway takes in from freight and tourist train traffic.
“I really think that this is encouraging,” Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said.
The first customer plans to remove 20 million tons of material from the former mines over the next 20 years.
“It’s a huge contract,” Gonyo said.
Gonyo said the summer has been a good one for the tourist trains SNCRR operates. Despite cutting the number of scheduled trips, ridership was up 22 percent for the quarter, and 25 percent for the year as of the end of July, he said.
“Everything is going well despite the service reduction,” he said.
Traffic on the “north end local” line between Thurman and North Creek started slowly this year, but has picked up. Gonyo said the railway is weighing a move of the caboose car eatery from Riparius to Thurman to put another attraction there.