Adirondack Railroad looking ahead to expansion of service

Local News

Courtesy Adirondack Railroad

UTICA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Adirondack Railroad says it is planning for expanded service to Tupper Lake.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the railroad did not operate its trains in 2020, just its railbikes. Typically, it runs round trips between Utica and Thendera (outside Old Forge) and runs shorter sightseeing trips out of Thendera.

Now the railroad is undergoing a major state-financed rehabilitation, which will enable service up to Tupper Lake.

The president of the Adirondack Railroad Preservation Society, Bill Branson said: “Plans are already well developed; plans that will create destinations and stops along the line north to Tupper Lake. The names of places such as Beaver River, Brandreth, Nehasane, Sabattis, and Horseshoe will again come alive and rise in the consciousness of people as they are reunited with Adirondack Park legend because of our service.”

The rehabilitation work is expected to be complete by November 2021.

But the railroad is already seeking volunteers to help manage the expanded service. To apply, call the railroad at (315) 724-0700.

The Adirondack operates on what was once a New York Central Railroad line that, according to the New York Central System Historical Society, connected Utica with Montreal. That service ended in 1953. All passenger service on the line ended in 1966. Freight service ended in 1972.

A group of investors revived passenger service to Lake Placid in 1980 in time for the Winter Olympics, but that service lasted just two years. The current service started operating in 1992.

The non-profit group had hoped to expand eventually to Lake Placid. But as New York is financing this current rehabilitation, it is also removing the rails between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, turning the right of way into a multi-use recreation trail.

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