by Karin Yerry
The Catskill Mountain Railroad is located right off Route 212 on Route 28, in Mount Tremper, and on Aaron Court near the Kingston Plaza in Kingston. The little railroad, run entirely by volunteers, has encountered quite a few setbacks in recent years, but CMRR President Earl Pardini eventually wants to repair the line so that trains can once again carry passengers from Kingston to Phoenicia.
The Catskill Mountain Railroad is rich in local history. In 1866, the original Ulster & Delaware Railroad began from the Hudson River at Kingston Point. In the early 1900’s the railroad transported passengers throughout the Catskill Mountains, and also carried freight such as bluestone, dairy, lumber, cauliflower, and coal. George Peck, one of the 140 volunteers at Catskill Mountain Railroad, explained that in those days, trains carried passengers from New York to Devil’s Tombstone and the Catskill Mountain House trail. The Empire State Railway Museum, located on Route 28 in Phoenicia, displays vintage railroad equipment, and is open on weekends and holidays through Columbus Day. For more information about the museum, please visit esrm.com, or call (845) 688-7501.
The Catskill Mountain Railroad is run and operated entirely by volunteers. Volunteers are always needed and anyone interested in volunteering can call (845) 688-7400. There are currently 140 volunteers dedicated to clearing the rails and working toward opening the train line from Kingston all the way through to Phoenicia. The effects from Hurricane Irene last year were devastating to the railroad, and damages at the Phoenicia and Cold Brook Stations have impeded the progress made by volunteers. However, after only three weeks following Hurricane Irene, the group was able to open up to the public, providing a shortened train ride, with decreased rates. The ride at the Mount Tremper Station is a 5 mile round trip, and is available Labor Day Weekend; Friday through Monday, departing at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. September 8 – 23, the hours at Mount Tremper station are Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. From September 28 through October 28, Mount Tremper offers Fall Foliage trains Friday through Sundays, and October 3, at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. The Kingston City Shuttle is open this Saturday, featuring the Labor Day Trains at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. The Kingston Train is a 45 minute round trip through historic Kingston. The Kingston City Shuttle also offers a Halloween Train running on Saturdays and Sundays from October 20 – October 28, and Winter Holiday Trains from December 1 – 30. For more information, visit www.catskillmtrailroad.com, or call (845) 688-7400.