The first freight shipment in 25 years was transported outbound from North Creek over the Saratoga & North Creek Railway (SNC). The railway is a subsidiary of Iowa Pacific Holdings (IPH).
SNC operates between a connection with the Canadian Pacific Railway at Saratoga Springs and North Creek, a distance of 56.5 miles.
Barton International, producer of industrial minerals since 1878, is the first freight customer, having shipped their last load over the line in 1988. “We are very pleased with this first shipment and enthusiastic about future volume opportunities with Iowa Pacific,” said Charles Barton, chief operating officer of Barton International.
Other potential freight commodities include iron ore, hardwood forest products (logs, pulp, wood chips, and inbound lumber products), aggregates (processed, clean sand and stone), inbound coal, and general merchandise, the company said.
The railroad line was built as the Adirondack Railroad in the mid-1800s, to open up the Adirondack Mountain region to both inbound and outbound passenger and freight railroad service. Passenger service was discontinued in 1956. The 29-mile Sanford Lake Branch, running from North Creek to Tahawus, was purchased by Iowa Pacific from National Lead in 2012.
Over the years, the line handled large quantities of ore, processed minerals, and general merchandise freight. According to IPH, the last freight train over the upper portion of the line operated in November, 1989, and in 2003 the freight service for the International Paper plant in Corinth was discontinued.
The north half of the line was purchased by Warren County in 1997. The line from Corinth to Saratoga Springs was purchased by the town of Corinth in 2006.
IPH acquired operating rights to the line in 2011, and has invested approximately $1.5 million in track, passenger station, and ancillary facility upgrades. Rail has been replaced, track sidings rehabilitated, new crossties and rock ballast installed, the company said.
SNC operates scheduled passenger service over the line to North Creek, serving seven intermediate stations, using modern, stainless steel passenger car equipment, including classic full dining service and full-length dome cars. During the winter season, scheduled weekend snow/ski and special event train service is provided.
Iowa Pacific is a privately-held, Chicago-based operator of nine U.S. railroads, and manages two rail lines in the United Kingdom, as well as other rail-related businesses.