No one in­jured in tourist train de­rail­ment

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Diane Pineiro-Zucker dpzucker@free­manon­ Diane Free­man on Twit­ter

A Catskill Moun­tain Rail­road lo­co­mo­tive and flatbed pas­sen­ger car de­railed along the scenic tour train’s Mount Tremper-Phoeni­cia route, an Ul­ster County of­fi­cial said Tues­day.

Deputy County Ex­ec­u­tive Ken­neth Cran­nell said the ac­ci­dent, in which no one was in­jured, hap­pened about 2:45 p.m. Fri­day on or near a sec­tion of tracks in Mount Tremper known to be in need of re­pair. But rail­road Pres­i­dent Ernie Hunt said Cran­nell was wrong about the lo­ca­tion. Hunt said the in­ci­dent, which he re­fused to de­scribe as a de­rail­ment, hap­pened about half­way be­tween Mount Tremper and Phoeni­cia.

Cran­nell said the de­railed lo­co­mo­tive had been moved back onto the tracks, about half a mile west of the rail­road’s Mount Tremper sta­tion in the town of Shan­daken, but the flatbed car re­mained off the tracks. Hunt said later Tues­day that the flatbed car was on the rails.

The tracks, part of the for­mer Ul­ster & Delaware line, are owned by Ul­ster County and leased by the rail­road.

Hunt said there were about 20 peo­ple on the train at the time, and all of them got off with­out in­ci­dent. Shan­daken Po­lice Chief Chad Storey said town po­lice and fire depart­ment per­son­nel helped about six peo­ple off the train.

The cause of the de­rail­ment was un­clear Tues­day. On Mon­day, the rail­road posted on­line that “un­ex­pected me­chan­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties forced us to can­cel all train rides in Mt. Tremper for the week­end, and we had to turn many peo­ple away who trav­eled a great dis­tance to visit us.”

Peo­ple seek­ing re­funds for can­celed rides should call (845) 688-7400 or email cm­r­, the post­ing stated.

The Catskill Moun­tain Rail­road has been pro­vid­ing scenic train rides in the Mount Tremper-Phoeni­cia area for more than 30 years, and the rides this past week­end were to be its last in that area. Start­ing next year, the rail­road will op­er­ate only on the Kingston-Ul­ster sec­tion of tracks, while a com­pany called Rail Ex­plor­ers Corp. will of­fer “rail bike” rides on the Mount Tremper-Phoeni­cia sec­tion.

Cran­nell said the Catskill Moun­tain Rail­road failed to in­form Ul­ster County of Fri­day’s in­ci­dent within 24 hours, as re­quired in the lease agree­ment. Hunt said the rail­road no­ti­fied the county on Mon­day, one busi­ness day af­ter the in­ci­dent.

Cran­nell said the de­rail­ment is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the county and by the New York State Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

“A train de­rail­ment is a se­ri­ous con­cern,” he said. “What’s most im­por­tant to us is the health and safety of the rid­ers.”

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