Dressing up Thurman Station for the holidays in early winter 2011, volunteers hang up Christmas lights. The open-sided rail stations at Thurman and Hadley are to be enclosed within several months — and feature rest rooms and ticket booths, county officials said this week.
After a dozen years of stymied plans, dashed hopes and unfulfilled expectations, the town of Thurman is likely to have an enclosed train station like it had up through the first several decades of the 20th century.
Plans were launched in the early 2000s for the towns of Hadley and Thurman to have full train stations — but by 2008, only platforms and parking lots were built for a total cost of $1.3 million, with a local share of more than $500, a sum that distressed taxpayers of Warren County. The county-owned railroad extends from North Creek well into Saratoga County. Iowa Pacific Corp., under contract with the county, now operates the Saratoga-North Creek Railway over the rails.
In 2008, county public works officials assured angry citizens that the two platforms featured drilled wells, septic tanks and leach fields, utility installations, and many other improvements that could be put to use if full stations were ever built on the sites.
That plan — which once was scoffed at — is now a reality, according to information supplied this week by county planner Wayne LaMothe. He said a state grant of $62,500 will bankroll materials to build the two platforms into enclosed stations, complete with rest rooms, ticket booths and basic space heating so rail passengers can avoid sub-zero temperatures in winter. The rest rooms will even have hot running water flowing from the sink faucets, supplied by on-demand water heaters, LaMothe said.
County Public Works employees will be providing labor to match the state grant, he added. Each station’s exterior is to be Adirondack-style with basic board and batten construction, several windows and a doorway, LaMothe said, predicting the work could be complete in several months.
“These stations won’t be like the Taj Mahal, but they’ll be effective in keeping passengers out of the snow and cold,” he said, noting that the enhanced Thurman Station will offer new convenience for downstate skiers traveling to Hickory Ski Center in Warrensburg.
Thurman Supervisor Evelyn Wood said the enclosed station would be useful, boosting the prospects of events now held at the site by the Thurman Station Association, a local community group.
“The station will look nice as an attractive new entrance to town, and it will be put to good use for a variety of activities,” she said, noting that bids have been advertised for materials.
Perky Granger, an active member of the station association, said her group had been waiting a long time for the upgrades.
“We anticipate this will help provide for more community events in Thurman, increasing tourism and commerce here,” she said.