Ed Ellis, President of Iowa Pacific Holdings, Inc. (second from right), cuts the ceremonial red ribbon Wednesday, Aug. 8 marking the opening of the first freight train service from North Creek to North River since 1989. He is joined by Sterling Goodspeed, attorney and former Johnsburg Town Supervisor (far left); Charles Bracken, Jr., Chairman, The Barton Group (far right); David Simpson, Principal, David P. Simpson Consultants, LLC; and Steve Gregory, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales, Permian Basin Railways. Also present in the background: Steve Torrico, General Manager, Saratoga & North Creek Railway.
Officials from the Saratoga & North Creek Railway (SNCRR) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the North Creek train station to celebrate the opening of the Tahawus freight line to North River.
After the ribbon-cutting, VIPs took a ceremonial inspection train on the first 6 miles of the 30-mile line that have been refurbished. They stopped behind the Barton Mine plant before returning to North Creek. It was the first time a train had run on the tracks since the Tahawus mine closed in 1989.
Dignitaries involved in the ceremony were: Ed Ellis, president, Iowa Pacific Holdings, Inc.; Steve Torrico, general manager, Saratoga & North Creek Railway; Steve Gregory, executive vice president marketing, SNC Railway; Mike McConville, executive vice president operations, SNC Railway; officials from the town of Johnsburg; officials from the Federal Railroad Administration; and officials from Canadian Pacific Railway.
The SNCRR offers daily passenger service from Saratoga Springs to North Creek, but officials are counting on the freight coming out of the Barton garnet mine and the old Tahawus mine in the town of Newcomb to be profitable.
The Tahawus Line is officially called the Sanford Lake Branch of the Saratoga & North Creek Railway. Freight will primarily include rock from current and decades-past mining operations that can be used in road building and other projects. The freight cars will also be available to carry lumber, minerals, and other materials. It is also expected to create up to new 20 jobs.
Work will continue on the line until it is refurbished to Tahawus.