In preparation for the Saratoga-North Creek ‘Snow Train’ service which began Friday Dec. 30, Abby VanDorn of Saratoga Springs takes down decorations in a Saratoga-North Creek Railway train car. The festive decorations were used in the railway’s Polar Express excursion runs, which hosted 35,704 passengers in less than two month’s time — far surpassing the railway officials’ expectations.
For the first time since the mid-20th century, winter passenger excursion service to North Creek is back in operation.
With the wheels of the historic locomotive grinding against the steel rails, Saratoga-North Creek Railway’s “Snow Train” pulled out of the Saratoga Springs rail station at 7 a.m. and headed for North Creek. (Explore North Creek.)
Because the maiden run was complete with snow falling from the skies, it represented a good omen for the service, Railway publicist Luisa Sherman-Craige said.
“It was like Mother Nature wanted the Snow Train to look good,” she said. “This first run was just fabulous.”
The Snow Train service will be in operation Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March, railway officials said this week. The full-service transportation includes free shuttles to and from Gore Mountain Ski Center and downtown North Creek.
The railway and Gore Mountain have partnered to offer an excursion from Saratoga to North Creek that offers a ski lift ticket, a full-service round trip via rail and vouchers for two drinks — all for $10 less than a lift ticket alone, Railway representative Debra Goodman said.
Train riders can relax with friends, enjoy the frosty, pristine scenery and socialize without worrying about slippery roads, the discomfort of getting into a sub-zero vehicle, or exhorbitant gasoline prices, Goodman said.
“Now, there’s no excuse not to ride the train — we offer not just transportation to Gore Mountain, but a whole experience in itself,” she said. “People can kick their shoes off, savor a fabulous breakfast cooked to order on the train, while viewing the unspoiled scenery, then enjoy a glass of wine or two on the way home.”
The Snow Train departs Saratoga Springs (26 Station Lane) each morning at 7 a.m. and arrives in North Creek at 9:15 a.m. The return run departs North Creek at 4:30 p.m. and arrives in Saratoga Springs at 6:45 p.m.
The service includes complete ski and snowboard equipment handling and storage to and from the base of Gore Mountain; tableside breakfast and dinner menu with wine offerings and bar service.
Goodman, a resident of Colorado, will be moving to North Creek soon to help launch a new artisans' marketplace in the former Boardertown in the center of North Creek.
Also, in conjunction with local community groups, she’ll be coordinating a series of special events to be offered at the Tannery Pond Community Center.
Steve Torrico, Railway general manager said the historic resumption of passenger rail service to North Creek allows a new generation of winter sports fans to experience the luxury and comfort of train travel that was celebrated in decades past.
The all-inclusive price for the excursion, drinks and lift ticket is $70 for coach and $87 for the distinctive dome cars which offer a panoramic view of the scenery.
For younger skiers, the Snow Train is offering five round-trip rides on the snow train in coach seating for $99 – a 66 percent discount. With this deal, lift tickets are separate.
For details on the Snow Train service, see: www.goremountainsnowtrain.com.
Craige-Sherman said that reports from Gore Mountain indicate the skiers who opted for the ski package on the very first run were quite pleased with the seamless transportation service and handling of their skis.