Railroad funding since 2001 could exceed $17 million

CHENANGO COUNTY – The New York State Department of Transportation said Tuesday that the New York Susquehanna & Western railroad’s operations statewide have received $12 million in funding since 2001.

NYS&W confirmed Monday that the company is now asking for $5.6 million to repair and upgrade its lines, including a roughly 40-mile stretch between Sherburne and Chenango Forks that has been closed since June due to flood damage.

“We’ve asked for it,” said railroad spokesman Nathan Fenno. “We don’t know if we’ll get it.”

Fenno said the NYS&W would not be using the money to develop passenger service, as was reported Monday based on a letter from Empire State Development chairman Patrick Foye. Instead, the money would be used for general upgrades and flood repairs, Fenno said.

There are currently no rail customers on the closed lines, and unless business can be recruited or the funding is granted, the tracks could be abandoned in the next few months, the railroad has said. Commerce Chenango President Maureen Carpenter said talks with the Cooperstown-based NYS&W and other state agencies to re-open the lines will continue.

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