Concerns growing over railroad's future

NORWICH – The New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad’s tracks in Chenango County are too crucial an asset to let go, local officials agreed Tuesday, despite the company’s questionable use of funding and a controversial deal with a power line company.

Considering high fuel costs nationally and a lacking highway locally, a group of 17 local, state and federal officials at a special meeting regarding the railroad believe rail lines will play an important role in the county’s economic future.

In November, the Cooperstown-based NYS&W announced it would seek to formally abandon its historically under-used and currently closed stretch of rails from Greene to Sherburne. Prior to pulling-up the tracks and selling them for scrap, however, company officials are willing to explore other options, Commerce Chenango President Maureen Carpenter said. At the forefront, the NYS&W is asking for $450,000 from the county or the state to fix and re-open the lines, which were heavily damaged in last June’s flooding.

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