Commerce Chenango evaluates future of railroad service

NORWICH – Over the next few weeks, Commerce Chenango will be evaluating the feasibility of re-establishing business on the New York Susquehanna & Western Railroad in Chenango County and also the possibility of turning the broken tracks into a scenic railroad, representatives from the organization say.

Local officials and agents from Empire State Development and the New York state Department of Transportation met Friday at the Eaton Center to discuss what options are available if the NYS&W abandons its tracks from Sherburne south to Chenango Forks. The stretch has lacked business for years and was heavily damaged in June 2006 flooding.

“We’re planning for the worst, and hoping for the best,” said Commerce Chenango President and CEO Maureen Carpenter. “The meeting was positive. There are no decisions being made immediately. We’re still gathering a lot of information ... we’re not leaving anything to chance.”

Options include securing funds to re-open the line, taking over ownership locally to create a scenic railroad, or transforming the tracks into a public trail system, Carpenter said.

NYS&W spokespersons have said the company does not have the $400,000 needed to repair the broken stretch, which had no customers prior to getting shut down.

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