Apparently, the St. Mary's Historic closed down because of a lease dispute about their locomotive. The regular St. Mary's should still be running.
From the Feb. 10 Florida Times Union:
St. Marys Historic Railway closes
Attorney blames dispute over lease; tourism department still offering St. Marys tram rides.
By GORDON JACKSON
ST. MARYS -- The billboards on Interstate 95 are still luring tourists to take a ride on the St. Marys Historic Railway.
But when they arrive to the ticket office in Kingsland, people are learning their plans to ride the tourist attraction have been derailed.
The railway hauled its last tourists on the 10-mile ride from Kingsland to St. Marys on Jan. 24, when it closed its doors without any notification.
"There were school groups and senior groups who showed up for a ride and no one ever called to let them know they were out of business," said Janet Brinko, tourism director in St. Marys. "It's really sad the railway didn't work because there are a lot of railroad buffs who wanted to take the train ride."
St. Marys attorney Randall Sorenson said the railway shut down because of a dispute over the lease for the vintage 1956 F-3 locomotive used to haul passenger cars filled with tourists.
Sorenson, who represents Colorado-based New Century Rail Transport LLC, owners of the locomotive, said a lease payment was never made during the year the railway had the locomotive.
Sorenson said railway president Pete Strickland agreed to restore the locomotive and deduct the improvements from the $2,000-a-month lease, but had never made a payment.
"I think Mr. Strickland's position is he spent far in excess and is owed money," Sorenson said. "Their position is the lease is expired, they are owed money."
Sorenson said he is trying to convince a Superior Court judge to issue a court order to force Strickland to return the locomotive.
The doors to the St. Marys Railroad were locked and no one answered the telephone for comment Wednesday.
The Historic St. Marys Railway has nothing to do with the takeover of the St. Marys Railroad in bankruptcy court, said Ward Stone, an attorney involved with the liquidation of assets owned by Durango-Georgia Paper Co. The paper mill, which closed more than two years ago, owned the railroad and the tracks running from Kingsland to St. Marys until it declared bankruptcy, Stone said.
Tonya Rosado, director of the Kingsland Convention and Visitors Bureau, said she learned the railway was closed from tourists who showed up for a train ride.
"It's disappointing because we were just infiltrating the market with information about the train," she said. "We've had to pull the information from brochures."
Brinko said the downtown trolley tours offered with the train ride were popular among tourists.
When the railway was operating, passengers learned the history of St. Marys from the 1500s during the hourlong ride from Kingsland. The trolley tour in downtown St. Marys included stops at museums, a cemetery with graves dating to the 1700s, ghost stories, pirate invasions and historic homes and churches.
"People were calling and it had really caught on," Brinko said. "It has been very devastating for St. Marys tourism."
The tourism department is trying to accommodate groups that had already made reservations by offering tours of the city's historic district on an electric tram capable of carrying 15 passengers. The tram tours have been so popular, Brinko said the tourism department is offering them to groups of six or more if she has at least 48 hours' notice to bring in extra staff.
The tours are also available to individuals and smaller groups on days there's room on the tram, she said.
"We can't offer the train ride," Brinko said. "But we can give an in-depth tour of St. Marys."