On Sunday September 14, I took my dad for a ride on the S&NC from Saratoga Springs to North Creek. I purchased the tickets the night before and picked them up that morning. It took us about 2 Hr 45 Minutes to get there from Vermont. The consist for the northbound run was BL-2 #52, a baggage car (still labelled for Florida Rail Adventures), the dome car (where we were seated), and a single-level coach.
The ride was great! We were seated on the non-river (left) side as you head north, and had 2 other passengers seated with us (across the table). As we were pulling out, a northbound D&H train (powered by a pair of CSX engines and a solid consist of empty gondola cars) was paralleling our train. We paused for a few minutes before leaving the main and heading up S&NC’s trackage. My phone’s GPS recorded 30 mph as our speed for most of the way, slowing down for scenic highlights such as the high bridge in Luzerne and some points where we were right along the Hudson. I don’t think we picked up any passengers at any of the intermediate stations. What I was amazed at was the smoothness of the ride from the upper level of the dome. It felt like we were on welded rail for the entire trip, as you couldn’t feel any “clickety clack” or swaying. Must be the upper dome level that suppressed all that sound/movement.
Upon arrival at North Creek, a shuttle bus was there to take us wherever we wanted to go in town. We opted for the ride up to Gore Mtn for the gondola ride, which was very nice. The bus met us again and took us back to town. The bus driver was very knowledgeable and friendly. After eating at Izzy’s Deli (which has its sandwiches named with a railroad-theme – my dad had the “Crazy Train Guy”), we set off back to the depot (a 5 minute walk). Exploring the depot area, I saw the two Lackawanna-painted E-8s, a couple of ex-LIRR double-deckers, the ex-D&H RS-11, the Alco #5, another dome, and a couple single-levels parked on the storage track south of the depot. Our BL-2 had also been taken off the train and the big GE was hooked up to our train as our SB power. We departed a few minutes late and headed south back to Saratoga Springs, now seated on the river side of the train.
The train was pretty crowded, especially the Dome, though my dad and I had our booth to ourselves for the return trip. Dome passengers get assigned seating, and on the SB trip, you ride on the other side of the train, so you get the views on both sides over the course of the trip.
Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Only downside I heard was from those who ordered breakfast on the way up. Your order is taken shortly after leaving Saratoga, and some passengers didn’t get their meals until after the last station stop before North Creek. I didn’t sample the food, only had a Pepsi on the return trip. Fall colors are definitely lacking – I thought there’d be at least some color, but nothing yet. Also the depot museum at North Creek was not open. The station agent said its run by volunteers. A very nice gift shop was open in the station, however and I bought a photo coffee mug.
All in all, a great trip. We were able to get Dome tickets the night before our trip, but there was a limited quantity left. I’m sure once the fall foliage gets underway, it’ll sell out quicker.
I never did see any sign of the North End Local. Maybe it didn’t run this day. Not sure the power or consist that they use for it. I thought it was odd that our power was switched at North Creek. Is this standard practice? DIdn’t get a chance to ask any of the staff about the resumption of freight service, or the status of the other power at North Creek (including the E-8s).
A great trip. My dad and I both had a blast!!! The S&NC is a very nice operation.
Photos from the trip can be seen here:
https://picasaweb.google.com/1081181897 ... eekRailway
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