Copake ironworks railroad coming to Taconic State Park
Natasha Vaughn-Holdridge is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Friends of Taconic State Park has received permission from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to build a small railroad track at the Copake Iron Works National Heritage Area Site in Taconic State Park. The old, abandoned ironworks facility, established in 1845, is located within the park, said Jim Mackin, president of the Friends group. In 2007, that site and 18 acres surrounding it were added to the State and National Register of Historic Sites. Friends of Taconic State Park repurposed the blast furnace and took remnants of the old facility to create a museum and a visitor center, Mackin said. “We finally realized, ‘gee wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could recreate some of the railroad story that was there,’” Mackin said. The train will hold 15 passengers and take them through the historic site on a 900-foot-long loop track. “...[W}e’re building the cars that will hold the tourists, which will look like ore cars that carried the iron ore,” Mackin said. “They’re kind of trapezoidal in style. So, people will sit in those as they ride and we talk about the history there.” The group has so far raised $174,000 through private donors and is looking to raise a total of $366,400 for the project. Mackin said, “...[I]f everything goes well, we’ll have railroad ties and the actual rail itself ordered and delivered. And then as soon as we can in the spring, we’ll start putting the ties down and the rails on top of it.” After the track is complete they will put the locomotive, which is currently being stored in a nearby barn, on the track. The project is expected to be finished next summer and the train will operate from 2 to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays from mid-May to mid-November. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.