Adirondack Scenic Railroad Has Record Breaking Sales


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Adirondack Scenic Railroad Pumpkin TrainIn 2015, the Adirondack Scenic Railroad carried over 74,000 passengers, an all-time high for the 24-year old organization. If Spring 2016 sales are any indication, the Railroad projects that 2016 will break the previous year’s record.

The spring season kicked off March 26th with the Easter Bunny Express, a train ride geared for children and families, which travels from Holland Patent to Remsen. The event sold out over a month in advance the company said, even with additional added capacity. A total of four trips carried over 1,500 passengers.

Every year, tickets for The Polar Express go on sale April 1st. This is the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s largest fundraiser and has grown to carry over 18,000 passengers annually. Polar Express sales in April of 2015 increased 91.8% over the same period in 2014, and April sales for Polar in 2016 have surpassed 2015 by 146% according to the company.

Pre-sale tickets for the monthly Beer & Wine Trains are available here. Entertainment throughout the season will be provided by a list of local bands and musicians featuring the The Mechanix Trio, The HazBinz, Rabbit and the Rye, and many more. The beer and wine selections will highlight local wineries and microbreweries.

The regular excursion schedules kick off in June with departures from Utica, Thendara, Saranac Lake, and Lake Placid.

The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is operated on the nonprofit Adirondack Railway Preservation Society (ARPS) which aims to preserve and restore rail service between the High Peaks region, Central New York and beyond via rail connections in Utica.

In 2015, New York State proposed removing the rail infrastructure between Saranac Lake and Lake Placid in fall of 2016. The organization is currently fighting to continue rail service departing from those stations beyond this year.

Photo of Adirondack Scenic Railroad Pumpkin Train provided.

5 thoughts on “Adirondack Scenic Railroad Has Record Breaking Sales

  1. Big Burly

    The passenger totals last year equal or exceed the numbers carried by the NYC in its heyday — on the trackage south of the border with Canada. With such interest, passenger services from Utica to Lake Placid have a probability of commercial success. Certainly trains will be a more environmentally friendly way of increasing the numbers of visitors to enjoy our recreation assets compared to more cars. Trains carry canoes, bikes, and people. Saving and upgrading the rails is an investment in an economic engine that supports a wide variety of other economic opportunities.

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  2. Keith Gorgas

    Not only is the Adirondack Railroad living history and a present economic engine, but it holds almost unlimited potential for future green travel. Trails with Rails is a win/win for all New Yorkers and for the northern Adirondacks

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  3. Tony GoodwinTony Goodwin

    The “over 74,000 passengers” for 2015 is actually not a record. The UMP states that between May and October in 1993 the Adirondack Centennial Railroad carried 76,841 passengers on a five-mile out and back ride from Thendara. O.K., so it’s now the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and maybe that higher figure does’t count. Note well, however, that the railroad now operates out of Utica, Thendara, and Lake Placid on a March to December season and still didn’t carry as many passengers as it did in 1993.

    Furthermore, current practice allows the railroad to count roundtrip passengers twice on many of the runs where the passengers get off before the return trip. Thus the 22,000 riders reported this year for the Lake Placid-Saranac Lake run was really only 11,000. And even that figure is questionable given the shorter season due to track work. Running ten trains per week for 12 weeks, each train had to average nearly 100 passengers. There may have been a few trains in the fall that were truly sold out, but earlier there were many trains that were observed to have only 15 or 20 passengers – an observation backed up by volunteers at the Lake Placid Historical Society Museum.

    For the purpose of determining whether to extend rail service beyond Big Moose, ASR needs to provide figures on how many of their riders were on theme trains out of Utica that never even reached the Adirondack Rail Corridor compared to how many actually rode to Big Moose. The 60-mile one-way ride to Big Moose is already one of the longest tourist railroad rides in North America, and it certainly seems unlikely that there is sufficient demand to make an even longer ride sustainable.

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