History rides the rails in Croghan

History rides the rails in Croghan
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 6:25 AM EDT
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CROGHAN, New York (WWNY) - Floyd Graves Jr. enjoys zipping down the Croghan railroad in a 1945 speedster he restored.

“It’s more fun than anything,” he said. “It’s my play toy. I like to take people for rides.”

The old rails, installed at the turn of the last century, still glide like they always have.

“This railroad was developed for industry, which would have been logging and dairy, back at the turn of the century,” said Don Mooney, who’s a former president of the Railway Historical Society. “There was approximately 11 miles of railroad track from Croghan to the terminal in Lowville.”

The historical society has several locomotives that do still run, including an old snowplow, a shay from 1918, a trolley, a maintenance car, and a combine car.

“It originally came from the Rutland Railroad,” Mooney said. “It was built in 1898.”

But the Railroad Historical Society and the county have different ideas as to which directions the railway should go.

“My goal and the goal of the historical society is to develop this railroad as a tourist attraction for this area,” Mooney said. “We have every piece of equipment we need to run a great tourist railroad, and we have a gentleman who wants to do railbikes, which is great.

The county, on the other hand, wants to utilize the railway as a multi-use trail system for ATVs and snowmobiles.

For train enthusiasts, it seems a waste of history.

“We need to keep this alive for future generations,” said Laurie Halliday, who’s the Croghan historian and curator at the Croghan Depot Museum. “That’s what it’s all about, to teach not just from a book but from live history.”

To help preservation efforts at the Croghan railway, there is a fundraiser this weekend. You can get lunch, tour the museum, and, yes, ride the rails.