“Stepping onto a brand-new path is difficult, but not more difficult than remaining in a situation, which is not nurturing to the whole woman.”
Twenty fourteen: One winter had lapsed since my family’s epic move from Bucks County, PA to the Catskill Mountains of New York State.
My organic tea business was slow, made slower by the ever-demanding requirements of New York State. I had to build/rent a commercial kitchen or shut down my online store, which distributed tea worldwide. This was not a realistic requirement, so I downsized, selling my wares to local markets and restaurants.
I started supplementing tea sales with photo sessions for friends that told me “I had a good eye.” I moonlighted as a reporter. I started this blog, with big plans for it to be an image-heavy online magazine. I never made a penny from this blog. The only way it was ever “monetized” was when someone found me online and hired me to take their photo. In 2017, I closed down Traveler’s Tea for good. Full steam ahead with my lens and pen.
Before I knew it, my dreams of being a paid writer and photographer and even a published poet come true.
I do have one more (career) dream left. I want to be a filmmaker, to tell stories that no-one has yet to hear. To document life, raw and real, here in the mountains. Field of Dreams: “Build it and they will come.” So I am building Catskill Media, a professional photography and video production company. Please check out my latest website, CatskillMedia.com, to see my offerings and check out the latest releases.
April 1st is not a day for fools, or fishing. For me, it is the day that kicks off one of my favorite times of the year: an entire month dedicated to poetry. Often, I find myself writing new or editing older works, reading these works at an open mic or literary festival, and participating in local events that highlight poetry. (Somewhere on a sidewalk in Roxbury, NY is a poem of mine from a couple years ago that can only be read when it rains.)
This year is different. Although I have always shared my words digitally (what good is writing if the written never gets read) I had backed off from sharing these on social media. Most that know me are aware of my love/hate relationship with social media. Over the years, I have been worried a poet bandit would “steal” my latest and greatest musing, or that I would eventually want to legitimately publish something that was already shared (published) on social media.
Well, if you like any of my poems that much, go ahead, steal it. Good luck getting it published. Or making any money from it. I no longer live in fear that my words will be burglarized. My fear now is that they will not be seen or heard at all.
In this time of social distancing, it is important that we find our digital tribe and stay connected. Stay tuned, as I will be working on finding a way to bring together poets, songwriters, artists and lovers of the nonessentials.
In the mean time, go to Poets.org and discover ways to take part in National Poetry Month online. Here is a poem written from one of my last treks through NYC, last year. Below is self-portrait, reminding me that sun and summer and smiles and hope are on the horizon.
Image available at Poets.org: The official April 2020 National Poetry Month poster features the artwork of Samantha Aikman, winner of this year’s National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students. Aikman’s design was selected by judges Alison Bechdel, renowned cartoonist, and former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. It features the following line from the poem “Remember” by current U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo: “Remember all is in motion, is growing, is you.”
“Orange! Blue! Lime Green! And there is illumination!”
On a chilled November day, with the dreariness of winter looming and the promise of seasonal depression’s return, I decided to don my favorite boots and camera and actually leave my house.
The reward was quite magical. I made it just in time to witness the “initial illumination” of the Roxbury at Stratton Falls. I watched as Dracula’s Fangs and the Terrazza of the Titans and The Faerie Forest simultaneously came alive, not to a traditional countdown, but to a countdown of colors, those of the property logo.
Beforehand, the Mayors of Magic (owners Greg Henderson & Joe Massa) stood on a balcony and thanked the gathered townspeople, contractors and friends for supporting their dream of two and a half years: The Roxbury at Stratton Falls – a sequel to the world-renowned motel, The Roxbury. Finally coming to fruition, the couple highlighted their gratitude for the “magical fairies in a fairy forest,” their employees.
“The most important group we are to thank, because, without them, we are nothing. That is our staff,” said Greg. (I decided right then and there, if I ever needed a job, I will be sure to knock on one of their lime green doors.)
Next was a prosecco toast. If that doesn’t cheer one, what will? Oh – perhaps the whimsical music floating through the air, emanating from invisible speakers. Or, the happy hugs from friends you almost forgot you had. That happens in these hills – we hunker down and forget there exists friends that are actually happy to see our face on something other then a mobile screen.
Overall all, the general effect was one of transportation to a scaled-down version of a Magic Kingdom experience. Here, in Delaware County, in the Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York.
For me, the Mountain Girl, the way cool part of the invitation was being welcomed to explore the grounds. Stratton Falls has always been off limits, a road-side capture, through obtrusive, low hanging branches. Access to the bottom of the cascade has always been on private property. And still is. When I heard the Roxbury’s expansion included the falls, I wondered, as I always do, how one can own water, and the explorer in me was quite miffed. I don’t like being told where I can’t go. On the other hand, as a property owner myself, I understand there is a certain stewardship expected, with safety and liability playing key roles.
So Saturday afternoon, I descended the perfectly placed steps, steadying myself on the rustic log railings, winding past the rock faces dripping with icicles, along a path that could very well have been there forever. I heard the sound of water rushing over a cliff, and chuckled as I passed the strategic seating areas, an invite to romance or rest. I didn’t feel the cold, or care about the burn my legs would feel on the return trek. Like a bride reaching a groom at the end of a long aisle, I reached the falls, breathless and excited.
I almost missed this! I clicked away, finding an angle that kept me (mostly) dry. For a waterfall chaser, this is the penultimate moment, capturing a coveted falls at water level.
Sure, my photo shoot was rushed. This is the reoccurring punishment that a procrastinator self inflicts. I had to scurry back to the top, because I knew the illumination was due to happen. I followed the amplified voices of the Mayors of Magic, reaching the edge of the crowd just in time.
Yes, I made it.
And so did they. These hoteliers, creators, imagineers, they made it too. They made it happen. So many dreams are conceived in these mountains, not many make it to full term. On good weather days, anything seems possible. So we make plans and then Winter comes and good intentions grow as cold as the plunging temperatures. As a food and lodging writer, I have seen a high percentage of the Catskills businesses I report on end within their first three years. Sad but true. But this place, this place has staying power.
I guess what I am trying to say here is this. Despite the minuscule jealousy I may hold that I will most likely never have millions of dollars backing my dreams, and despite the speculation that such a fanciful design could fit into our landscape, I am grateful this place exists here, just a seven minute drive away. It is proof that dreams do come true, and hard work pays off. I am grateful I got to walk to the bottom of the waterfall. I wish I had seen the inside of the fanciful cottages and the restored mansion for myself, but that’s what social media is for.
Lastly, thank you to Greg and Joe, Mayors of Magic, Stewards of Stratton, for the marvelously fantastical and purely magical execution of your vision, and for inviting the community to join the experience.
Woven into the novel that takes place in the mid- 20th Century is the story of the main character Dominick’s grandfather. Dominick dives into the memoirs of his Italian ancestor to help wade through the pieces of his life spent being the sane brother to his schizophrenic twin.
Having not actually read the novel, which I plan on rectifying very soon, as a twin myself, I am more than intrigued. One can only speculate the need for a turn of the century steam engine. That is how our little Delaware County, NY tourist-train-that could found itself the set of a movie.
The Viscose Company, Baldwin 0-4-0T #6, traveling steam locomotive, is the real star, in my opinion. There is just something incomparable to witnessing a slice of times gone by rolling along with the Catskill Mountains for a backdrop.
Viscose #6 Steam Engine 2018 fall run on the DURR
Back to the movie set at Delaware & Ulster Railroad I was able to snap a few photos. Jason of set dressing informed me this was the last of the three shoots to take place at the Arkville Station. Local heresay had it that a rain scene was to be staged at night, as the weather was not cooperating to match a previously filmed scene. Despite noticing the water truck at a crossroads, I was unable to confirm this. (Turns out, water was there in support of the steam engine).
I spent a few moments chatting with Connie McAffee, Station Master. She was tired but smiling from all the goings-on; glad for the financial boost the filming gave the non-profit, volunteer driven railroad.
Adrianne Davis, Props PA, paused for a moment from her job of polishing a satchel. It’s all in the details. Assuming she was from out of town, I asked her what she thought of our little Delaware County village.
“I’m from Shokan.”
Cool. Locals being employed by the big guys. This I like to see.
Enough chatter, here are the paparazzi inspired photos I grabbed from the filming of ‘I Know This Much Is True’. Enjoy.
This did not take place in “the city” at some trendy new hot spot. I wasn’t rubbing shoulders with movie stars and models at some Upstate upscale boutique eatery.
I was day-drinking. And eating food-truck tacos. On a dairy farm turned taproom. With friends (and a few influential locals) at the Faith American Brewing Company’s post-Labor Day Celebration and soft opening.
Only in the Catskills!
A dream spanning several decades for father, businessman, and yes, TV star, came to fruition this afternoon as Mr. Grammer opened the doors and taps of his on-site seasonal tavern just outside the town of Margaretville, in Middletown, Delaware County, NY.
“Having visited the Catskills as a boy and spent some of my most precious days here, I always suspected I would have a future with these mountains,” writes Mr. Grammer.
Friends and neighbors mingled, made welcome by the warm smiles and handshakes of their host. I made the same observance I made at last month’s square dance. All kinds of kinds were there, politics didn’t matter. It was a bonus summer day in the Catskills, and beer was flowing instead of the promised all-day rain. Kelsey Grammar is a man of faith, and it paid off.
He most sincerely hopes that Faith American Brewing Company will “restore this magnificent corner of the world to a thriving and vital place in America’s economy.”
This concept is almost as refreshing as the beer being served up in the pint glasses freshly stamped, “Faith American Ale Born In The Catskills”.
Faith American Brewing Company Margaretville NY
Faith American Brewing Company Opens in Margaretville NY
Kelsey Grammer’s Faith American Ale
Ty’s Taco-Ria serving at Faith American Brewing Company Margaretville NY
Kelsey Grammer behind the bar at Faith American Brewing Company Margaretville NY
For many more details on Faith American Brewing Company, LLC, please visit FaithAmerican.com
Update 9.6.19 Brief clarification: brewery is not currently located on the same site as the tavern. Also, many thanks to Don Cazentre of nyup.com for featuring my photos and giving this Mountain Girl a soundbite! Read his article here at Syracuse.com
Rebecca Andre wears many hats as a photographer, food & lodging writer, reporter, web designer and poet living and working in a lovely Delaware County hamlet with her husband and daughter. She promotes local businesses and musicians, and can be reached at MoonflowerRA@gmail.com
After attending a community square dance this past Saturday night, I came away with this epiphany: If everyone learned to square dance, the world would be a better place.
How lucky am I, that I live in the Catskills, where square dancing is making a comeback. Where the fiddler and caller bring together folks from both sides of the fence:young or old, local or Brooklynite, farmer or freelancer, Democratic or Republican. It doesn’t matter.
For a couple of hours, strangers link arms and all judgement gets stomped away.
For those of us on the sidelines, not quite ready to dive in to a square, it’s easy to witness the growing joy as dancers, both experienced and newcomers, twirl and laugh as they attempt to follow the calls. Sounds coming from the fiddles, banjo, bass and guitar take over, and for a few moments all of us in attendance forget our problems. We forget our differences. All that matters is the music and the dance.
Most would agree that any kind of dancing to live music can induce this sort of swirling, breathless joy – if we let it. What sets square dancing apart is that the dancers must leave the comfort zone of dancing with a friend or a partner, and eventually reach out to someone they don’t know.
Virginia Reel at Dirty Girl Farm
And more Square Dancers
Earl Pardini (of the Slide Mountain String Band) also called dances while fiddle playing
Mingling at the barn
Especially at a square dance like Saturday’s. Thanks to the event -spreading wonder that is social media, both the local community and city folk heard about a chicken BBQ and square dance taking place at Dirty Girl Farm, the smallest licensed goat milk dairy in Delaware County, NY. Owners Lester Bourke and his wife Cindi Wright are the quintessential salt of the earth. I really could write an entire article on what they have going on over in Andes, and probably will, one day.
Lester Bourke and Cyndi Wright of Dirty Girl Farm
For now, I will say they welcomed everyone onto their property, into their barn. Chicken and salads were served, and dessert by Two Old Tarts sold out. This chicken BBQ evenhad a vegetarian option! Also, a portion of the proceeds went to the Andes Food Pantry. The Facebook invite went something like this.
“Inviting neighbors and visitors to an old time evening of square dancing story sharing, eating and good fun. Featuring the Tremperskill Boys with callers and fiddlers John Jacobson and Dane Scudder sponsored by Catskills Folk Connection.”
Coming across the invite rather late in the week, after I had already planned on setting up shop at the railroad crossing in Halcottsville, to witness a group of well-dressed New Yorkers from And North pass through my cute little hamlet on a party train, I almost didn’t go. Then, a storm whipped up. The weather wasn’t looking good for an outdoor photo op.
Ironically, I have not been to a square dance since I was in 5th grade gym class, but I have promoted several square dances for a client of mine, Ben Rounds. He is an experienced caller and teacher, and often returns to his hometown in Chenango County to host square dances.
So…ever answering the call of country music and a cook out, my family decided last minute to go to Dirty Girl Farm for the square dance. Though I couldn’t find my cowgirl boots, at least I found my hat. My daughter had her boots, and so did my husband. Off we went.
Beautiful night for a square dance at Dirty Girl Farm
Lester Bourke and his sons, LJ & Charlie
Virginia Reel at Dirty Girl Farm
Dirty Girl Goat Farm
Three Generations of Lesters, standing under the Bourke’s Farm sign, salvaged during the barn reno.
Roadside square dance invite
Dirty Girl Goat Farm
And I am so glad we did. I saw people I had not seen in such a long time. Even though sometimes we don’t have everything in common, we have enough. Hugs, handshakes and stories filled the night. The goats and the kids, the fiddles and the dancers all provided a backdrop to a carefree evening in the country.
At one point a friend of mine, Karen Caskey Fairbairn, Program Director for the Roxbury Art Group that just so happens to be hosting the amazing Fiddlers! 26 concert and square dance, looked to the dancers and leaned over to me, saying “Everyone seems so happy.”
That’s when it dawned on me, everyone IS happy. In this moment. Happy to be stumbling their way through a group dance on a plywood dance floor on the second story of a sixty year old barn. At a goat farm.
For a few hours, there was unity, despite the odd mix of hipster and farmer, conservative and hippie, carnivore and vegetarian. News of the recent shootings hadn’t yet spread. Even if it had, I believe it would have made the dancing even more necessary, a reminder that life hangs on a thread, and we need to make the best of every day; dance every chance you get.
For detailed info on the upcoming Fiddlers! 26 FREE performance, click here. Save the date, October 13.
Looking to host a square dance, or square dance lessons? Contact Ben Rounds here.
Co-existence with these beautiful omnivores requires respect and conservational balance. Oh, and common sense too. Walking today, I came across bear spore (aka sign of an animal including tracks, scat, hair,etc). This is common on the mountainside where I live on the Western Slope of the Catskills. I was reminded of an article I wrote a few years ago for the now archive-only online news site, Watershed Post. The information is just too in-demand to keep under wraps.
How To Stay Safe in Catskills Bear Country
by Rebecca Andre
Spring in the Catskills is a breathtaking season of roaring waterfalls, eagles taking flight and pastures covered in blooming wildflowers—and, thanks to our resident black bear population, of overturned trash cans, destroyed bird feeders and dented vehicles.
In May, Region 4 of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which covers a portion of the Catskills, received dozens of complaints about bears, according to Joshua Choquette, a DEC wildlife technician. By May 23, the agency had received 54 complaints about bears from its nine counties, Choquette said.
The majority of the complaints the DEC receives each year are calls from homeowners reporting that their trash or bird feeder is being feasted upon by a local black bear, according to Choquette.
But about 20 percent of the calls each year are of a more serious nature, with a bear causing damage to vehicles, property or agriculture, he said.
A bear’s search for food
Warmer temperatures in the spring bring the black bears emerging hungry from their dens. Choquette said. Immediately, they begin searching for food, which is still scarce at this time of year.
“Their whole behavior is driven by food,” said Choquette.
In an April 22 press release, the DEC issued tips for how bears and humans come into conflict.
“Bears can obtain all of the food they need from the forest, but they are intelligent and opportunistic animals that will find and consume whatever food they can find most easily,” the statement read. “Bird feeders, garbage cans,dumpsters, barbecue grills, unsecured out-buildings or vehicles containing food or waste are all potential attractants to bears. Once a bear learns to obtain food from people or certain structures, it is very difficult to change the animal’s behavior. These bears are more vulnerable to motor vehicle collisions in populated areas, more likely to be illegally killed, or may become a threat to public safety.”
The DEC encourages homeowners to call their regional wildlife conservation office if a foraging bear causes any damage to property.
In the Catskills, call the Schenectady office at518-357-2450, the Stamford office at607-652-7369or the New Paltz office at845-256-3000. The location and date of nuisance bear reports are all kept on record, and afford the agency an accurate assessment regarding wildlife activity in a particular area.
Greene and Delaware counties, especially the area in and around the town of Middletown in Delaware County, are known for a higher density of black bears, according to Choquette.
Just ask the Ingraham family. They live on Route 30 between the town of Roxbury and the hamlet of Halcottsville in Delaware County, and in May they had already had four encounters with a “brave bear that’s not tiny,” according to Lillian Ingraham.
The bear has left paw prints on the side of their house and has ripped a shed door off a neighbor’s house, Ingraham said.
The family reported the bear’s visits to the DEC, and was issued non-lethal rubber buckshot bullets by an environmental conservation officer, who instructed the family to shoot at the bear’s backside (not its face) if it returns.
They were told that the rubber buckshot is not intended to cause permanent damage, but to condition the bear to associate pain with a certain location, Ingraham said. Although the family’s trash is secured, the bear continues to return, she said.
Catskill black bear. All photos within article by Rebecca Andre, use with permission only.
Stay safe in bear country
According to statistics gathered by the DEC, there are between 6,000 to 7,000 black bears in New York state. A female adult bear weighs 170 pounds, and a male adult bear can weigh up to 300 pounds.
Humans can safety co-exist with bears in the Catskills if they follow a few simple rules, according to Larry Bifaro, the DEC’s Region 4 wildlife biologist. He said that he handles 80 percent of his bear conflict calls with some “simple advice:”
Do not feed bears. It is a dangerous and illegal activity anywhere in the state of New York, and the DEC requests to be alerted should anyone witness a person feeding a bear.
Remove bird feeders after April 1, even those up high, as fallen birdseed will tempt a bear.
Clean grills, and their grease traps, after use. Store them inside if possible.
Store your garbage securely in a locked building or in lidded cans with ropes and chains. Dispose of trash as frequently as possible. Clean garbage cans with ammonia products, and put cans out the morning of, not the night before, collection. Bears will forage on whatever they find, including life-threatening materials like soap, shaving cream and plastics.
Do not burn garbage, which is illegal and can attract bears.
Do not add meat scraps, bones or melon rinds to your compost.
Do not operate refrigerators or freezers outdoors.
Feed pets indoors and store pet food indoors as well.
Do not leave food, trash or wrappers in a parked vehicle.
Consider using electric fencing around vegetable gardens and bee hives.
Learn more about New York’s black bears on theDEC’s website. For more information about bears in your area or to report a problem with black bears, contact the nearest regional DEC office. Region 4 numbers: Schenectady office,518-357-2450. Stamford office,607-652-7369. Region 3 numbers: New Paltz office,845-256-3000.
Being the food and lodging writer for Kaatskill Life Magazine is one of several gigs, most definately a treasured one. I find myself meeting all sorts of folks and tasting my way up and down the Catskill Scenic Byway of Route 28. The following photos are some outtakes that did not see print. Below are links to the articles to read online, with links to their Facebook or websites directly following. Online subscriptions to Kaatskill Life are also available, just click here: kaatslife.com/shop
Chocolate Semifreddo with smoked caramel, meringue and graham crumble at Scribbner’s Prospect restaurant.
Scribner’s Catskill Lodge(Go to Scribner’s) Please note cover photo for Kaatskill Life article, pg. 20, is by photographer Read McKendree. Guest room photos on page 23 by Douglas Lyle Thompson. Page 27 photo by Sidney Bensimon.
*As a photographer for hire well-versed in the hospitality industry, feel free to email me at MoonflowerRA@gmail.com if you are interested having photos taken of your own restaurant or lodging establishment.
With CMRR’s Great Train Robbery event, DURR’s first Rip Van Winkle charter run of the season and the new Rail Explorers USA opening weekend in Phoenicia, both Ulster and Delaware Counties proudly demonstrate to visitors the rails are the place to be this holiday weekend.
DURR Rip Van Winkle Flyer charter run on Thursday, May 24.
In Delaware County, although the official opening weekend was held up due to weather induced track repair, Delaware and Ulster Railroad (DURR) ran its first revenue train of the season, a private charter. Folks were all smiles on the beautiful 75 degree Thursday as they gently rocked through the mountains on the the Rip Van Winkle Flyer. A round trip from Arkville to Roxbury and back passes through the quaint hamlet of Halcottsville and provides passengers with bucolic views of Wawaka Lake, the Round Barn and several farms along the way.
June 2 is the official kick off for public rides. Get your tickets at DURR.org. Pricing is:
In Ulster County, you can participate in the creatively curated Great Train Robbery on Saturday, May 25. This is my personal fav. The website describes it as follows:
“Board our exciting journey back in time as the Catskill Mountain Railroad celebrates the legend of the Great Train Robbery – the classic 1903 silent movie by the same name – shot on the New York state rails. This interactive adventure will kick off at the Westbrook Station in Kingston, NY and travel up the Hurley Flats. Expect the unexpected as this excursion includes a stop at a local festival with live music and vendors serving up some of the best local flavors in town. Seating is open, so it’s suggested you arrive approximately a half hour early and pick your spot in one of our covered flat cars or inside one of our historic coaches. Please make our crew aware in if someone in your party may have difficulty navigating steps and require additional assistance or enjoy and alternate detour.”
The Ben Rounds Band will be waiting for you as you break along the way, playing their recognizable mix of country and rock covers. Ben is a major supporter of saving the rails in Ulster County and has played several fundraisers contributing to the cause, and his music never disappoints!
This is an event for the whole family and not to be missed. Visit CatskillMountainRailroad.com for more details and to purchase tickets. Pricing is:
If you have a little more coin, and energy, you can ride the new Rail Explorers USA rail bikes through scenic Ulster County. Boarding takes place at the historic Phoenicia station, aka the Empire State Railroad Museum.
Rail bikes lined up for their inaugural run following the Rail Explorers USA Catskill Division Ceremony this past Wednesday. Please ask permission for photo usage.
In fact, trail without rail advocates, UC politicians Mike Hein and Kathy Nolan, who some consider to be the driving force behind the currently segmented (interrupted, compromised, decimated, however you choose to view it) rail line, stood on this hallowed ground on Wednesday during the ribbon cutting ceremony for Rail Explorers. Paul LaPierre, on the board of the ESRM*, in an unexpected gesture, wholeheartedly welcomed them, thanking Ulster County for its assistance in cleaning up the museam property and for the promise of a permit to keep equipment and cars on the property for repair and display purposes.
My point is, if you miss riding along the mighty Esopus, as the CMRR has not been able to operate there since the loss of their lease in 2016, you can still do an eight mile round trip pedal through Mt. Tremper, across Rt. 28, stopping just a mile shy of where the tracks now end. Bring plenty of water and snacks. The beautiful tour, though electric motor assisted on the way back, is still a workout, so eat your wheaties! Bring your rain gear too, as Rail Explorers operates in mild to moderately inclement weather.
***** Please stay tuned for full, objective coverage of the Rail Explorers USA Ribbon Ceremony. In the meantime, enjoy this weekend safely, be thankful for every moment given to you and those you love, never forgetting the price paid by those who fight for our country, and their families.
*Please note a previous version of this article referred to Paul LaPierre as “head of the ESRM”. He has since brought to attention he is only a member of its board.
By Rebecca Andre – May 10, 2018 10:54 pm – Arkville, Delaware County, NY
If you are wondering why the May opening of Delaware and Ulster Railroad has been pushed to June 2, you can thank Mother Nature and Old Man Winter, who have once again conspired to hold off precious spring and summer in the Catskills.
Platform in Arkville will be filled with riders starting June 2
Despite best intentions to have track work complete, problems left over from winter weather derailed hopes of a Mother’s Day Weekend opening.
Namely, frost heaves and cross elevation.
As explained by Wes Coates, General Manager of DURR, the cinders used in the building of the railroad hold moisture, especially in the lower-lying areas, and freeze, pushing the tracks up and out of place.
Efforts were made to avoid this issue, including plowing the tracks for the first time in 40 years to open them up to the sun quicker.
A larger railroad would have a simple fix, using a track stabilizing machine to force the tracks back into place.
“We are a little country railroad,” explains Coates, so this has to be done the old fashioned way: by running a passenger-free train over the tracks back and forth to stabilize them.
#5106 sits patient on the tracks
Crews have already installed 100 tons of ballast (gravel/stone) and almost 1,000 new ties. Work is being done in both directions from the station in Arkville, including towards Highmount. Word is the visiting steam locomotive planned for June and September could cross the trestle over the Bushkill.
Vic Stevens, Chief Engineer, and Coates are both extremely disappointed by the hold up. “But we need to make sure the tracks are safe,” says Stevens.
Go to DURR.org for full schedule and ticket information. Be sure to check for updates on Facebook as well.
‘Tie Inserter’ machine
New environmentally conscious ties treated with copper naphthenate instead of creosote, which has been classified as harmful to the environment as it can leach from the ties when heated by sunlight and allow a petroleum residue to seep into ground water.
The ‘Ballast Regulator’ is used to spread the ballast out for the ‘Tamper Machine’