Catskill Mountain Railroad Celebrates 30 Years of Serving the Scenic Esopus Creek Route


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Ulster County wants to put us out of business for good.
Please support our Legal Defense Fund!

The Office of the Ulster County Executive has been engaged in a relentless campaign to have the Catskill Mountain Railroad shut down and run out of business after 30 years of serving the community as a popular tourist attraction in the Catskills and Hudson Valley regions.

Since 2002, we have been following the Ulster County's approved design document "Restoration of the Catskill Mountain Railroad Branch Line Kingston To Phoenicia" plus the follow-up report commissioned in 2006 by ALTA Design recommending a segmented approach to rail-with-trail. Our ongoing activities to repair and rebuild the railroad corridor have all the required approvals from the Federal Railroad Administration, the Federal Highway Administration, NYSDOT, as well as a completed Environmental Impact Statement. As it stands right now, the railroad is being forced to vacate for a proposed recreational trail project that has no design plan, no budget, and no approvals from any agency.

On June 12, 2013, Ulster County issued a “Notice to Cure” to the Catskill Mountain Railroad, alleging nine defaults in its lease. This was the first step in terminating the CMRR’s lease with Ulster County which ends May 31, 2016. On June 21, 2013, the CMRR answered the “Notice to Cure” and on June 24, 2013 met with the Ulster County executive, who said that he would continue to pressure the railroad until it agreed to vacate the line in Kingston, where we have fully restored 2.5 miles of track and rehabilitated bridge C9 over the past several years.

On June 26, County Attorney Bea Havranek stated in the Daily Freeman that the CMRR’s notice to cure was "inadequate" and that they would proceed with terminating the CMRR’s lease at the end of the 30 day cure period. Despite the County Executive Mike Hein’s false statements that he had to terminate our lease because we would not meet with him, we did indeed meet on April 8, and on June 24, 2013. At the June 24 meeting, the county executive told us we had to vacate Kingston in order for them to stop trying to terminate our lease. We reminded him that rail and trail were compatible in Kingston, but he refused to discuss this issue, or any other issue concerning our lease, until we agreed to vacate Kingston.

On July 9th, 2013, the CMRR filed for a Yellowstone Injunction to prevent the County from terminating the lease. A Yellowstone injunction was issued by Judge Richard Mott on November 6, 2014, delaying the termination of our lease. The litigation continues with discovery and depositions continuing until a decision on the termination of our lease is determined at trial in the fall of 2014. The CMRR is now being forced to pay legal fees just to stay in business. At this point in time, nearly all of our resources are being diverted to fighting in court instead of instead of restoring and expanding Ulster County's tourist railroad.

Because the railroad supports access for all, we are flexible and willing to share the corridor. However, a small vocal minority of trail enthusiasts and the County Executive only wish to see us removed permanently. The CMRR’s future is now solely dependent on litigation, and we are humbly asking for your financial support to fight the County’s effort to exterminate the railroad. Right now Ulster County is wasting precious taxpayer resources to harass and shut down a successful and growing tourist attraction in our area. We have set up a special account to handle our legal expensesand your contributions to this account will keep the CMRR in business until Ulster County stops their unwarranted persecution of the railroad.

Please Contribute Today

If you prefer to send a check, please mail contributions to:

Catskill Mountain Railroad Legal Defense Account
P.O. Box 1415
Kingston, NY 12401

Despite these struggles our trains are running with the highest ridership ever! We thank you for support and we look forward to serving this region for many years to come! Many thanks to all who want to see justice prevail against the overwhelming forces of the County government who want to put us out of business.

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