Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad 29th August 2012
Our trip to the Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad was a bit of a last minute thing, we’d only planned it the night before, after we’d arrived into Utica from New York, having picked their leaflet out of the rack by the Hotel Utica’s check-in desk.
Our arrival at the railway, which was only 60 miles away, was a bit last minute as well courtesy of Enterprise car hire. Initially our car wasn’t ready and when we eventually set off at 0845 for a 1000 departure the SatNav said it would take 1h10m. Then came the bombshell as we were about to depart, in that the car only had 1/8 of a tank of fuel, which didn’t quite get us there and we had to fill up less than 10 miles from the railway for fear of running out! The result was us screeching into an empty car park at 0955. The empty car park should have been a give away, the fact that the train was empty was of a little concern, but some railways don’t load up until the last minute. Then it dawned on us that the Alco S4 #3051, marshaled with the train was actually shut down. Our fears were then confirmed as a woman came out of the small office and asked if she could help us, not do you want to buy tickets or boarding is from over there, or anything else of the likes.
It turned out that the FRA had stopped the C&CVR from operating due to the condition of their track and they’d only just started operating again on 25th August, 4 days prior to our arrival, however operations had been limited to Saturdays only, something that we hadn’t found on the internet the previous night……….
A wasted drive, maybe, but at least we had a good look round the place, including on their shed where their other Alco, this one an S7, #3052 was sitting. It was in a worse condition than 3051 so hadn’t had a great deal of work done to it and was only used on the passenger service when 3051 needed to be taken out of service.
Our conversations with the folk at the railway revealed that they were running a BBQ train the following night, departing at 1900, and although it was full they were willing to let us ride with it, without the food that was included in the price. Unfortunately our expected arrival back into Utica that evening was 1830, which wasn’t conducive to getting to the C&CVR for a 1900 departure. The place would just have to wait for another time, probably the next time we were in Utica.