Batten Kill Railroad gets $1.3 million state grant

Pictured above. US Senator Charles Schumer inspects the Battenkill RR

GREENWICH — Since owner Bill Taber and his employees spend more than two-thirds of their time maintaining the Batten Kill Railroad’s 35 miles of track, Tuesday’s announcement that the company will be getting $1.3 million in state funding was very good news.

“We spend a lot of time keeping the track operational. I would say that between two-thirds and three-quarters of our time is spent working on the track,” Taber said. “That’s what we are doing today. The only time we stop is when our customers need us to run the trains in.”

The funding, part of $16.3 million announced Tuesday from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Passenger and Freight Rail Assistance Program, will allow the Batten Kill Railroad to put new cross ties onto about 4 miles of the company’s track, Taber said.

This is the second time the Batten Kill has received similar funding. Ten years ago, Taber said, the company was able to repair 2.75 miles of track and a bridge with $1 million in funding.

The funding the Batten Kill is receiving is part of $16.3 million in state funding and $12.8 million in additional public and private investments and will rehabilitate three railroad bridges and more than 52 miles of rail track and facilities across the state.

The local work is focused on tracks around the village of Cambridge and requires Batten Kill to pay for work on 1,000 of the planned 8,000 cross ties.

“With the state grants, you need to fund some of the work yourself, and it needs to be focused on a specific geographic area,” Taber said. “The focus of the state grants is to keep the track sustainable, that is, in good repair.”

The Batten Kill gives trains access to two major Washington County agricultural businesses in Salem — Cargill Animal Nutrition and CaroVail Fertilizer.

“We have products coming in from all over to country, and we’re the ones who move them to the destinations within Washington County,” Taber said. “And when we are not moving freight, we are working on the track.”

Read more about the Battenkill Railroad


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