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For the narrow-gauge railroad out of Catskill, New York, see Catskill Mountain Railway.
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Catskill Mountain Railroad
Terminus Kingston-Stony Hollow, New York
Commercial operations
Built by Ulster & Delaware Railroad
Original gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Preserved operations
Owned by Ulster County, New York
Operated by Catskill Mountain Railroad
Preserved gauge 4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm)
Commercial history
Closed 1976
Preservation history
August 9, 1982 CMRR begins operations

The Catskill Mountain Railroad (reporting mark CMRR) is a heritage tourist railroad based in Kingston, New York, that began operations in 1982. The railroad leases a 5-mile portion of the former New York Central Railroad Catskill Mountain branch from Kingston to Stony Hollow, New York. The tracks are owned by Ulster County, New York which bought them in 1979 from estate of the Penn Central Railroad. The railroad's current permit with Ulster County expires on December 31, 2021.

History

Catskill Mountain Railroad

Catskill Mountain Railroad logo
The seal of the Catskill Mountain Railroad has been used as decoration on railroad equipment and structures

In 1973, the Catskill Mountain Transportation Corp. "CMCT" was formed with the goal of purchasing the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad for freight and passenger service.

In 1979, Ulster County purchased the portion of the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad from MP 2.9 to MP 41.4, a total of 38.6 miles, with the goal of resuming freight service and initiating a tourist train. The line had ceased passenger operations in 1954 and freight operations in 1976.

In 1980 and 1981, members of the Kingston Model Railroad club cleared brush on the line.

In 1982 members of the CMCT and the Kingston Model Railroad club formed the Catskill Mountain Railroad "CMRR", with the purpose of operating freight and passenger service on the former Ulster and Delaware Railroad from Kingston to Highmount, NY, a total of 38.6 miles of track.

In 1982, Ulster County leased its entire 38.6 mile portion of the line to the CMRR. On August 9, 1982, CMRR initially began operations in Phoenicia, using track cars and trailers to haul tourists and tubers three miles along Esopus Creek to Mt. Pleasant station. The railroad was incorporated on March 7, 1983 as a for-profit railroad corporation in the state of New York. William Haysom was its first President.

In 1985, the CMRR began running full-sized equipment consisting of CMRR No.1, "The Duck", a flat car and caboose. Earl Pardini became president to help guide them through the transition. Pardini was with the D&U at its startup, helping to train its engineers and conductors. He agreed to come aboard, and the CMRR embarked on a period of serious expansion. Pardini had been a member of the former CMCT, and was brakeman on the last freight train in 1976.

In 1986, Ulster County reconnected the line with Conrail at Kingston. The railroad purchased a variety of second-hand locomotives, coaches and freight cars which were shipped by rail to Kingston. Some of the equipment was refurbished and used immediately, while the rest sat in storage until needed. Also in 1986, the CMRR signed its first multi-year lease with Ulster County, for five years, and began switching freight for the Kingston Recycling Center as well as operating tourist train service from Phoenicia to Mt. Tremper, New York.

In 1987, a devastating flood washed out Campground Curve, between Phoenicia and Mt. Tremper. In conjunction with NYSDOT and Ulster County, this damage was repaired and service restored in 1988. Operations focused on Phoenicia to Mt. Tremper, with limited operations in Kingston.

Expansion and Setbacks 1991-2005

The railroad entered into a 25-year lease with Ulster County in 1991. Railroad operations ended at busy Route 28 in Mt. Pleasant. The crossing had been out of service for many years, and the railroad needed to replace it if it was to continue east toward Kingston. The project received approval and after about ten years, public funding was provided to complete reconstruction of the crossing and installation of warning lights and gates. The new crossing was put into service in October 2004, offering the railroad its first significant expansion.

Then tragedy struck CMRR. On April 1, 2005, a devastating flood nearly wiped out the railroad, and caused much damage to the tracks and equipment in Phoenicia. After several weeks of volunteer effort, the line was reopened in summer 2005. Around this time, interest increased in using some segments of the rail corridor in Ulster County for a recreational trail.

Volunteer Resurgence

During the winter of 2006, the railroad reorganized its efforts as new volunteers came forward. A group from the nearby Ulster & Delaware Railroad Historical Society were among the first to offer assistance. Brush-cutting and clearing the right of way took first priority. A high-profile activity with immediate results, the cleanup effort motivated more volunteers to join. By the end of 2006, the volunteer force had increased to 45 full members and 30 provisional members. They cleared nearly 20 miles of brush from the mainline.

Kingston Operations Resume

In 2007 the railroad began track repairs in Kingston in line with the "ski lift" concept recommended in the ALTA Engineering study for railroad operation from Kingston to West Hurley. The railroad restored tracks in Kingston, with service opening to Washington Avenue in December 2008. In late 2009, the railroad opened more track west of Washington Avenue and offered additional seasonal service throughout that year. From 2007 to 2009, close to two miles of track had been rebuilt in Kingston, from Cornell Street to the foot of Bridge C9.

For three years, the CMRR worked to complete the rehabilitation of Bridge C9 over Esopus Creek in Kingston. The bridge was opened for service on December 7, 2012, enabling track rehabilitation westward with Route 209 being the first destination. Route 209, MP 5.42, was reached on September 21, 2013, and Hurley Mountain Road, MP 5.94, was reached on November 16, 2014. The track is now open to MP 6.45 west of Hurley Mountain Road. The first passenger train to Route 209 ran on October 19, 2013, and the first to Hurley Mountain Road on November 21, 2014.

West End Expansion

Through 2007 and 2008, work also continued on opening the .6 mile Cold Brook Extension. The first train arrived at Cold Brook Station on July 4, 2008: the first regularly scheduled passenger train to arrive at the station since 1954. Because Cold Brook station remains privately owned, the railroad maintained no agency there and there are no facilities to board or discharge passengers. In 2009, the CMRR repaired track another .8 miles to the Boiceville Bridge at MP 21.3, for work trains only.

By 2010, the physical limit of track restoration was reached on the "western" end of the operable railroad. To the west of Bridge Street in Phoenicia is a major washout preventing any serious restoration work without outside funding. To the east, the railroad rebuilt tracks up to the limit of Bridge C30 (Boiceville Trestle). This was a total of 6.4 miles of operable track at its greatest extent.

Repairs to Catskill Mountain Railroad folowing Hurricane Irene
Tracks being repaired after damage from Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene

On August 28, 2011, CMRR was devastated by flooding as a result of Hurricane Irene. Flood waters inundated the yard at Phoenicia, scouring the right of way and threatening the depot. A significant washout occurred at Campground Curve, similar to the one in 1987. All operating equipment had been moved to safe ground at Mt. Tremper, east of Campground Curve. Additional damage had been incurred where damage from a previous washout was already underway. In the non-operating segment east of Cold Brook station, the most significant damage was the loss of three of the four spans of Boiceville Trestle (Bridge C30) to rising flood waters. There was no significant damage to the restored tracks in the Kingston area.

The CMRR resumed operations on September 10, 2011, on a shortened length of track near Mount Tremper. The washout at Campground Curve was repaired in late 2011, except for reinstallation of track. Operations west of Mt. Tremper commenced on August 5, 2012. In November 2012, the County informed the CMRR that several repair projects had been approved by FEMA. Seven projects, including restoration of the Boiceville Trestle, were approved for $2.3 million. However, the County informed CMRR that it would not begin the projects unless CMRR agreed to terminate its lease from Kingston to the Ashokan Reservoir.

On August 3, 2013, the CMRR started reconstruction work of track on Campground Curve as part of returning to Phoenicia. This was done assuming that the county would not initiate a FEMA-funded project for this repair. The CMRR completed repairs to Phoenicia on August 7, 2015. Ironically, these repairs made possible the future new railbiking use for this segment of the railroad.

Phoenicia, NY, railroad station
Phoenicia Station, site of the Empire State Railway Museum

At the end of its 25-year lease with Ulster County on May 31, 2016, the CMRR ran from Phoenicia at MP 27.5 to the washout at MP 23.3, as the FEMA funds were never released for the trestle and washout repairs.

Litigation with Ulster County

In 2013, Ulster County attempted to terminate the CMRR's lease three years before its expiration. The CMRR successfully litigated the attempt to terminate its lease at a cost of $700,000. The litigation was settled in April 2016, and the CMRR was allowed to continue its former lease through its natural expiration on May 31, 2016.

New Permit

In August 2016, the CMRR signed a new permit with Ulster County for a five-mile segment from MP 3.6 at Chandler Drive in Kingston to MP 8.3 in Stony Hollow. The new permit expires on December 31, 2020. This segment did not include its yard in Kingston nor the former west end operation out of Phoenicia. Only one short siding was included in this permit area. Nevertheless, the CMRR continued renovating track operating on the full length of its permit area opening all its permitted track in 2019.

Operations

Kingston-West Hurley

Since November 2006, the CMRR has re-opened track in Kingston. The passenger operable section stretches from Chandler Drive at MP 3.6 to Stony Hollow at MP 8.3.

On December 6, 2008, the railroad inaugurated seasonal tourist runs between Downs Street (MP 3.2) and Washington Avenue (MP 4.37). A small ticket office and loading platform was constructed off Westbrook Lane (MP 3.78) opposite Kingston Plaza to support passenger operations in 2008. Trains are powered by Alco RS-1 401 (ex-GMRC 401), and consist of converted flatcar 278 (ex-LBR 26) and refurbished caboose 675 (ex-PRR 477672) and several Ex-LIRR P72 coaches. The critical Washington Avenue crossing was reopened for limited use in 2008, and the track was opened to Bridge C-9 (MP 5) on November 15, 2009 for the 2009 Kingston Holiday Train. Repairs to Bridge C9 started in September 2011, and were completed on December 3, 2012. The bridge was certified on December 7, 2012, and the first passenger train ran across the bridge on December 8. On September 21, 2013, CMRR workers completed track rehabilitation up to NYS Route 209 (MP 5.42). The next day, work began on the next extension past 209 to Hurley Mountain Road (MP 5.94). In late 2014 track was expanded to MP 6.13, and in late 2015 to MP 6.45, over 1/2 mile west of Hurley Mountain Road. The operable section was extended to MP 6.67 in 2018 and to MP 8.3 in Stony Hollow in 2019.

CMRR also had a yard in Kingston, referred to as "Cornell Street Yard." In 2009, a new siding was constructed to expand the yard facilities to allow for the storage and restoration of passenger cars for expanded tourist train operations. The CMRR was forced to vacate the yard by the County on May 1, 2016.

Before its lease expired in 2016, the line was reopened for work trains to MP 11 on the Glenford Dike at the Ashokan Reservoir. The track from MP 10 to MP 11 was removed in 2018 for the Ashokan Rail Trail.

Phoenicia-Cold Brook

The CMRR operated a tourist excursion train from Phoenicia Railroad Station, Phoenicia, MP 27.5 to Cold Brook Railroad Station, MP 22.1 until October 31, 2016. Its trains originated from the former U&D station in Phoenicia, which is also home to the Empire State Railway Museum. Passengers boarded trains at Phoenicia or Mount Tremper Railroad Station, MP 25.2.

Initially, service was provided by track cars hauling trailers between Phoenicia and Mount Tremper. Realizing that the future lies in conventional railroad equipment hauled by locomotives, two flatcars were rebuilt as open air bench cars to accommodate passengers. A Porter 50-ton switcher was enlisted to haul the expanded consist. A 1922-vintage wooden caboose often (ex-D&H 35952) brought up the rear, and offered additional capacity.

In early 2004 the caboose was taken out of service and replaced with a restored coach of Lackawanna heritage. This coach greatly increased the capacity of each train, and also helped offer "all-weather" service. In late 2004, service was extended to MP 22.7. It was extended further to Cold Brook Station, MP 22.1, on July 4, 2008.

On May 6, 2010, Phoenicia operations acquired a new locomotive, former LIRR/SIRY Alco S1 407, which was placed in service on May 7, 2010. It has been the workhorse engine for Phoenicia operations since the start of the 2010 season. A second coach was put into service on October 2, 2010, just in time for the Fall Foliage trains.

In 2011, construction of a new switch and siding began at MP 24.75, to park maintenance equipment and give the work train a place to alight. It was completed on May 25, 2012.

For the 2012 season, the train ran initially from Mt. Tremper west to MP 23.3 where subgrade repairs are necessary due to Hurricane Irene. On August 5, 2012, after repairs were made at MP 25.5, the passenger train began running west to the next damaged section at MP 25.8, one half mile west of Mt. Tremper. On August 6, 2015, service was restored to Phoenicia Station after extensive track repairs were completed by the CMRR.

Work trains generally consisted of transfer caboose 697 (ex-CR 18015) and "The Duck," a small Davenport switcher. Equipment restoration and maintenance takes place at the railroad's open-air facilities. The original Phoenicia section house is used by the railroad to store tools and supplies for the track crew.

On August 4, 2016, CMRR was granted a permit to resume operations on this segment of the U&D Corridor through October 31, 2016. However, the county has elected to use a rail bike (www.railexplorers.net) company as the operator for this segment starting in 2017. The CMRR moved all its equipment to its adjacent property in Phoenicia in January, 2017, where it remains today.

In May, 2017 Rail Explorers announced it would not be operating on the western section of the line in 2017, however it opened for operations in 2018.

Shokan

Under its prior lease, the CMRR's third base of operations was at MP 16.4 at Shokan, New York, at the site of the former Ashokan Railroad Station. The operating equipment there consisted of a self-powered crane, flat car, and an ex-Susquehanna caboose (privately owned). Shokan also served as a base for the CMRR's track car crews, who were charged with maintenance of the section of the line inaccessible to full sized equipment, from MP 11 to bridge C30 at MP 21.3. The CMRR removed all its equipment in Shokan by rail on July 21, 2016. All tracks at Shokan were removed in 2018 to make way for the Ashokan Rail Trail.

Ridership

The CMRRs ridership dramatically increased with the addition of Polar Express and Thomas the Tank engine events in Kingston in 2014. Historic ridership is as follows:

2008 - Kingston 884, Phoenicia 7,155, total 8,039

2009 - Kingston 1,546, Phoenicia 6,767, total 8,313

2010 - Kingston 2,044, Phoenicia 10,211, total 12,255

2011 - Kingston 2,618, Phoenicia 6,684, total 9,302

2012 - Kingston 3,065, Phoenicia 8,463, total 11,528

2013 - Kingston 4,575, Phoenicia, 10,248, total 14,823

2014 - Kingston, 31,289, Phoenicia, 8,981, total 40,270

2015 - Kingston, 27,230, Phoenicia, 12,129, total 39,359

2016 - Kingston, 29,148, Phoenicia, 9,595, total 38,743

2017 - Kingston, 36,513

2018 - Kingston, 37,619

2019 - Kingston, 41,115

In 2019, through credit card receipts, the CMRR broke down its ridership as follows:

Kingston and Ulster County - 11.8%; Long Island and NYC - 20.8%; Rockland and Sullivan Counties - 5.9%; Orange County - 10.8%; Westchester and Putnam County - 12.2%; Dutchess County - 10.2%; Capital Region - 6.2%; Other NYS - 1.2%; New Jersey - 4.3%; Other US - 5.7%; International - .1%; Walk-ons - 10.8%.

Long-term goals

Kingston-Glenford Dike (MP 3.6 to 11.1)

Although the CMRR is only currently allowed to operate to MP 8.33 in Stony Hollow, the railroad may eventually be allowed to operate to Basin Road at MP 10.01 at the border of the NYCDEP easement. The tracks from MP 8.33 to MP 10.01 remain in place.

The CMRR has requested of the County and the NYCDEP both a short extension to MP 10.3 so that it can bring passengers to the new rail trail trailhead on the Ashokan Reservoir Trail. If this permission is granted, rail will need to be re-laid past MP 10.01, as the rail west of that location was removed in 2018.

Additionally, the CMRR has requested from the County and the NYCDEP a further extension to the Glenford Dike at MP 11.1 so that it can run lunch, dinner and scenic trains.

Interchange with CSX at Kingston (MP 2.9 to 3.6)

The CMRR has been isolated from the national network since Conrail removed its Kingston interchange switch in 1996. The CMRR plans to eventually reconnect its line to the national rail network: CSX (successor to Conrail) at Kingston, despite the fact that rail was removed from MP 3.2 to MP 3.6 in 2018 to make way for the Kingston Midtown Linear Park Rail Trail. However, the CMRR continues to ask the county to reserve a rail right-of-way in this section so that the line can eventually be reconnected to CSX for equipment moves, charters, and occasional freight movements.

Boiceville-Phoenicia Station (MP 21.59 to 27.5)

The tracks from Boiceville to Phoenicia have been left in place and are now leased to Rail Explorers. The CMRR hopes eventually to restore rail service on this segment alongside the current rail bicycle operator. The CMRR continues to store rail equipment on its land opposite the Phoenicia Station. This segment is divided by a severe washout at MP 23.3 from Hurricane Irene in 2011, that prohibits rail service (rail bikes or trains) from MP 21.59 to MP 23.3.

Phoenicia Station to Bridge Street (MP 27.5 to 27.85)

These tracks are currently leased to the Empire State Railway Museum. The CMRR hopes to eventually share this trackage with the ESRM in Phoenicia.

Kingston-Phoenicia (MP 2.9 to 27.85)

The CMRR's former long-term goal was to run tourist trains on the entire 25-mile run from Kingston to Phoenicia. The goal was negated on November 14, 2017, when the Ulster County legislature voted to remove the tracks from the middle third of the line for a rail trail. The tracks from MP 10.01 to MP 21.59 were removed in 2018.

West of Phoenicia (MP 27.85 to 41.4)

The CMRR has never had plans to reopen this section of the line to service. However, the neighboring DURR in Delaware County has expressed interest in resuming service possibly all the way to Big Indian (MP 36.4). It currently leases a run-around from Ulster County from MP 41.2 to 41.4. Ulster County has no current plans for trail conversion of this section, but it is designated as trail-only in the county's long-term plans.

Stations and Maintenance Yards

The CMRR's current station at Westbrook Lane is temporary and the railroad seeks a permanent station in Kingston for its operations. Four locations have been proposed by the CMRR: 1) West End of Kingston Plaza; 2) Center of Kingston Plaza; 3) Best Western (near Washington Avenue); and 4) Midtown (at the former Kingston Train Station {near the CSX connection). To date no location has been worked out with the County and the City of Kingston.

Since being removed from its long-term yard at Cornell Street in Kingston, the CMRR has proposed four locations for a permanent yard at alternate locations in Kingston. To date no location has been worked out with the County and the City of Kingston. This forces the CMRR to store and maintain all its equipment out in the open on the main line.

Proposed Track Additions

The CMRR currently operates on a 5-mile track with a single 150 foot siding In Kingston, making operations and switching extremely difficult. The CMRR has requested permission to install a run-around siding in Kingston and one at its eventual western terminus to eventually allow engine-first operation on the entire line.

Roster of equipment

Locomotives

CMRR Locomotive 29 Side View
No. 29

CMRR owns two American Locomotive Company (ALCO) RS-1 locomotives, No. 401 (Ex-Green Mountain Railroad (GMRC) No. 401, Ex Gulf, Mobile and Ohio Railroad (GM&O) No. 1052, Ex Illinois Terminal Railroad No. 1056, née 756); and No. 2361 (former Alter Scrap No. 2361, Ex-Soo Line Railroad (SOO) 2361). Only 401 is operational at this time. In 2010, 2361 was repainted and evaluated for reactivation; it was given a new number, 400.

In May 2010, the CMRR acquired its latest locomotive, former Long Island Railroad/Staten Island Railway Alco S-1 407. This engine was the workhorse for operations out of Mt. Tremper and Phoenicia, but now remains in storage.

CMRR No. 29, "The Goat" is an Ex-Navy 50 ton H. K. Porter, Inc locomotive, which was a backup engine and main engine for worktrain service. CMRR No. 1, "The Duck", another worktrain locomotive, is an Ex-Army 38 ton Davenport Locomotive Works locomotive. Only "the Duck" is operational and is located currently in Phoenicia. It has a double-reduction gearing system in the trucks. The traction motors are mounted at 90 degrees to the axles, and have bevel pinions on the armature shafts. These bevel pinions drive a larger bevel ring gear in a gear case. On one truck, the locking nut on the traction motor armature shaft came loose, and the bevel pinion jammed in the ring gear, locking up the truck. The bevel pinion jammed against the ring gear and bent it. #29 is currently for sale and remains in storage in Phoenicia.

In 2014, the CMRR acquired a 1942 GE 45-tonner, numbered 42, from the Railroad Museum of New England. The locomotive is currently locatedin Kingston.

Catskill Mountain Railroad Engine No. 42
No. 42

Passenger equipment

Phoenicia equipment consists of two Ex-Navy 50 foot flatcars, No. 271 and 272, that have been converted to open-air passenger service with the addition of side walls and benches, which were moved to Kingston in August 2020. There are also two former Erie Lackawanna Railway (EL) Multiple unit (MU) trailers that have been completely renovated: No. 4321 entered service as CMRR No. 701 in 2004, and No. 4332 entered service on October 2, 2010 as CMRR No. 702. Another MU trailer, No. 4322, has recently been moved from storage at Kingston for restoration back to active service. It will most likely be numbered as CMRR No. 703 upon completion.

Kingston equipment consists of two flat cars, one 40-foot, CMRR No. 278 (ex-Lowville & Beaver River No. 26), and another 50-foot (ex-Army No. 35112), which are each fitted with a canopy roof, five former Long Island Rail Road commuter coaches, CMRR 2940, 2949, 2962, 2918 and 2911, and an N5B Caboose, CMRR No. 675 (Ex-PRR 477672, PC 22800, CR 20003). The CMRR also owns Ontario Northern 832 (former Norfolk & Western No. 1727) and is renovating the car for first class service.

Another U.S. Army 50 foot flatcar has been converted to passenger use. No. 35111, which was moved from Phoenicia to Kingston in 2019. It has been fitted with a canopy roof.

Other equipment

CMRR also rosters several pieces of freight equipment used in work train and storage service. In Kingston, this includes two 50-foot boxcars, former D&H 26076 and NYC 72462, used for storage. An ex-Army Difco dump car and 40-foot flat car (CMRR 201 (Ex LBR No. 27)) are used for work train service. Additionally, the railroad has in storage west of Kingston a ballast hopper (former NYC No. 51467) and a gondola (former PRR No. 518399).

Additionally in Kingston the CMRR owns a self-powered ex-Navy crane, CMRR 991, a 40-foot tender flat CMRR 291 (ex-Army 35305), and uses a privately owned caboose CMRR 674 (ex Susquehanna 117), all used for work train service. The frame and trucks of former LS&I caboose No. 6, which were bought by a CMRR volunteer in the 1980s, are in storage in Phoenicia.

In Phoenicia, a 40-foot box car (Ex-LV 65100) is used for storage, and a former Army Difco dump car, a 40-foot flatcar, CMRR 202 (Ex-CV 7704) and an N6A transfer caboose, CMRR 697 (Ex NYC/PC/CR 18015), are used for worktrain service. Phoenicia equipment also includes a privately owned N5G steel caboose, CMRR 673 (former Lehigh Valley 95041). This caboose was used as a gift shop at Mt. Tremper for many years before it was returned to the rails in 2010.

U&D Corridor Transitions

On January 24, 2006, when the Kingston Daily Freeman announced "Trail Plan Could Mark End of Line for Railroad", trail advocates began promoting a plan to convert segments of the county-owned railroad corridor into a recreational path, which would limit the length and location of the tourist train excursions. ALTA Engineering was hired to devise a rail-with-trail plan for the line in Ulster County. The final report stated the following:

The future vision of the Ulster & Delaware Rail + Trail is a significant opportunity for local communities, Ulster County, and the region. The combination of two historic tourist railroads, the trolley and railroad museums, restored historic sites, and a trail for multiple uses will complement the tourism and recreation economy of the Catskill Mountain Region. The project can become a model of sustainable transportation and cooperation between a wide range of public, private, and nonprofit partners.

On October 4, 2012, Ulster County Executive Michael P. Hein announced in his 2013 budget a plan to remove 32 miles of rails in Ulster County to be replaced by a trail, leaving the Phoenicia-Cold Brook segment, and ending Kingston operations. He planned to start removing rails in 2013, using $642,000 in scrapping revenues to provide revenue for his budget. The budget was adopted by the Ulster County Legislature on December 4, 2012. The CMRR's lease, however, remains in effect until May 31, 2016. There is no reference to scrapping the railroad in the proposed 2014 Ulster County Budget.

Three days after the 2013 budget was approved, the CMRR opened Bridge C9 in Kingston for passenger train service, and began bringing passengers across the bridge for the first time in over 50 years.

On February 19, 2013, CMRR published a rail-with-trail study for MP 3 to 11 in response to a request from the county made on October 15, 2012. The rail-with-trail plan was rejected without review by the county on March 7, 2013.

On June 5, 2013, Ulster County hired Andrea C. Ferster, Esq, who was also general counsel to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, to file an application to the Surface Transportation Board to "rail bank" the railroad for future trail use.

On June 12, 2013, CMRR was served with a Notice to Cure. In a meeting with the Ulster County Executive, held on June 24, 2013, the CMRR was asked to vacate the line from Kingston to the Ashokan reservoir, and told that unless it complied, its lease would be terminated on July 12. CMRR filed a Yellowstone Injunction on July 9 and was granted a TRO prohibiting the county from terminating the lease pending the outcome of a court decision on August 6. The Yellowstone Injunction was granted on November 6, 2013. Ulster County issued a notice of appeal on December 17, 2013.

On December 11, 2013, the outgoing New York City DEP commissioner announced a plan to support a trail along the U&D right of way from MP 10 to MP 21.6.

On December 8, 2014, the Ulster County Executive announced that, assuming certain requirements were met, a little more than two miles of tourist passenger train service could remain in Kingston, from the eastern end of Kingston Plaza, MP 3.6, to Hurley Mountain Road, MP 5.94.

On April 19, 2015, the Ulster County Legislature passed a resolution to create a nine-member legislator only committee to study the entire U&D corridor in Ulster County and make recommendations on long term use, including rail, trail or rail with trail with recommendations due by November 30, 2015.

On May 15, 2015, the Ulster County Legislature passed a resolution to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to begin spending planning dollars on a future conversion of the 11.5 mile railroad easement owned by the county in the Ashokan Reservoir to trail use.

On December 15, 2015, Stone Consulting completed a report on the Highest and Best uses of the U&D Corridor.

On December 15, 2015, the Ulster County Legislature passed a resolution making rail with trail the official policy from Chandler Drive (MP 3.58) in Kingston to just past 28a in Stony Hollow (MP 8.33), allowing the railroad to continue operations in Kingston and for 4.75 miles west. The segment from 28a to MP 10 will be studied further "provided that trail connectivity co-located on the corridor shall be preserved". This gives the CMRR a potential long-term home in Kingston and could allow the railroad to expand west as far as MP 10. It also confirmed that rail will remain from the Route 28a bridge in Boiceville (MP 21.6) to Phoenicia (MP 27.9). Any further rail expansion along the north side of the Ashokan Reservoir would be dependent on consent from the NYCDEP and the Ulster County Legislature. The Stone Consulting report found there were no physical restrictions to rail alongside trail from MP 10 to 11, with the only restriction to rail use being imposed by the agreement between Ulster County and NYCDEP. This resolution effectively ends the fight on rail vs. trail on the former U&D corridor, with rail and trail proponents pledging to work together from now on.

On April 19, 2016, the County and the CMRR settled their lawsuit contingent on the CMRR vacating its yard at Cornell Street in Kingston on May 1, 2016, ceasing operations on May 31, 2016 (the end of its lease term), and removing its equipment from the railroad by July 30, 2016. The litigation cost the CMRR $700,000, but allowed the railroad to operate to the end of its lease with Ulster County on May 31, 2016.

On July 18, 2016, the Ulster County Executive announced that permits had been signed for the CMRR to continue operating in Kingston from MP 3.6 to 8.33 until December 31, 2020, and from MP 23.3 to 27.8 until October 31, 2016. The permits were issued on August 4, 2016, and service resumed on August 6, 2016.

On December 14, 2017, the Ulster County Legislature voted to remove all railroad tracks from MP 10.01 to MP 21.59, permanently severing the U&D Corridor, and eliminating the CMRR's plans to return to the Glenford Dike and Phoenicia with full-service passenger operations.

In July 2018, A state Supreme Court justice has dismissed yet another claim against Ulster County over its plan to create a recreational trail along portions of the former Ulster & Delaware Railroad corridor.


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