Knox & Kane RR May Resume Excursions in 2008

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Knox & Kane RR May Resume Excursions in 2008

Postby thebigham » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:51 am ... &Itemid=27

Train to state park may resume next year
Written by Ted Lutz

The Knox & Kane Railroad's excursion train to Kinzua Bridge State Park still sits idle on tracks along Biddle Street in Kane. Trips from Kane to the park were suspended after the 2004 season.

The excursion train from Kane to the Kinzua Bridge State Park near Mt. Jewett still sits idle on tracks along Biddle Street.

This is the third summer the train rides have been suspended.

There is a chance the excursions could resume next year.

"It's a hope," John Hafer said in discussing plans by the Knox & Kane Railroad to operate the excursions again next year.

But he pointed out that the decision to resume excursions rests on many factors.

"Nothing is written in stone," Hafer said. "It's not definite."

Hafer is the grandson of Sloan Cornell, a Marienville resident who has owned the railroad since 1981.

The rail excursions to Kinzua Bridge State Park began this month 20 years ago-- 1987.

For years, a steam locomotive pulled passenger rail cars from Marienville to the park with a stop in Kane. The highlight of the 96-mile roundtrip excursion through mainly forested land was the crossing of the 2,053-foot Kinzua Bridge, which stood 301 feet above the Kinzua Creek Valley.

When the structure was built in 1882, it was the highest railroad bridge in the world.

The bridge was destroyed on July 21, 2003 when tornadoes toppled the midsection of the structure. Of the 20 steel support structures, 11 now lie in the ruins of the bridge at the bottom of the gorge.

The railroad operated excursions to the park in 2004, mainly from its depot on Biddle Street in Kane. But, without the bridge crossing as a feature, the number of passengers diminished. The railroad has not operated train excursions in 2005, 2006 or this year.

Hafer said it would take "the better part of the winter" months to complete maintenance work on just one of the railroad's two steam locomotives now housed in Kane.

"It takes time and money," he said in discussing mandatory work to bring a steam locomotive up to code.

The railroad has used a diesel engine in the past for the rail excursions. However, Hafer believes it will take a steam locomotive "to bring the people back" to ride the excursion train.

Hafer is continuing to work on the railroad's property in Kane where many rail cars now are located on a siding on the south side of Biddle Street (Route 6). He is planning to extend one of the existing sidings on the property.

The railroad has sold one of its diesel engines and an "extra caboose," Hafer said. But he said the railroad has no plans at this time to abandon any tracks.

"Everything is staying the way it is," Hafer said.
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Postby gp80mac » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:20 pm

I just don't see it happening, honestly. I was there years ago - when the bridge was still standing. That was the ONLY thing around to bring in people. No bridge = no interest.

The train ride was, to be honest, boring. The equipment was pretty junky, and the steam engine didn't add much. People rode it to go over the bridge.
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