Yudichak: Train leaving ‘a terrible blow’
State Sen. John Yudichak, D-Carbon, released a statement Wednesday afternoon about the announcement that the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway is ceasing operations in Jim Thorpe.
“The closure of the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway in Jim Thorpe is a terrible blow for the merchants and taxpayers of Carbon County, who have witnessed an extraordinary growth in the tourism industry as a result of the substantial personal investment Andy Muller and the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad made in the region,” Yudichak said.
“I will work with all parties, especially the business community of Jim Thorpe, in the coming days to do everything possible to keep the passenger excursion train rides of the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway coming to beautiful Jim Thorpe.”
The decision comes after the company and Jim Thorpe Borough Council could not reach an understanding regarding the amusement tax.
“(Reading Blue Mountain and Northern) is in the freight business. That is where we make our money,” Andy Muller Jr., president and CEO of the company, said in a press release Wednesday morning. “I have offered passenger excursion rides to local communities as a way of thanking them for their support over the years and to educate young and old in the glorious role railroads in this region played in our country’s industrial revolution.
“Since it is clear that the mayor and borough council do not care about what we have done to assist Jim Thorpe over the last 15 years, a period in which Jim Thorpe Borough government has done nothing to assist the railroads, I have decided to focus our energies on communities that want to work with the railroads.”