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Inaugural Iron Horse Days celebration set Saturday in Croghan

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CROGHAN — The Railway Historical Society of Northern New York will host an inaugural celebration this weekend dedicated to the era of the steam locomotive.

The Iron Horse Days Yellow Ribbon Event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at the society’s depot off Main Street.

“It just gets everyone to thinking about the history here that needs to be protected,” said Laurie A. Halladay, the society’s secretary and part-time curator.

The event will include tours of the depot and the society’s collection of train cars, a display of special railroad equipment from Genesee Valley Transportation, craft booths and children’s games.

Short rides will also be offered to society members only, but new members will be accepted on the day of the event.

Annual membership dues are $20 individual, $30 family, $50 sustaining, $75 corporate or $250 lifetime.

Discounts will also be offered to members, as well as active or retired military personnel with valid identification.

Hamburgers, hot dogs and other refreshments will be available.

Mrs. Halladay said she had been mulling such an event for some time and, with the help of a summer intern, was able to finally get it organized this year.

“Iron horse” is an early term for steam locomotives dating back to their inception in the early 1800s.

Railroads played a very important role in the development of Lewis County and the north country, and this event will celebrate that history, Mrs. Halladay said.

“This is our infrastructure,” she said.

All proceeds from the event will go toward ongoing society projects, including an attempt to set up the upstairs apartment in the depot as it would have looked in the 1950s, when the station master and his family lived there, Mrs. Halladay said. As part of that effort, the society is also looking for donations of furniture from that time period, she said.

Other projects include organization and digitization of old rail records, conversion of old film rolls to a digital video format, computer upgrades and continued refurbishing of several train cars in its collection, including a couple stored in Lowville.

Society members also still hope to one day establish a tourist railroad line on the Lowville-Beaver River rail line that runs from Croghan to Lowville. The line is owned by GVT but unused other than for train car storage.

For more information on the event and the railway society, call the depot at 346-6848 or visit www.newyorktrains.com.

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