LAKE PLACID - The Adirondack Scenic Railroad is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of anyone involved with damage to a locomotive last week.
The train is leased by the railroad company and runs between Lake Placid and Saranac Lake. It was parked at the Lake Placid depot when it was damaged.
Railroad volunteers discovered a problem when they attempted to start the locomotive last Wednesday. Further inspection revealed that wires inside the locomotive's electrical cabinet had been pulled out, cut and placed back into the cabinet. Train mechanics are still assessing the damage, which they now say could cost between $25,000 and $50,000 to repair.
John Norton, locomotive technician for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, climbs aboard the engine that was vandalized and now sits at the train station in Lake Placid. He did not give a time estimate for repairs to be completed.
Photo/Richard Rosentreter/Lake Placid News
"This was a deliberate and calculated effort to render the equipment inoperable, and more importantly, to disguise it so it wouldn't be immediately obvious to the operator," said David Link, director of volunteers at the Adirondack Scenic Railroad,
The Lake Placid Police Department is following leads related to the incident. The Federal Railroad Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board may also get involved as public safety could have been endangered.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad Executive Director Bethan Maher told the Enterprise the company has taken a hit on ticket sales as a result of the damage. The railroad will lose three operating weeks and will have to refund 3,034 tickets, amounting to about $45,000, if the train remains inoperable.
That number includes 350 tickets sold for an Oct. 26 Halloween train ride. Maher said the event sold out last year with 750 ticket sales. Ticket sales for this year's train ride have been stopped.
"I anticipate we would've sold out again this year because we did so well last year, and we increased promotion of the event for this year," Maher said.
A version of the event will still happen, even without the train. Maher said the Adirondack Scenic Railroad will sponsor a free Halloween party at the train depot in Saranac Lake on Oct. 26; along with free rides on the neighboring Adirondack Carousel.
Anyone with information should contact the Lake Placid Police Department at 518-523-3306.