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Train Rides Cancelled over Tunkhannock Viaduct

NICHOLSON — It was supposed to be one of the main attractions at a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the Tunkhannock Viaduct, also known as the Nic...
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NICHOLSON -- It was supposed to be one of the main attractions at a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the Tunkhannock Viaduct, also known as the Nicholson Bridge in Wyoming County.

But now, two planned steam engine rides over the viaduct have been cancelled.

Plans were in place to have a steam engine carry about eight hundred passengers each day from Scranton to Binghamton over the Tunkhannock Viaduct as part of the celebration in September.

As a result of the cancellation, nearly $200,000 in ticket sales are being returned after organizers say demands from the Canadian Pacific railroad company went too far.

"To me, it's a low point in my life that we couldn't pull this off," said Norman Barrett, the chairman of the excursion committee.

According to Barrett, he was working with Norfolk Southern railroad to have two train rides cross the bridge in September. Norfolk Southern is in the process of buying the railroad from Canadian Pacific, and thought they'd own the track by now.

When Norfolk Southern realized they weren't going to own the track in time for the celebration, Barrett had to plead his case to the track's current owner, Canadian Pacific. The company agreed to the rides, but not before asking organizers to raise their insurance policy from about $50 million to an unattainable $100 million.

"I think it's terrible," said Ann Marie Aylesworth, the mayor of Nicholson. "I think the railroad is doing a big injustice to the town of Nicholson and to the bridge."

Businesses in Nicholson say they've been preparing for this celebration for years, going as far as making custom yardsticks to celebrate the occasion.

"It's a little disappointing," said Tiffany Germana, the owner of Germana's Pizzeria. "We were expecting to get more business from it and people in town."

"It was going to be a nice addition to our celebration," said Lisa Mihalina of All Under One Roof in Nicholson. "After you think about it, and you still wake up this morning, we're still going to have the crowd and the parade and the celebration and the floats. The train doesn't come, then they train doesn't come. I figure it's their loss, not ours."

Canadian Pacific released the following statement in response:

"Canadian Pacific is responsible to our shareholders and our customers, and so we must safeguard our operation. Our liability insurance ask is consistent with that of other railroads and reflects legal settlements from passenger train incidents in recent years. While we are willing to run these types of trips; we simply must safeguard our operation as we do this."

All over, events are going on as planned for the celebration next month in Wyoming County. Barrett added that if you have purchased tickets, you will receive a refund for the face value amount of your tickets within 7-10 business days.