September 14, 2019

Blues Express

We understand everyone’s disappointment regarding the decision about the Blues Express ending. The decision to discontinue the Cooperstown Blues Express Trains was made for several reasons:

1. The cost of insurance, due to alcohol being sold, had become prohibitive, if even obtainable.

2. Ridership in 2022 was down substantially from 2019, which was disappointing since these trains weren’t operated in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID.

3. As a not-for-profit organization, we no longer wanted to expose ourselves to the continued liability of running trains during which alcohol is sold.

4. As an educational organization we wanted to have our Saturday evenings available for more family friendly trains.

5. As an all-volunteer organization, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find crews willing to work until very late every Saturday evening, and then have an hour or more drive home. Our volunteer crews were lucky to be done with their duties before 11:00pm most Saturday evenings.

We made this decision after much consideration of the issues mentioned above. In addition, these trains were operated under an agreement with an outside party who arranged the bands, carried the liquor license, and paid a set fee. As our costs have risen sharply with inflation, they were unable to match those cost increases by increasing their fees to us. This made the business model untenable.

We do understand the popularity of these trains and their uniqueness in the area. I hope you can understand our concerns and limitations as a volunteer-based organization. Like any organization, we need to constantly review our operations and adjust them as time changes, especially in this post-COVID world we find ourselves in today.

Bruce J. Hodges, President
Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society
Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley Railroad