Train travel in the Catskills these days is more about recreation than transportation. Alas, only a few working segments still remain of the old Ulster and Delaware Railroad, which once traversed the Catskills from Kingston to Oneonta, ferrying coal and dairy through the mountains along with a bumper crop of New York City tourists. Two companies still run rail on the U&D track: the Catskill Mountain Railroad in Ulster County, and the Delaware and Ulster Railroad in Eastern Delaware County. Set foot on one of their lovingly restored coaches, and you'll feel like you stepped back in time to another era.
Catskill Mountain Railroad
The Catskill Mountain Railroad runs trains along two routes: The Esopus Scenic Trail, which travels along the Esopus River on a 5-mile stretch between Mt. Tremper and Boiceville, and the Kingston City Limited, which takes a 45-minute loop around the city. In 2011, flooding from Tropical Storm Irene washed out some of the railroad's working track on its western route; the railroad's all-volunteer crew is working to restore service from Mt. Tremper to Phoenicia. Trains run from late May through October, with special holiday trains in Kingston running in December. Kingston, Mt. Tremper.
Delaware and Ulster Railroad
This railroad's route begins in Arkville, just down the road from the Catskill Mountain Railroad's Mt. Tremper station and over the county line. The Delaware and Ulster runs trains along the longest working stretch of track in the Catskills; a 24-mile round-trip from Arkville to Roxbury takes two hours. Historic train-robbery reenactments are held about once a month, and the railroad also runs occasional evening rides with local bands performing on board. A special treat is a dinner aboard the art-deco Rip Van Winkle Flyer; groups of 25 or more can reserve space on the 125-seat train, with any extra seats made available to the public. Arkville.