Rail Bikes In Phoenicia On The Former Ulster & Delaware Corridor-First Of Its Kind In The Area
Phoenicia, NY: County Executive Michael P. Hein and owners of Rail Explorers Mary Joy Lu and Alex Catchpoole were joined this morning by Ulster County Legislators, Local Officials, as well as members of the Empire State Railway Museum, the Ulster County Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, representatives from local businesses and the community for a ribbon cutting at the Empire State Railway Museum in Phoenicia. Rail Explorers is a rail bike attraction where passengers can travel along the former Ulster and Delaware (U&D) corridor between Phoenicia and Boiceville which runs along the Esopus Creek. All excursions begin at the Empire State Railway Museum and the round trip is eight miles long. In addition, the bikes are outfitted with electric assistive motors for areas of track that are on an incline, and they engage when riders pedal up the slope on the return leg of the ride. They have a total of four tandem (2 person) bikes and three quad (4 person) bikes. The business officially opens on Saturday, May 26th and is sold out for that day and they have already pre-sold 2,000 tickets to date. Tickets are still available for the season. For more information please call 1-877-833-8588 or visit www.railexplorers.net.
Michael P. Hein, Ulster County Executive
“I am excited to celebrate the grand opening of Rail Explorers in the Catskill area,” said County Executive Mike Hein. “This operation is the first of its kind in Ulster County and will serve as an additional draw for tourists from throughout the region and will help further grow our $544 million tourism sector. Visitors get to experience the beauty of the Catskills as they enjoy a healthy outdoor activity on the rail bikes. Not only will visitors be able to learn the history of the railroad right here at the Empire State Railway Museum, but they will eat at local restaurants, visit local businesses and make overnight accommodations. Rail Explorers will be an amazing asset to our community and I appreciate the partnership between Rail Explorers and the Empire State Railway Museum to make this possible.”
Mary Joy Lu, Owner, Rail Explorers
“We are excited about starting operations in the Catskills,” stated Rail Explorers CEO Mary Joy Lu. “We appreciate the warm welcome received from Ulster County and County Executive Mike Hein and look forward to becoming an integral part of the community and an important part of the local tourism economy.”
James Maloney, Vice Chairman, Ulster County Legislature, Chair of the Ulster County Legislature’s Trails and Rails Advisory Committee
"It's a great day welcoming Rail Explores to Ulster County,” said James Maloney, Vice Chairman, Ulster County Legislature, Chair of the Ulster County Legislature’s Trails and Rails Advisory Committee. “Everyone should enjoy this new recreational experience and take in the beauty of the Catskills."
Kathy Nolan, Ulster County Legislator
"As a unique outdoor recreational experience, Rail Explorers makes it possible for families, regardless of age or physical ability, to have fun together through an active, exciting self-propelled rail bike ride in the heart of the Catskills Park," said Kathy Nolan, Ulster County Legislator representing Shandaken and the other western-most towns of Ulster County. "Add in a new way to appreciate the beauty of the nearby Esopus Creek and the Catskill Mountain Scenic Byway, plus the rail heritage of Phoenicia and the Empire State Railway Museum, and we have a fantastic recipe for health, environmental stewardship, and economic success.”
Paul LaPierre, Board Member, Empire State Railway Museum
“With the establishment of Rail Explorers' operation on the Empire State Railway Museum's campus in Phoenicia comes the opportunity for growth for both organizations; for the museum it will mean more visitors, exposing them to the story of the railroads, their role in local history and the development of the Catskills, while the rail riders will experience the rails in a new, exciting and different way that compliments the train ride of the Catskill Mountain Railroad and the rail trail,” said Paul LaPierre, Board Member, Empire State Railway Museum.
Come Fourth of July, Rail Explorers will be open for business seven days a week through Labor Day and then four days until Halloween. Rail Explorers is currently seeking to hire approximately thirty individuals over the age of 18 years for the summer. For more information on Rail Explorers please visit https://www.railexplorers.net.
Rail Explorers was selected in 2017 for a five year operating permit in the Western Segment of the County's Ulster & Delaware Railroad Corridor after responding to a Request for Proposals based on the December 2015 rail and trail compromise policy established by County Executive Hein and the Ulster County Legislature. The rail bike operations are one of only two in New York State, one being in the Adirondacks run by another company. Rail Explorers also have operations in Rhode Island and Las Vegas and to date have had over 70,000 riders.
Pictured Above: County Executive Hein with Ulster County Legislators, Local Officials, and Rail Explorers.
Pictured Below: 1) Ribbon Cutting (from left): Ulster County Legislator James Maloney, Ulster County Legislator Kathy Nolan, Chair of the Ulster County Legislature Ken Ronk; Alex Catchpoole and Mary Joy Lu, Owners of Rail Explorers; County Executive Hein; Paul LaPierre of the Empire State Railway Museum, Carol O'Beirne, Executive Director of Central Catskills Chamber of Commerce, Ulster County Legislator Herb Litts; and Town of Shandaken Supervisor Rob Stanley; 2) Mary Joy Lu, Owner of Rail Explorers, County Executive Hein, and County Legislator Kathy Nolan