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Rail bike tours offered between Saranac Lake, Lake Clear

July 3, 2015
By CHRIS KNIGHT ( , Lake Placid News

SARANAC LAKE - Train service isn't running yet in this area, but local residents and tourists now have another way to explore the rails.

Rail Explorers is a new company offering pedal-powered rail bike excursions between Saranac Lake and Lake Clear in partnership with the Adirondack Scenic Railroad.

"The railbike journey will take you past streams, across lakes and through forests that few have accessed before," reads a press release. "Experience this spectacular scenery in a fun and unique way. The ride is gentle and easy - suitable for all ages. Share this incredible experience in the two seat railbike, or bring the family and ride together in the four seat railbike."

Article Photos

A man and a boy ride a two-person rail bike.
(Provided photo — Brendan Wiltse)

Their website says, "The summer of 2015 represents the first time our railbikes have been ridden in the United States, and is the culmination of 3 years of hard work and preparation."

Bill Branson, president of the Adirondack Railway Preservation Society which does business as the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, said Thursday that the rail bike excursions were scheduled to start today, pending the removal of a piece of equipment from the tracks that's been used to replace ties on the railroad causeway through Lake Colby.

One-way rail bike tours leave from Saranac Lake four times a day, with returning rides from Charlie's Inn at Lake Clear, the press release states. The 6-mile journey takes about an hour to complete. A complimentary shuttle bus back to Union Depot in Saranac Lake is offered for those who only want to go one-way to Lake Clear.

Seats are limited with 12 rail bikes available per tour. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. More information is posted at

One challenge facing the new business is that the rails may be removed from this section of the state-owned Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor. Earlier this month, after years of swirling public debate, the state announced a plan to split roughly 80 miles of Adirondack corridor into two sections. Tracks would be renovated to extend tourist train service 45 miles from Big Moose to Tupper Lake, and the rails would be removed for the 34 miles between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, to be replaced with a multi-use recreational trail. A public hearing on this proposal is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 8 in the Tupper Lake Middle-High School auditorium.



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