Trolley from Cold Spring arrives in Beacon

This jolly trolley opened the vital Cold Spring- Beacon tourist corridor to fanfare and speeches - photo by Janine Stankus  
Cold Spring-Beacon transit corridor opens with much fan fare

Aug 6 - Visitors to Cold Spring and Beacon now have a truly touristy conveyance that will help them cross county lines. A cadre of local dignitaries boarded a Putnam County Transit trolley Thursday morning as it made its maiden voyage from the Cold Spring’s Main Street to the entrance of Mount Beacon, linking up with Dutchess County’s (decidedly less charming) Route G local bus. 

“I feel like I’m in San Francisco!” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro as he alighted the old-fashioned tram. Speeches were given. Two drivers shook hands. A ribbon was cut to goaded fanfare from a smattering of attendant press. No ice cream was served.

1104 County Exec Molinaro was an enthusiastic rider - photo by Janine Stankus
The trolley is touted by Putnam officials as “a safe way to travel between the two municipalities on weekends.” Safer than what? Walking 9D, apparently. Unless you’re Putnam County Legislator Barbara Scuccimara, who reportedly boarded the trolley in Cold Spring, but had vanished by the time Molinaro attempted to hand her the podium in Beacon.

In his own ceremonious preamble, the County Executive expressed lofty hopes for the new line. “It’s about connecting communities and connecting people,” he said, “Folks who have never met one another sitting on a train together maybe hiking up Mount Beacon together.” Six miles of scenery to inspire bonds with fellow travelers! Hints at swarms of weekend hikers hoofing it from Cold Spring to the foothills of Beacon may have floated throught the minds of whoever imagined the Cold Spring-Beacon Trolley weekend run, but so far suited politicians seemed to be the passengers who got them most of it.

1105 The ribbon was cut by a cadre of experienced ribbon-cutters caught by the press on camera - photo by Janine Stankus 

The purpose of the trolley line is to create a tourist loop between towns. Beacon Mayor Randy Casale has backed the project for over a year. Mary Kay Vrba, Executive Director of Dutchess County Tourism, noted that without a seven percent increase in sales tax revenue earned by investing more in local tourism, Dutchess County property owners might be paying another $600 in taxes this year. “People are coming, staying and spending money here,” she said. Ample reason for taxpayers to rejoice as public leaders lay out more red carpet.

The new trolley line is an alternative to a six mile drive or a one-stop ride on Metro North. This is fourth public bus route now running out of Beacon, adding to the Dutchess County’s own B, F and G lines. “Peter Seeger would be so proud,” said Dutchess County Legislator April Farley mentioning an environmental boon and a beloved folk-singer.  Who could argue with that?  

The connecting service will run Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 31. Fare is $2 for regular riders and just a buck for veterans and seniors—compared to $3.75 for a one-way train ticket or a $20 taxi ride. Putnam County officials will be posting the schedule soon. 

Janine Stankus returns to these pages after an absence of seven years during which she acquired a master degree and a long list of accomplishments.  She was The Millbrook Independent’s very first reporter.