COPAKE FALLS — Friends of Taconic State Park has received permission from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to construct a railroad at the Copake Iron Works National Heritage Area Site in Taconic State Park. The group seeks to raise a total of $366,400 to fund the project.

The Copake Iron Works Railroad will take visitors around the historic site on a 900-foot-long loop track. The train, consisting of an engine, a tender car and two ore cars carrying 15 passengers, will operate from 2-4 pm on weekends and holidays from mid-May to mid-November. The train will circumnavigate the historic blast furnace, departing from and returning to a station house on Valley View Road in Copake Falls. Construction has already begun on the railroad tracks and station house; the Friends expect to complete the project next summer.

A capital campaign is now underway to help fund the construction of the railroad. Alexia Lalli, a noted preservationist and board member of Friends of Taconic State Park, is chairing the campaign. $174,000 of the $366,400 project cost has already been raised. All donors to the campaign will be acknowledged on the railroad’s station house.

In a press release, Jim Mackin, President of Friends of Taconic State Park said, “We are extremely proud of our work preserving the important history of the Copake Iron Works and it is thrilling to see construction begin on the Copake Iron Works Railroad.”

Lex Lalli said in a press release, “The railroad, along with other planned improvements to the historic site, will make the Copake Iron Works a major attraction in the larger area and provide a great economic boost to the community.”

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