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Jim Thorpe Caves (again)

Posted by kp5308 on Thu Feb 13 19:10:49 2020

RBMN 2, Borough of Jim Thorpe 0

The operator of a passenger train ride in picturesque Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, says it has resolved its tax dispute with the borough and is resuming trips.

Reading & Northern Railroad announced Tuesday its Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway rides are starting back up on Saturday, just in time for Winterfest in the Lehigh River community at the foothills of the Pocono Mountains.

Describing itself as primarily a freight company, Reading & Northern said last October it was ceasing the popular rides because it did not want to pay the borough’s amusement tax. Borough officials in November agreed to cancel a lawsuit seeking nearly $100,000 in back taxes, but the dispute continued until this week.

Jim Thorpe officials could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday on the announcement.

"We are pleased to resume service to and from Jim Thorpe and put the amusement tax issue behind us," Reading & Northern Railroad owner and CEO Andy Muller Jr. said in a statement. "We have consistently stated that we are not now, and have never been, an amusement. Reading & Northern is regulated strictly by the ... Federal Railroad Administration."

That agency regulates the freight company's track, rolling stock, engineers and conductors, Muller stated.

"We take railroading very seriously," he continued. "While we are primarily a freight railroad, handling a record-breaking 34,000 carloads last year, we love to provide passenger trips to the communities we serve."

The rides help pay back the railroad's host communities, Muller said. The company also helps draw people to town, noting in this week's announcement it spends over $50,000 annually on advertising and brochures promoting Jim Thorpe.

"As a result of those efforts, and the investments made by the railroad in its passenger fleet and services, over 200,000 people visited Jim Thorpe to see and ride the railroad," the company said in a news release. "The result of these investments has benefited the merchants and citizens of Jim Thorpe and Carbon County."

The Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau welcomed the announcement for the town once known as Mauch Chunk and renamed in 1954 in honor of the legendary athlete and Oklahoma Indian Jim Thorpe.

Chris Barrett, the visitors bureau president and CEO, called the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway "a wonderful attraction that brings guests from all over the country to enjoy a scenic train ride through the beautiful Pocono Mountains.

“Our visitors love the experience of riding this train throughout the year as it offers a unique way to enjoy one of our great small towns,” he continued in a statement. “We are grateful to LGSR, as well as all of the parties involved, in moving the future of the railroad forward as it is a significant economic generator for our region ... one which we support wholeheartedly.”
By Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.com posted 2/12/20

The title is mine along with this little tidbit: The merchants went off at one of the Jim Thorpe public meetings, providing financial details on their loss of revenue. I do not know if the Borough will be forthcoming on their losses but I would be surprised if they released anything. Hooray for Andy :o)


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