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FBI offering $10K for information on railroad tampering in Saratoga County

Saratoga Corinth and Hudson Railway train car
Samantha Simmons
Saratoga Corinth and Hudson Railway train car

The FBI and Saratoga County Sheriff are offering up to $10,000 for information about tampering on a portion of the Saratoga Corinth and Hudson Railroad.

The 17-mile stretch of tracks are leased from the county by Hal Raven, owner of the Saratoga Corinth and Hudson Railway. It offers scenic tours and field trips. According to authorities, a railroad employee reported suspected tampering with the railway in June. The altered tracks are said to be parallel to Route 9, near Emery Lane in the Town of Corinth. Raven says minimal repairs were required and services went uninterrupted.

“Our maintenance patrols found it,” Raven said. “Our crews are very, very trained to look for these types of things and any safety concerns. And they knew right away that something was out of the ordinary and reported it. And we reported it to the authorities because obviously, you know, we don’t want these things happening out there on our line or anywhere else.”

Authorities say the tampering is believed to have occurred between June 5th and 8th. Raven shared few details regarding the incident Wednesday but says it’s believed to be a deliberate attempt to derail the train.

“It wasn’t your standard, you know, kids playing on the track, putting rocks or putting debris on the tracks and things like that,” Raven said. “It was done intentionally and, you know, you had to have some type of tools with you to be able to do something like this So, it wasn’t just your kids out there playing around.”

Saratoga Corinth and Hudson Railway has been running through the Southern Adirondacks since May 2022. Raven says the family-owned business is disheartened.

“Things like that, you know, really hit home because we obviously, we certainly care about our employees and our guests that ride the train and their safety is of utmost importance,” Raven said. “So, that’s why we wanted to make sure, you know, that we got right on top of this.”

The FBI and Saratoga County Sheriff called a press conference about the tampering but released few details.

Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in charge of the FBI’s Albany Field office, says threats to critical infrastructure are always investigated by the federal government.

“We’ve been working with the sheriff’s office, the case hasn’t just been stalled waiting for this. We’re still actively working but we really wanted to put out the reward in attempt to get additional leads,” she said.

DiGuiseppi says the perpetrator will face federal charges and asks the public to be on the lookout for any suspicious activity on or around the tracks.

“Nobody should be on the track,” DiGuiseppi said. “And nobody should be hunkered down over a railway. So, anything like that, or seeing anybody at night walking in that part of the area is just suspicious.”

Anyone with information can call the FBI tipline at 1-800-225-5324.

Meantime, DiGuiseppi will be heading to Washington, D.C. to help lead the agency’s Insider Threat Office. FBI Director Christopher Wray tapped her to be the Office’s assistant director this week. A former Air Force officer, DiGuiseppi joined the FBI in 1999 and has been assigned to offices in Salt Lake City, Iraq, Afghanistan, Memphis and Denver with experience in civil rights, public corruption and organized crime. She took over the Albany Field Office in 2021.

Samantha joined the WAMC staff after interning during her final semester at the University at Albany. A Troy native, she looks forward to covering what matters most to those in her community. Aside from working, Samantha enjoys spending time with her friends, family, and cat. She can be reached by phone at (518)-465-5233 Ext. 211 or by email at ssimmons@wamc.org.