On November 25th the Lehigh gorge scenic railway closed. Just a month before, Jim Thorpe borough and the reading blue mountain northern railroad were disagreeing over whether the passenger train should be paying an amusement tax. We spoke with Greg Strubinger, the borough president: "we need to sort of sit back and look at the large picture. We don't have the luxury to take sides on issues, but look at the big picture and see whats in the best interest of everybody and that's sort of how this situation resolved itself."
whether the reading and northern will be paying back taxes, or new amusement taxes going forward is still unknown. Strubinger says they are still working out details "there still are some details of the understanding to be worked out, and that will take another 2 or 3 months and we cant comment right now."
one thing is for sure this is big for local businesses who count on tourist dollars. "we were happy to supply and support some information that showed what happens when this train is running and there is tourists here and how it effects the businesses, and i think that was really important for them to see." says Marlyn Kissner of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development.
although it was only a few months, Darren Behan the owner of Molly Maguires pub in Jim Thorpe says they saw a big drop in business, especially around the holidays. "After thanksgiving the Santa Claus train rides start so unfortunately we did meet up with some families that had preexisting reservations in town from earlier in the year that came to town so we did see some unhappy children that weren't going to have the Santa Claus train rides around."
If you'd like to know more about tickets, and upcoming schedules you can visit the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern website www.rbmnrr.com