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September 26, 2013

Last train: Cooperstown Blues Express makes final trip of the season

By Bera Dunau Staff Writer
Cooperstown Crier

---- — The Cooperstown Blues Express will be making its final trip of the season Saturday.

“Hasn’t been my best one hasn’t been my worst one,” said Paul Fish, in describing the Cooperstown Blues Express’ season.

Fish volunteers with the Blues Express now, but he ran it for eight years. This year he turned the business over to his partner.

The Cooperstown Blues Express bills itself as, “the area’s only rolling night club.” Every Saturday from May 18 to Sept. 28, the Blues Express takes over the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad.

“It’s one of our most popular trains by far,” said Leatherstocking Railway Historical Society President Bruce Hodges.

The historical society owns and operates the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad and the Cooperstown Blues Express rents the train from it.

“It’s been a great business for us,” said Hodges, “As far as name recognition for the railroad, it’s that.”

Boarding begins at 6:30 p.m. in Milford at the Milford Train Depot, and the train departs at 7:00 p.m., returning to Milford at 10 p.m. Over the course of the ride, patrons get to listen to Blues music from a live band that plays on an open air gondola car. This car also serves as a dance floor.

“They play under the stars a lot, and a full moon occasionally,” said Fish.

In addition to the gondola car, the express also utilizes a caboose, a dining car, and passenger cars.

Fish says that the bands that play on the express come from all over. This year the express hosted groups from such places as Syracuse, New Paltz and Boston, as well as local favorites the Horseshoe Lounge Playboys.

“They’re all good, that’s the thing,” said Fish, when asked about any particular highlights of the season

This Saturday Albany’s SoulSky, formerly known as Folded Sky, will be playing the express. SoulSky bills itself as a, “dynamic, bluesy, jammy, rock band.”

As for how musicians like playing on a moving train, Fish said, “Bands love it.”

“It’s unique,” said Fish, when asked about the atmosphere the train creates. “It’s a Blues crowd.”

He also said that people have ridden the express from all across the country, and that this year it had a large number of passengers from Canada.

“What I consider my business is the clientele,” said Fish. “I have a lot of repeat clients.”

Those interested in more information or reservations on the Cooperstown Blues Express can call 607-432-2824 or email cooperstownbluesexpress@gmail.com.

Patrons must be 21 or older to board the train and tickets are $18 a person.