[Hpn] Train cars will be leaving Market St. station for good

William C. Tinker wtinker@verizon.net
Wed, 18 Apr 2007 07:19:55 -0400

Train cars will be leaving Market St. station for good
County authority selling Amtrak car and Flagler private car for $15,000 
JENNIFER LEARN-ANDES   jandes@timesleader.com

Though painful to some, the Luzerne County Redevelopment Authority voted 
Tuesday to sell two train cars at the Market Street train complex in 
downtown Wilkes-Barre.

R.M. Delevan Inc., of Duryea, will pay $15,000 each for the Amtrak and 
Flagler car.

Authority member Diane Kopcha Katlic said she is torn because she would like 
to see the cars preserved and kept at the site for historical purposes. 
Board member Eileen Melone agreed.

However, Kopcha Katlic made a motion to sell because the authority doesn't 
have the money to restore them.

Authority Director Allen Bellas said the Amtrak car doesn't have historical 
value, and he estimated it would cost $750,000 to restore the Flagler car.

The cars were not incorporated in plans to develop the complex into a 
visitor center and eatery, he said.

R.M. Delevan will be responsible for obtaining permits and paying to remove 
the cars from the site.

Even if the authority opted to hold onto them, the cars would have to be 
removed and stored under cover because more than a decade of exposure to bad 
weather and recent vandalism are destroying them, Bellas said.

"We have homeless people sleeping underneath them and people breaking into 
them," he said.

A Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum in Florida and the Flagler Museum in 
Florida were interested in the private rail car that belonged to the family 
of railroad pioneer Henry Flagler, Bellas said. It was not clear what R.M. 
Delevan will do with the cars.

Bellas noted that a private organization has been set up to restore the 
Vulcan Iron Engine that was housed at the site - a project that is already 
estimated to cost more than $300,000.

The engine was constructed in Wilkes-Barre by a Luzerne County-based 
company, Vulcan Iron Works, for the U.S. Army.

In other business Tuesday, the authority:

. Tabled plans to build a water tower in Swoyersville that will open up 
roughly 50 acres of land for development. Authority members are waiting for 
design plans and a cost estimate. The project will be funded by a tax 
revenue diversion program that has already been approved by Luzerne County 
commissioners, Swoyersville Borough Council and the Wyoming Valley West 
School Board, Bellas said.

. Approved a plan to fund $2.2 million in work on the Murray Complex in 
Wilkes-Barre. Similar to the Swoyersville water tower plan, taxes on 
improvements made at the complex will be diverted to help pay off the $2.2 
million loan. It's part of an $18.6 million project to build condominiums 
and commercial space. The county, Wilkes-Barre and Wilkes-Barre Area School 
District have approved the tax diversion, Bellas said.

Jennifer Learn-Andes, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at