Officials have been trying to meet with Muller and work out an agreement for weeks, he said. Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway says it will offer refunds to people who already bought tickets for its Santa Claus train rides, and says the closure will not affect Reading Blue Mountain & Northern passenger operations from other locations to Jim Thorpe. The company maintains the ride is not an amusement and exempt from the tax. RBMN owner Andy Muller Jr. said his train was not an amusement, that he was “offering passenger excursion rides to local communities as a way of thanking them for their support over the years and to educate young and old in the glorious role railroads in this region played in our country’s industrial revolution.”. Do Trump’s legal challenges have any hope of changing Pa’s election results? No, not that Four Seasons. The train had been seeing steadily increasing ridership, to about 100,000 in 2017, according to the publication Railway Age. Subscribe today », Kurt Bresswein | For lehighvalleylive.com, Other businesses pay it and don’t question it. Before that, it had a site in Nesquehoning. "RBMN is in the freight business," owner Andy Muller Jr. said in a statement. Jim Thorpe train rides are back Amanda Eustice 8/14/2020. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. I have offered passenger excursion rides to local communities as a way of thanking them for their support over the years and to educate young and old in the glorious role railroads in this region played in our country's Industrial Revolution.". The borough had claimed that the rail operator owed nearly $100,000 in amusement taxes. Kurt Bresswein may be reached at kbresswein@lehighvalleylive.com. It is the lone operator of passenger train rides there, through a rail lease with the county, according to the borough. The tax is 5% on tickets payable to the borough, in addition to 2.5% charged by the Jim Thorpe Area School District, the newspaper reports. In a statement Wednesday, it slammed borough council and Mayor Michael Sofranko for publicly demeaning the company and its owner, Andy Muller Jr., through “false and misleading" statements.”. “My office will be working to try to bring all parties together to find a solution to the issues involved so we can keep the trains running in Jim Thorpe for all to enjoy for many more years to come.”, Morning Call reporter Daniel Patrick Sheehan can be reached at 610-820-6598 or dsheehan@mcall.com. “They can’t pick and choose who they’re going to tax,” Sofranko said of Berkheimer’s lawsuit on the borough’s behalf. “I understand those businesses are making money because he’s bringing people to town,” the mayor said of Muller, “but what if they just dumped all the people off in Jim Thorpe and there was nobody there to deal with the pedestrians or there were no shops open, well then he wouldn’t be here. Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway announced Wednesday it is ceasing train operations Nov. 25 in Jim Thorpe, over a tax dispute with the borough. Here are the key numbers to watch, Man dies after he and three others are shot in Allentown Sunday, MAP: Where coronavirus is in Pennsylvania, Honor Lehigh Valley vets at these Veterans Day events, Pennsylvanians, don’t bring your bong to New Jersey just yet, despite vote to legalize recreational marijuana. We are located at: 1 Susquehanna street, Jim thorpe, pa 18229 . Yet the railroad operator in Wednesday’s statement alleged the “Jim Thorpe Borough government has done NOTHING to assist the railroads” during 15 years of train rides that have “brought over a million people to Jim Thorpe.” The company says the state grant was for an inspector on site during the borough’s projects and “has nothing whatsoever to do with excursion trains.”. Could a parking garage ruin an iconic church on a Pennsylvania mountain. The borough's tax collector, Bangor-based Berkheimer, sued the train operator seeking nearly $100,000 in back amusement taxes for 2016 through 2018, according to Wednesday's statement. I have offered passenger excursion rides to local communities as a way of thanking them for their support over the years and to educate young and old in the glorious role railroads in this region played in our country’s industrial revolution. See the beautiful Lehigh Gorge State Park by train! Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad, Popular scenic train leaving Jim Thorpe for good over $100,000 tax bill, Danger, beauty, and grief at the end of a popular hiking trail in Jim Thorpe. Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon, called a ride on the railroad a “unique experience,” saying he was concerned over what it would mean for Jim Thorpe and the region. Streets of Southside Bethlehem become the canvas in new ‘Urban Arts Trail’, Cat at Northeast’s highest peak dies after 12 years on duty, Where are Pa. coronavirus cases rising? Kurt Bresswein file photo | For lehighvalleylive.com, You can support your local news source. Business owner Darren Behan told borough council at its meeting last week that if the railroad pulled out, it could cripple Jim Thorpe’s tourism business, according to the Times-News. Jim Thorpe, home to historic churches, an opera house, and a haunted prison, thrives on tourism. It’s everybody helping everybody.”. How Team Trump’s news conference ended up at a Northeast Philly landscaping firm. The company says it plans soon to announce new schedule of rides from other communities at rbmnrr-passenger.com. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, which operated in Jim Thorpe for 15 years, closed down in November after a tax fight with the Carbon County borough. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway stops at Old Penn Haven for a brake check before returning to the old Central Railroad of New Jersey Station in Jim Thorpe in 2005. In the 2019-20 school year, LCCC paid the district about $195,000 to lease the space inside the school. LCCC has had a Jim Thorpe site since 2014. The borough changed its name in 1954, dropping Mauch Chunk and taking up the name of Olympic legend Jim Thorpe, a Native American from Oklahoma whose remains are entombed in a mausoleum in the town. That was the scene this past weekend, as it’s been for more than a decade, in Jim Thorpe, seat of Carbon County’s government at the foothills of Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains. Jim Thorpe police and the Jim Thorpe Tourism Agency also pay for traffic control across Route 209 that separates the county’s parking lot and the railway stop from other borough businesses and attractions, Sofranko noted. In September, the borough’s tax collection agency, Berkheimer, filed suit in an attempt to recover about $95,000 it says the operator owes in unpaid amusement taxes from 2016 to 2018. “It’s a pass-through tax,” borough council President Greg Strubinger said, according to The Times News. Leading local stories delivered on weekday mornings, Lehigh election judge facing criminal ballot tampering charges decides to resign after all, Threat of lawsuits looms as Pennsylvania vote count grinds on, Mammoth great white shark Nukumi reaches New Jersey coast, Pennsylvania coronavirus update: Two-day count is 6,311 cases, as Northampton County joins Lehigh County in ‘substantial’ transmission category. The train station in downtown Jim Thorpe is reflected in the window of a Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway car in this file photo. 570-325-8485 *By riding on this train trip you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Reading & Northern Railroad or any of its affiliates, employees, agents, contractors or owners liable for any injury or illness. Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission. “We have consistently stated that we are not now, and never have been, an amusement,” Muller said in a news release. These two Lehigh Valley drive-thru holiday lights displays will brighten your season, Emmaus and Parkland high schools to be closed this week because of coronavirus cases, Mistrial declared in case of man accused of killing mother of his children with golf club, Backpage is gone, but a more graphic version is again fueling prostitution busts in the Lehigh Valley, Man dies in crash on Center Street in Bethlehem, coroner reports. Borough council last week agreed to an extension until Dec. 2 to pay the amount owed and is willing to meet with Muller to discuss the issue, Mayor Michael Sofranko told lehighvalleylive.com. LCCC’s lease with Jim Thorpe will terminate at the end of December. The Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad company refuses to pay the borough's amusement tax, insisting it is not an amusement. Diesel and coal smoke wafted skyward as train whistles sounded and hordes of tourists sat back to enjoy the fall foliage aboard railcars rumbling along the Lehigh River. "That is where we make our money. © 2020 The Philadelphia Inquirer, LLC Terms of Use/Privacy Policy. Last year, Glen Onoko Falls, one of the state’s most popular hiking trails, was closed in Jim Thorpe after a long history of injuries and fatal falls there. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway carries passengers in vintage coaches on a scenic trip along the Lehigh River through Glen Onoko and into the Lehigh Gorge State Park.