Surviving the great train robbery of Arkville

The two-hour train ride from Arkville, NY to Roxbury runs through some of the most beautiful scenery in New York’s Catskills.

Add a dozen passengers in historically accurate attire, reenacting a 19th century train robbery, and you have all the makings of a fun-filled afternoon.

Oh, I know. I should be parked in front of my laptop, obsessing over the hurricane like the rest of my colleagues. But as a Florida resident and as a survivor of multiple storms, I know there’s not much you can do except, 1) get outta Dodge (done); 2) thank your lucky stars you’re not there (yep); and 3) don’t drink too much (roger).

So the train it was.

The Delaware & Ulster Railroad follows the tracks of the old Ulster & Delaware that ran to Oneonta in 1900. This train ride through the Catskill Mountains is widely considered one of the most scenic ones in New York, if not on the East Coast.

At this time of year, the apple trees bend under the weight of ripening fruit and the cornfields tower high above you. A warm breeze carries the scent of drying hay. The hills in Halcottsville rise up to the Plattekill Ski Area, which is covered in green.

It’s so vintage, you half expect someone in a hat to board your car.

And when he does, the plot begins to unfold. The “bad” guys are planning to steal a lockbox of gold from the Sheriff and his posse. After the train leaves Roxbury, the villains make their move, but are thwarted by the long arm of the law, until the train pulls into the station in Arkville.

And then … well, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Let’s just say my nine-year-old really got into it, to the point where he was trying to tip the authorities off to the whereabouts of the gangsters. (Think Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding — the show, not the movie — on rails. Or something like that.)

The Great Train Robbery runs through Sept. 10. Even if you don’t like reenactments, take this train some other time and enjoy the scenery. It’s definitely worth the drive.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Bodega

    Arkville is a great place to stop along a visit in the Catskills.  Right now they are getting hammered with rain from the hurricane, but when things settle down and if no damage is done, this is a wonderful ride to enjoy during fall when the leaves have changed color….which was already starting when I back there a couple of days ago.

  • Joyce

    Looks like you are finally having some fun!  Take care.  See you when you get back.  Joyce

  • Dorian

    Wow.. that sounds like a great time.. 

    Just as my “bucket list” was getting down to single digits, I add something new.

    Thanks for sharing

  • guest

    That area was really hard hit by the hurricane. Did the train survive?

  • Christopher Elliott

    I’m told the train doesn’t look so good after Irene. We’ll be back in the area this weekend, and will see if it’s still running.

  • Christopher Elliott

    Thanks. We’re looking forward to being back.