BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man is beginning to pick up steam in his vision for a dining service railroad car between Buckhannon and Elkins.
Dennis Cortes said he has had the idea for the business venture for over 20 years but it wasn’t until early 2017 that he began working to make that a reality.
With the help of small business coach Susie Higgins, Cortes has developed a business plan and taken some incremental steps in his establishment of The Buckhannon Upshur Rail Road LLC.
“We are still looking at least two years away from putting wheels to rails,” he said.
But when that does happen, Cortes envisions The B.U.R.R. Line Limited to be a weekend excursion train that would provide dinner for riders as they travel to Elkins.
There are two other railroad excursion trains there that the B.U.R.R. Line Limited could join in with.
“I don’t think there is any place in the United States that has three tourist railroads all working together,” he said. “We have two – The Tygart Flyer and the Cass Scenic Railroad.”
Adding B.U.R.R. would be unique and draw more attention, according to Cortes.
Once the dining service train is established, Cortes said he could see a smaller venture traveling from Buckhannon to Helvetia or as close to Pickens as it could go.
“There’s a lot of possibilities that we are going to be exploring in the future,” he said.
Cortes said he is a “serial entrepreneur” with the Buckhannon Upshur Rail Road LLC the seventh business he has started.
Born in Michigan, Cortes served in the U.S. Navy and lived in Michigan and Florida before settling in Buckhannon in 1994.
He founded Mountain State Video Imaging in June 2003 and sold it in 2005, but continues to volunteer there. He also is a life member of the American Legion Post 7 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 36.
Cortes is looking for investors for his project. To find out more, call 304-472-1104 or email [email protected].