CARVER, Mass. (AP) – Financial troubles have forced the former operator of Edaville Railroad to file for bankruptcy, but the cranberry country tourist attraction plans to remain open.

Facing nearly $1 million in unpaid bills, Cranrail Corp. filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Thursday, according to Jon Delli Priscoli, one of three partners who once ran Cranrail.

Delli Priscoli bought out his Cranrail partners in November 2002, and Edaville Railroad has been operated another company owned by Delli Priscoli, Caboose Entertainment, ever since.

In the meantime, Delli Priscoli said he tried to meet Cranrail’s debt, but was forced to file backruptcy.

“I stayed and tried and tried to work out the situation,” he said. “I had to clean up the mess and that’s what I’m doing.”

Cranrail must liquidate its assets, including some railroad property, as part of the proceedings. But Delli Priscoli said none of the assets that must be sold will stop the railroad from operating.

Delli Priscoli said he’ll shorten Edaville’s season, opening it only for various fall and holiday festivals after Labor Day.

The bankruptcy filing comes four years after Cranrail bought the abandoned railroad’s operation, its owners saying they hoped to turn the railroad into New England’s premier attraction for children ages 3 to 12.

The company spent several million on improvements, Delli Priscoli said, including building renovations and making the bathrooms handicap accessible.

But the renovated railroad struggled. Both of Delli Priscoli’s partners in Cranrail Corp., Douglas Beaton and John Flagg Jr., pulled out in November 2002.

Edaville Railroad was founded by cranberry farmer Ellis Atwood, who built the track around his plantation and began giving train rides to his friends in 1946. The rides grew in popularity and Atwood added a museum, a depot and a restaurant. The attraction first closed in 1991.

The site includes 51/2 miles of railroad lines, 210 acres of working cranberry bogs, a 300-acre Atwood reservoir and a variety of wildlife.

AP-ES-02-14-04 1553EST

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