Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Empire Corridor’

New Schenectady Station Opens 2 Weeks Early

October 19, 2018

The new Amtrak station in Schenectady, New York, has opened two weeks ahead of schedule.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Oct. 17 for the $23 million station that is served by Amtrak’s Empire Corridor trains as well as the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Adirondack and Ethan Allen Express.

Funding for the station included $19 million from the state of New York, $3.6 million from the Federal Railroad Administration, $220,000 from Amtrak and $48,000 from the Schnectady Metroplex Development Authority.

It is the third new station in the Empire Corridor to open in the past three years following station openings in Niagara Falls (2016) and Rochester (2017).

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Ceiling Collapse Closes Amtrak Station

July 6, 2018

A ceiling collapse prompted Amtrak to temporarily suspend service to Rome, New York, this week.

The ceiling fell in about 3:15 p.m. on Wednesday but just one person was in the depot at the time and was not injured.

Amtrak closed the station in order to make repairs, which are expected to take until at least July 10.

Passengers are being steered to the Utica, New York station 14 miles away.

New York Central built the Rome station between 1912 and 1914 and it has been owned by the City of Rome since 1988.

The station was renovated between 2002 and 2004. Trains stopping there include the New Y York-Toronto Maple Leaf and two Empire Service round trips.

NYC Bridge Removed for Repair

June 23, 2018

The Spuyten Duyvil Bridge in New York City has been removed and towed away so that it can be repaired.

The bridge, which spans the Harlem River, lies on the route of the Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf and Empire Corridor service.

Removal of the bridge prompted Amtrak to suspend the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited for the summer.

Once mechanical and electrical work on the bridge is completed, it will be put back into place and reopened by Sept. 3.

The bridge rehabilitation is part of a rebuilding of the Empire Connection, which also included lowering 645 feet of the Empire Tunnel on the route.

During a meeting with reporters, Amtrak’s chief operating office, Scot Naparstek, and its chief commercial officer, Stephen Gardner, gave an update on the work, which is part of a larger project to rebuild infrastructure at New York’s Penn Station.

The two Amtrak executives said the passenger carrier is seeking replacement equipment for the 500-car Amfleet I fleet, most of which is 40 years old.

They did not give a timetable for that replacement, but indicated that it is not imminent.

Amtrak has been refurbishing the interiors of its Amfleet I cars to give them a more modern look. Those cars are used largely on eastern corridor trains with a few assigned to Midwest corridor trains.

Amtrak Reportedly Will Suspend LSL New York Section During Penn Station Construction This Summer

March 1, 2018

An online report said that Amtrak plans to return FL9 locomotives to service this summer and temporarily drop the New York section of the Lake Shore Limited due to construction at New York Penn Station.

The report, which did not provide sources, said the FL9s are owned by the State of Connecticut and will be used as cab cars when some Empire Service trains begin using Grand Central Terminal.

The former New Haven locomotives are needed because for emergencies there must be an exit from a train in the Park Avenue Tunnel. Side doors cannot be used on outside tracks so passengers would need to be evacuated through the rear door

However, Amtrak’s P32AC-DMs locomotives lack a nose door. Therefore, the FL9s will be used to lead trains into Grand Central.  The trains will be turned there so that the FL9s will lead at all times.

The report said the FL9s will need to be rebuilt at the Amtrak shops in Rensselaer, New York, for cab car use.

Metro-North P32AC-DM engines are able to use the Park Avenue tunnel because they were built with nose doors.

The planned consists of Amtrak trains using Grand Central will be a cab car or non-powered F-9 leading; an unoccupied Amtrak P32AC-DM to provide traction and head-end power, and the train’s passenger cars.

During this period the Lake Shore Limited will continue to operate between Chicago and Boston.

50th Anniversary of Empire Corridor to be Marked

December 2, 2017

Amtrak and New York State on Monday will celebrate 50 years of Empire Service between New York and Buffalo, New York.

The event will be held at the Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station. Expected to be in attendance are elected officials, local dignitaries and prominent Albany civic leaders.

Amtrak plans to honor those who were at the New York Central in 1967 when the Empire Service was launched.

“Celebrating 50 years of rail passenger service is an accomplishment that Amtrak is proud to celebrate with all of its state partners and the communities along this route who have been integral to the Empire Service’s success,” said Joe McHugh, Amtrak’s vice president of state supported services and business development.

The Empire Service was the result of restructuring of NYC intercity passenger service that the railroad hoped would reduce its passenger financial deficit.

Many long-distance trains were restructured and lost their names. The NYC also discontinued the fabled 20th Century Limited.

When Amtrak began operations on May 1, 1971, the Empire Corridor hosted seven daily trains.

Today the corridor has 12 daily trains, although most of them operate only between New York and Albany-Rensselaer.

Amtrak restored service to Niagara Falls in 1971 and to downtown Schenectady in 1978.

Amtrak’s Empire Service trains are supported by funds made available by the New York State Department of Transportation.

Trains in the corridor use dual-mode locomotives, which enables the trains to operate under diesel power and then switch to electric third rail power for operation into and out of New York Penn Station.

Until April 7, 1991, Amtrak’s Empire Service trains used New York’s Grand Central Terminal.

A recent track rebuilding has resulted in a 45-mile stretch of track between Hudson and Schenectady having a top speed of 110 miles per hour.

New Niagara Falls Depot Still Without Trains

September 22, 2016

Niagara Falls, New York, has a state-of-the-art new $43 million intermodal station that was built to serve Amtrak, yet its trains continue to call elsewhere.

Amtrak 4The city and Amtrak have yet to agree on a lease agreement for the station, which remains closed until such a pact is reached.

“Amtrak continues to work with the City of Niagara Falls toward execution of a lease agreement allowing us to occupy space in the new train station,” said Amtrak spokesman Craig Schulz. “We are working through the remaining issues which we are optimistic can be resolved. We look forward to moving Amtrak operations into the new building and inaugurating service to the new station.”

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster has told local media that “the ball is now in Amtrak’s court.”

Work on the new station was completed this summer and an open house was held at which Amtrak showed off a display train.

In the meantime, Amtrak continues to use a facility in Niagara Falls near Lockport Road.

Amtrak to Suspend Empire Corridor Train

April 9, 2016

Amtrak plans to suspend one of its Empire Service trains for more than two months west of Rensselaer, New York, due to CSX track work.

The New York-Niagara Falls trains will not operate between Sunday and Wednesday starting April 24 and continuing through July 13.

Amtrak logoAt the request of CSX, Amtrak and the New York State Department of Transportation agreed to the service suspension, which has drawn criticism from the Empire State Passengers Association.

“This is an outrageous service reduction just as the busy spring and summer travel season gets under way to and from upstate cities and tourist destinations,” the passenger advocacy group said on its Facebook page.

New York helps fund service between New York and Niagara Falls, although most trains operate between New York and Albany-Resselaer.

Two roundtrips operate between New York and Niagara Falls. Most of the route is also served by the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited.

Amtrak and the NYSDOT are spending $300 million to lengthen platforms at the Albany-Rensselaer station, install a fourth track at the station complex, build a second track to alleviate congestion between Albany and Schenectady, and upgrade signal and crossing systems between Rensselaer and Poughkeepsie.

Amtrak P32AC-DM Locomotives Assigned to Empire Service Trains Getting Phase III Livery

January 13, 2016

Amtrak has repainted P32AC-DM No. 704 into its Phase III livery and sent it east to pull Empire Service trains in New York. The locomotive also features a special Empire Service emblem.

The unit was repainted at Amtrak’s Beech Grove Shops near Indianapolis and additional locomotives assigned to Empire Service trains are also expected to get that treatment.

“The locomotives used on the Empire Service are being repainted as part of their normal maintenance cycles,” Amtrak spokesman Craig Shulz said “The cost of this work is shared between Amtrak and the New York State Department of Transportation.”

The Empire Service corridor extends between New York City and Niagara Falls, New York. It also hosts the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited and the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf.

“Over the next several years, the entire Empire Service fleet of Dual Mode P-32’s will be similarly refreshed,” he said.

Amtrak Opens Temporary Rochester Depot

November 7, 2015

Amtrak opened a temporary station in Rochester, New York, this past week while the existing facility is razed and replaced by a larger and more modern facility.

The temporary deport is located on Central Avenue and is adjacent to the existing station, which Amtrak built in the 1970s.

The interim station will have a ticket office, waiting area and parking lot. Amtrak and New York officials expect the new $30 million station to open in fall of 2017.

That facility will feature a two-sided, high-level passenger platform that will be reached via an underground concourse.

Two Amtrak trains will be able to board simultaneously. Rochester is served by the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited, the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and New York-Niagara Falls, New York, Empire Corridor trains.

Pike Company of Rochester won the contract to build the new station.

 

Works Begins on New Amtrak Rochester Station

November 3, 2014

Construction of a new $29.8 million Amtrak station in Rochester, N.Y., has begun. The facility, which Amtrak will own, operate and maintain, will also serve local and intercity buses.

The new station is being built at the site of the existing Amtrak station.

The project is being funded by a $15 million grant through the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program.

The New York State Department of Transportation and Federal Railroad Administration provided $3.5 million for preliminary engineering, while the city of Rochester contributed $500,000 toward final design and construction. New York State rail funds will cover the remainder of project costs.

Rochester is served by the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited, the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and New York-Niagara Falls Empire Corridor trains.