Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Empire Corridor’

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.

Buffalo Woman Learned From TV Report that Her Car Had Been Stolen, Smashed by Amtrak Train

September 25, 2014

You know its not going to be you day when you get up in the morning, turn on the TV news and see a story about your stolen car was smashed by an Amtrak train.

That was how Melissa Benitez of Buffalo, N.Y., learned on Wednesday about the fate of her car.

The vehicle had disappeared the previous weekend, but Benitez, who also had been married that weekend, thought that a friend or family member was pulling a prank.

But when she saw the report on WIVB-TV she realized that it was her car and that it had not been missing because of a prank.

She called 9-1-1 and the TV station. “I’ve seen your footage on TV and I’m like ‘Oh no. It’s gone. It’s gone gone,” ” she told the station after seeing the report on the station’s

News 4’s WakeUp! program.

The vehicle, a 1993 Honda Civic hatchback with 50,000 miles on it, was struck by an eastbound Empire Corridor train around 5:30 a.m. along Niagara Street near Forest Avenue in Buffalo. The Honda had apparently been abandoned there.

Benitez said she can’t understand why someone would steal her car and that her neighbors had not heard anything unusual when the vehicle disappeared.

“There wasn’t any broken glass, there wasn’t anything. I didn’t hear anything,” she said. “I have a quiet neighborhood, I know all my neighbors.”

No one aboard the Amtrak train, which had departed earlier from Niagara Falls, N.Y., were injured.

Buffalo Police called her a short time after the accident to inform her that it was her car that had been involved in the incident. Police continue to investigate.

“I’ve been relying on friends and family for rides,” she explained. “It’s hard when you go to school full-time and work full-time.”

Amtrak Extends Delay Warning for LSL

September 23, 2014

Amtrak has extended through Oct. 29 its notification of possible delays on trains traversing New York State on the CSX Water Level Route.

The Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited, which serves Northeast Ohio, will be subject to delays of up to 45 minutes on Sunday through Wednesday due to CSX track work between Buffalo and Rome, N.Y.

Also affected are the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and the New York-Niagara Falls, N.Y., Empire Service trains.

Amtrak said passengers should sign up for delay notifications when booking their travel and to check the status of their train on, its mobile apps or at 800-USA-RAIL (800-872-7245).

CSX Wants Seperate Empire Corridor Track

June 27, 2014

CSX is demanding a separate track for passenger trains operating more than 79 mph between Albany and Buffalo, N.Y.

The company made the demand in a filing that is part of a preliminary environmental impact statement for a proposal to raise the maximum speed limits for Amtrak trains using the Empire Corridor to 90 or 110 mph.

CSX said the dedicated passenger track would allow speeds of up to 125 mph.

The former New York Central Water Level Route between Schenectady and Buffalo sees 70 to 75 trains daily. It is, CSX said, the company’s “most important line” in its network. Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited, New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and New York-Niagara Falls Empire Service trains use the route.

The railroad said that adding additional passenger trains would only add more congestion, causing delays and hindering access to freight customers on sidings along the main line.

Without adequate separation between the freight tracks and a newly constructed passenger track, high-speed trains also would pose increased danger to CSX track crews, it said.

CSX criticized the methods used to compile the draft statement, saying the projected costs don’t include payments for use of CSX property, which it said is worth “billions.”

The railroad also contended that the draft statement doesn’t reflect the detrimental environmental impact that would result from shifting freight traffic from trains to less fuel-efficient trucks as shippers facing delays from the added rail congestion moves freight to the highways.

CSX said that increase in truck traffic would lead to additional road and bridge maintenance cost.
The CSX filing said the statement fails to consider other, more cost-effective, ways to improve passenger mobility, including improved bus service and air service.

However, the filing doesn’t acknowledge that scheduled air service along the Albany-Buffalo corridor is nonexistent because air carriers have been unable to serve the route profitably.

CSX did note the relative lack of population density and transit connections around existing stations in Buffalo, Syracuse, Utica, Rome, and the Capital Region, factors that could affect demand for the service.

The railroad said the study should have considered the Albany-New York City and Albany-Niagara Falls segments as different corridors, allowing policy makers to proceed with improvements on the first and choosing the “no-build” alternative for the second.

CSX freight trains do not use the same tracks s Amtrak uses between Albany and New York City.

The New York State Department of Transportation collected comments from the public during several meetings across the state and through written submissions. On March 21, it extended the deadline for comments to April 30. CSX filed its comments that day.

The final draft environmental impact statement is expected to be released six months to a year after the comment period ends. Another environmental impact statement on the alternative selected will then be produced.

Niagara Falls Amtrak Station Construction Begins

June 11, 2014


The New York-bound Maple Leaf pauses at the Niagara Falls, N.Y., Amtrak station in May 2014.

The New York-bound Maple Leaf pauses at the Niagara Falls, N.Y., Amtrak station in May 2014.

Ground was broken recently for the International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center that will serve Amtrak in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

The center will feature a two-story station with a glass atrium connecting to the renovated former U.S. Customs House. Local leaders hope that the facility will attract tourists and local residents due to its location in relation to downtown.

“Its location is key, right between the Main Street Business District and the Niagara Gorge Tourism corridor,” said New York Senator Charles Schumer says.

Amtrak currently uses a brick building located on the corner of 27th and Lockport Streets adjacent to a CSX freight yard. Niagara Falls is the western terminus of two Empire Corridor roundtrips between New York and Niagara Falls. The New York-Toronto Maple Leaf also serves Niagara Falls.

The $25 million Intermodal Transportation Center is being funded by federal, state and casino dollars. It’s expected to be finished by the end of 2015 or early 2016.

Niagara Falls Getting new Amtrak Station

April 28, 2014

Amtrak trains serving Niagara Falls, N.Y., will soon be getting a new station after the city council voted to award a $22.7 million construction contract

The new transportation center will service Amtrak’s New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and serve as the eastern anchor of the Empire Corridor.

The facility will include facilities for customs and immigration officials.

“This is something moving forward that we need to have in place,” said Councilman Andrew Touma.

“We get 8 million visitors a year and we need to give them options and we need to give them quality options.”

Construction is expected to get underway in May. The project will be completed in three phases, and cost a total of $40 million.