Posts Tagged ‘Empire Service’

Some Keystone Service Being Restored

August 20, 2021

Amtrak said rising ridership has resulted in the restoration of some suspended services in its Keystone Corridor between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The trains affected operate on weekdays and provide some weekend service.

Effective Aug. 30, Trains 600, 645, 647, 650 and 654 will operate on weekdays from New York to Harrisburg.

Other weekday schedule changes include the following: Train 619 will operate from Philadelphia to Harrisburg; Train 622 will operate from Harrisburg to Philadelphia; Train 642 will operate through from Harrisburg to New York; and Train 655 will operate through from New York to Harrisburg.

On weekends Trains 661 and 667 will operate from New York to Harrisburg on Saturdays and Sundays.

Other schedule changes for weekend service are: Train 662 will operate from Harrisburg to New York on Saturdays and between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on Sundays; Trains 666 and 670 will operate from Harrisburg to New York on Saturdays and Sundays; and Trains 612 and 672 will operate to New York on Sundays.

In an unrelated schedule change, Amtrak said select trains will stop in New York between Rochester and Syracuse for the New York State Fair.

The special stops will be made between Aug. 20 and Sept. 6.

Eastbound trains stopping at the Fair include Nos. 64 and 284 while westbound trains making the stop include Nos. 63, 281 and 283.

The eastbound trains will depart from Niagara Falls, Buffalo Exchange Street, Buffalo Depew and Rochester 10 minutes earlier to accommodate the added stop.

Westbound trains will arrive 10 minutes later than normal at all stations west of the Fair stop.

Amtrak Acknowledges Changes Coming for Cardinal, Empire Service Due to Penn Station Construction

March 13, 2018

An Amtrak official has confirmed that the carrier plans to divert Empire Service trains this year to New York Grand Central Terminal during a construction project at New York Penn Station.

In a related development, Amtrak has also acknowledged it plans to temporarily cease operating the Cardinal between New York and Washington starting March 29.

The Empire Service diversion was discussed by Amtrak’s Empire District general superintendent, Kevin Chittenden, during a meeting of the Empire State Passengers Association.

Although he didn’t say when the diversion would take place, Chittenden said it would last for three months during the summer. During that time, the connecting track that Amtrak uses to move between Penn Station and Metro North tracks will be closed for maintenance.

Chittenden also indicated that Amtrak is considering used FL-9 locomotives as cab cars for trains going to and from Grand Central. However, Amtrak may also use cab cars in push-pull mode.

Amtrak diverted several Empire Service trains into Grand Central last summer, but continued to operate the Lake Shore Limited into Penn Station.

News reports have surfaced that Amtrak plans to temporarily drop the New York section of the Lake Shore while work is being done on the connection track to Penn Station.

As for the Cardinal, Amtrak said it is being terminated in Washington to relieve congestion at Penn Station.

The first eastbound train to terminate in Washington rather than run through to New York will leave Chicago on March 29. The first train to originate in Washington will depart on April 1.

Amtrak did not say how long Nos. 50 and 51 will continue to operate only between Chicago and Washington.

The Rail Passenger Association said that the advocacy group Friends of the Cardinal is preparing to enter into talks with the West Virginia Tourism Commission on support for making the Cardinal a daily service.

It currently operates tri-weekly, originating in New York on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, and originating in Chicago on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

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.

CSX Track Work to Disrupt Amtrak In New York

April 21, 2016

Amtrak has announced that some trains operating in New York State will have modified schedules due to CSX track work between April 24 and July 13.

Travel times between Albany-Rensselaer and Niagara Falls will increase by up to 25 minutes. Empire Service Nos. 284 and 281 will not operate Sunday through Wednesday.

Amtrak logoAlthough the number of trains operating between New York and Albany-Rensselaer and New York will not change, some trains will depart earlier.

Some trains will detour between Albany and Amsterdam via Colonie on April 24 and 25. Those set to take this route include the eastbound Lake Shore Limited, the Maple Leaf in both directions and No. 283. No. 282 will use the detour route on April 25 only.

No. 48 will stop in Amsterdam on both days. This train does not serve Amsterdam otherwise.

Digital Newspapers Come to Select Amtrak Trains

August 15, 2015

Amtrak will offer free digital newspapers for business class and first class passengers on select trains beginning Aug. 17.

The service will not be available on any long-distance or Midwest corridor trains, but will be offered on the Pittsburgh-New York Pennsylvanian, the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and on New York-Niagara Falls, New York Empire Service trains.

Passengers will have free unlimited access to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

To access digital newspapers, visit the AmtrakConnect page, click on the entertainment tab, and choose either The New York Times or The Washington Post.

Then, enter the access code located on a card in your seat back pocket. Acela Express passengers will not need a code to access digital newspapers.

Amtrak said it will discontinue offering hard copy newspapers on board trains for which digital service is available.

Other trains that will have digital newspaper service include Acela Express, Northeast Regional, Downeaster service, Carolinian, Ethan Allen Express, Vermonter, and Palmetto.

CSX Track Work May Delay Amtrak in New York

August 13, 2015

CSX track work between Buffalo and Albany, New York, might delay Amtrak trains for up to 45 minutes, Amtrak has said.

Affected will be the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf, the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited and Empire Service trains 280, 281, 283 and 288.

The track work is expected to be completed by late October.

Buffalo Eyes Replacing Exchange Street Station

July 17, 2015

Exchange Street station in Buffalo, New York, may be replaced by an underground facility, city officials say.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. say they want to place the station below an undeveloped tract of land north of the canal.

“Instead of getting off at a site that leads you to believe nothing is happening around you, you would now get off at a site where you’re entering what is planned to be a very vibrant area of the City of Buffalo,” said Brendan R. Mehaffy, executive director of the city’s Office of Strategic Planning.

The current station is a small brick structure located beneath an interstate highway interchange in downtown Buffalo.

It is served by Amtrak’s Empire Service trains and the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf.

In 2014, the station served 41,220 passengers, which was a 7.4 percent increase over 2013 patronage and more than double what it served in 2004.

Mayor Brown has been calling for a train station at Canalside for years.

“Erie Canal Harbor and the Mayor’s Office are on the same page about exploring the feasibility of putting the train station at the northern end of the site before any other projects are finalized,” Mehaffy said. “If we can get it done, it’s worth the investment in the area.”

Waterfront agency board member Sam Hoyt said the board has been discussing placing an Amtrak station on what is described as the northern Aud block.

“We are in the process of considering the next steps there, and a train station will absolutely be a part of that discussion,” he said.

Ten years ago, Hoyt called for having Amtrak use a proposed transportation that would have been placed at the site of the since demolished Memorial Auditorium.

A study conducted at the time found that a station at Canalside was feasible.

“We did thorough research when I was an assemblyman, and the answer is that the short tunnel under which the track goes underground could accommodate a station. It’s definitely doable,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt rode Amtrak between Buffalo and Albany when he served in the state assembly and said that a new station is long overdue.

“You want visitors welcomed by a good first impression,” he said. “As we have done with Buffalo Niagara International Airport, you are greeted by a beautiful state-of-the-art, well-designed airport. You come by Amtrak, and the message is certainly not that this is a city on the move, a city that is growing, prospering and has turned itself around.”

A new Amtrak station would require federal, state and city funds to build, but Hoyt said that hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in Canalside in recent years.

The site has also been listed as possible location for a new stadium for the NFL Buffalo Bills.

“Including a high-quality, intermodal station in the future development of the Aud site makes enormous sense,” Hoyt said. “The Mayor’s Office and Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. agree that if we’re going to do a station in Buffalo, it ought to be at that site.”

Bruce B. Becker, president of the Empire State Passengers Association, agreed that the current station needs to be replaced.

“We feel Exchange Street is barely adequate, given the increasing ridership out of the station,” Becker said. “Our organization feels adamantly that with the development of downtown and Canalside and HarborCenter, there is a need for a much-improved Amtrak facility serving downtown.”

Amtrak serve Buffalo through two stations. The Empire corridor trains, Maple Leaf and the Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited all stop at a station in suburban Depew.

Niagara Falls City Council Agrees to Kick in More Money Toward Building New Amtrak Station

July 7, 2015

An additional $380,000 has been kicked in by the Niagara Falls (New York) city council toward the third phase of construction of a new Amtrak station.

The money will be used to pay for an additional security position at the station construction site, LED lighting for the parking lot, indoor seating at the station and newly identified construction needs.

The $43 million project has had $622,250 in total change orders approved by the council since it began.

Mayor Paul A. Dyster said all costs were unanticipated, except the flagger, who will coordinate the passage of trains through the construction site.

He said the cost of the flagger was anticipated through the project’s contingency budget and will cover the position’s salary for the project’s duration.

“We knew of this since we came forward with the new budget,” he said.

However, Dyster said that that personnel cost had been “kicked down the road” since the project’s inception, when New York state intervened after no bid came within the city’s proposed budget.

Council Chairman Andrew Touma said that despite the additional funds approved by the council that the Niagara Falls International Railway Station and Intermodal Transportation Center remains within budget.

Niagara Falls is served by the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf and two Empire Service roundtrips to and from New York City that terminate in Niagara Falls.

Lake Shore Limited to be Restored Today

November 21, 2014

Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited will be restored today after a three-day suspension prompted by heavy snow in the Buffalo, N.Y., area.

Nos. 48 and 49 will depart as scheduled while New York-Niagara Falls, N.Y., Empire Service will not be fully restored until Saturday.

A modified schedule of Empire Service trains will operate today west of Albany-Rensselaer, N.Y., to and from Syracuse/Buffalo/Niagara Falls.
The New York-Toronto Maple Leaf was restored on Thursday.

Amtrak said that all trains operating through Buffalo will be subject to delay due to the very heavy snowfall and rail traffic congestion that resulted from temporary railroad closures.

Trains north and south of Albany-Rensselaer continued to operate this week.