Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

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Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:43 pm

I was biking the other day and ruminating (as I passed over the remaining rail line) how it was a shame that Troy (NY) itself didn't have any service.
Yes, it's close to Albany-Rensselaer, but still.

And then I was thinking about the now double-tracked line to Schenectady.

Then I started to wonder, how viable would it be for Amtrak to extend a currently Albany terminating train to Troy and another to Schenectady.

Something like start train 230 in Troy and 232/250 in Schenectady.
And then extend 243 to Schenectady and overnight it there and 245 to Troy and overnight it there (or since it's so close to ALB, just return and back it up in the morning.)

Yes, these would be minor changes and only increase the catchment basin a bit, but could add in mobility for both cities.

Just an idea, with a relatively low cost (Troy would need a platform and some parking, but that's possible around 4th and Adams.)
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:51 pm

I doubt if it would be worth it. Troy is maybe 15 minutes from the Rensselaer station, the track to Troy is industrial track at best and no longer goes in to the downtown areaof Troy. A good connecting bus could work, be a lot quicker to establish and cheaper and could directly serve the colleges and could work well.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby shlustig » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:07 am

Some people may recall that back in the 1980's #76 ran DHE to Schenectady, boarded pax, ran back to ALB, loaded up, and ran express to GCT, 2' 12" from ALB to GCT best time.

Evening return was #75 that ran to SDY (express to ALB) and returned to ALB.

Train consist was 5- or 6-car Turbo and was always loaded.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:13 am

I think that Greg's idea has some merit, especially given Schlustig's observation about the previous operation. How's the parking going to be at Schenectady, once the new station is in service? If the first train is crowded, then the new double track would allow the flexibility to run a second deadhead up to SDY for a run to NYC.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Greg Moore » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:12 am

I agree that a Troy Bus would be cheaper, but in general studies have found something that's more "permanent" (i.e. train over bus, trolley inside a city over a bus) tends to have a greater return on investment (basically it seems that people see it as something that wouldn't be taken away easily).
Honestly, I think the Capital District should be looking at some sort of light-rail and I've proposed to a few, one from Troy, to Rensselaer, over to Albany. This is just a variation on that.

The ideal part of the Troy extension is minimal investment in equipment/time from Amtrak's part.

As for Schenectady, I do recall that exited up until the 90s (coworker rode it more than once).

In general, especially now that Albany has 4 usable tracks, and the double-tracking is complete, I think Amtrak and the Capital District (and state of NY) need to look at how they could make it a more usable reasonable hub.

This should include express busses to the airport, as well as actually using the bus bays already built into the lower level of the station.

Some of this would be fairly simple to do and really cost Amtrak nothing (and I'll continue to take up with the local transit agency).
Some of it, is in fact on Amtrak.

I'd suggest a "shuttle" to at least Chatham, if not Pittsfield, but I think that's more a local issue. To me though, connecting to Chatham is almost a no-brainer other than the fact the train arrives in Albany facing the "wrong" direction for trips to NYC.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Ridgefielder » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:19 am

Greg Moore wrote:I'd suggest a "shuttle" to at least Chatham, if not Pittsfield, but I think that's more a local issue. To me though, connecting to Chatham is almost a no-brainer other than the fact the train arrives in Albany facing the "wrong" direction for trips to NYC.

There's really no point in a Chatham shuttle, though. That part of the state is strikingly underpopulated. I've driven through the area many times on the way to Vermont and you'd swear sometimes you were a hundred miles farther north-- especially at night. And for someone looking to get to NYC from Chatham you're better off going to Hudson- it's a straight shot 14 miles down NY 66, the Union Turnpike. A bus could probably do it in <30mins, including a stop in Ghent.

The only reason to poke east on the Boston & Albany would be to get to Pittsfield and Springfield. Those are the population centers in that direction, not eastern Columbia County.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby rohr turbo » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:25 am

I do remember the GCT-SDY trains of the early 80s. "Electric City Express" # 72, 75. I took them a few times -- fairly light load on the ALB-SDY segment.

However, these trains made all stops (at least in '82). And the positioning moves from Rensselaer in the morning and evening were not deadhead; they were revenue.

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?grou ... &item=0026
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:06 pm

Lots of good ideas here. I like the idea of light rail between Troy, Albany and Rensselaer, the whole area could use a light rail system, I think an early AM train out of Schenectady could be a winner maybe even Saratoga in the mix. As for Chatham I think Hudson would be a better bet than Rensselaer.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Tadman » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:11 pm

Perhaps a DMU light rail that connects with each train at ALB?
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby electricron » Wed Jul 26, 2017 2:32 pm

Tadman wrote:Perhaps a DMU light rail that connects with each train at ALB?

Yes, with a local regional commuter rail style of operations vs a national intercity rail style of operations.
Maybe Albany isn't large enough to subsidize a local rail transit agency?

But if New York can't or won't do it, why should the federal government do it?
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:55 pm

Paging the ghosts of Walter Rich and On-Track...
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby rovetherr » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:03 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Paging the ghosts of Walter Rich and On-Track...


He's busy up here in VT. We'll send him back once we're done...
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby east point » Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:54 pm

Thoughts.
1. DMUs ? Would they have enough axels to operate signals properly ?
2. Other equipment for these services ? Same old problem where do you get the rolling stock ?
3. Since Cuomo does not support MTA ( MNRR & LIRR ) would he support Albany commuter rail ?
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby markhb » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:21 pm

Although I went to RPI, it's been decades since I've actually returned to Troy. But in looking at the map earlier today, and seeing where the current rail lines actually end at the gorge, I can't imagine anyone from any of the colleges (RPI, Sage, even HVCC) thinking that going down there to a station would be a good idea. It looks seriously industrial and sketchy, and the former ROW over towards the Approach is largely occupied now (although you can still make it out, complete with buildings that have weirdly-cut corners) so I can't see it being extended anywhere. When I was there, some students would take the CDTA to the old Amshack in Rensselaer; I'm sure that that still happens without having to extend pax rail to a rock salt yard.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby russellsal8 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:20 am

Well, if we're talking about improving Albany area Amtrak services for college students, what they really could do is put a stop right by the SUNY Albany main campus. That's 19,000 students, which is gotta be at least double the total number of students in the Troy area. You could put the station where the line crosses Fuller Road.
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