Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby electricron » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:40 am

russellsal8 wrote: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.

And they could place a station near the State Capital Complex area as well.
Amtrak runs an "inter"-city train service, not an "intra"-city service.
How many Amtrak train stations normally exist in New York City? One.
How many Amtrak train stations should exist in Albany area? The same, one!
We can say the same for almost every other city within the state of New York.

If you need more than one or at most two train stations, it's time to look at funding and operating a regional commuter, light rail, or heavy rail system for intracity services.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby russellsal8 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:58 am

Well for one, Buffalo has two stations.

I'm not sure that a full-fledged local commuter rail service is necessary for the Albany area, certainly not for a few stops.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Greg Moore » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:05 am

I have thought about the value of a station near the SUNYA/uptown state complex.

There's room there and with a decent shuttle service, I think it would do well.

But again, it would take better regional planning than we currently have.

CDTA is the local agency basically in charge of stuff like this and honestly, while the current Albany station is quite nice from an architectural POV, they made a number of mistakes with it (including never actually making use of the bus bays that were built.)

But that's getting beyond the focus of Amtrak.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby markhb » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:07 am

Boston has three, but in both their case and Buffalo there are connectivity issues. Which makes me wonder, do any of the suburban Amtrak stations around NYC have boarding restrictions like Woburn, where you can't buy a ticket with Tay station and Boston as the endpoints?
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby bdawe » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:12 am

New York City has a single station because there's enough demand in New York to warrant a comprehensive suburban railway network.

Albany? Maybe not, but if there's trains sitting around at Rensselaer that could be out earning an increment of revenue serving the region without impinging on reliability, why no?
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:50 pm

Amtrak does not have equipment to operate frequent enough service and light rail or improvement of the existing bus service would be a better bet here. Boston is a much bigger metro area than Albany is and they have a number of transportation alternatives all of which get fairly heavy use. The type of equipment Amtrak uses would not adapt well to intercity type service with frequent stops and starts. Albany could use a light rail system which included Rensselaer as a stop but not as a base of operations.
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PS To elaborate a little bit because I am now using a computer instead of my smart phone; a light rail in the Albany area would need to serve at least the big three (they have shrunk over the years but are still the big three) the downtown section of Troy, RPI, Russell Sage and other schools in the area, GE in Schenectady and the downtown area as well, the airport which is in Colonie, the malls if possible, SUNY main campus as well as the nearby state office campus, downtown Albany including the TU Arena, the state office complex, Amtrak in Rensselaer and probably a little bit more. The area north into Saratoga County is growing at a faster rate and probably would need to be considered further down the road later if not sooner as this is the one part of the area that has grown at a good clip over the years. Traffic is heavy in the rush hours, the cost would be high but I think it deserves consideration. I don't know if it could be justified because of the cost but it is worth consideration. It is certainly not a function of Amtrak in any way any more than Boston - Back Bay - Route 128, Buffalo - Depew, Baltimore and BWI, Washington and New Carrolton.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby ExCon90 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 3:18 pm

As to the question upthread about LRVs shunting track circuits, the Stadler units on the RiverLINE between Trenton and Camden seem to work OK on that Conrail trackage.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby hs3730 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:19 pm

Somewhat getting back to the original posting, but one of the goals of the double-tracking to SDY was to run more trains out there. Two things need to be finished before that happens:
1 - The station rehab
2 - Equipment allowing the train to reverse without looping (cab cars, or some new trainset).

They've also recently double tracked a few miles between SDY and SAR, but for whatever reason there's no plans to allow #2 track access to the Canadian main, which will constrain any expansion in that direction (despite demand for more service up there as well).

As for areas more due north of Albany: Vermont has expressed an interest in getting a second train to Burlington via Mechanicville (to avoid the reverse move at Rutland), and there are plans for a stop in Mechanicville should that happen.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Greg Moore » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:13 pm

You bring up a good point about reverse moves for Schenectady.

One reason I as thinking of Troy as an "easy target" is because it's close enough that a backing move wouldn't be a huge problem. (and you can do it outside of normal hours. I.e. at night run the train up nose forward, unload, back down to the the wye, turn it, and back up for the morning.) SDY is a bit far for a backing move.

But, if you're willing to start to consider cab cars, then extending trains to SDY and to Pittsfield suddenly become car more viable as you can do them w/o backing moves.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby ThirdRail7 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:38 am

Where are cab cars coming from? I don't know if it is possible but I think a light rail that connected Troy, Albany (proper) and intermediate points to the Amtrak station in Rensselaer work out. It would be similar to Baltimore's light rail that connected Penn Station, Camden Station with the Inner Harbor but ultimately expanded North to Hunt Valley and Glen Burnie/BWI to the south.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Jul 28, 2017 6:33 am

The cab cars are going to come from the new Single level fleet purchase.

You know.. the one that's not in the plans and wont' happen for another 20 years :-)
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby markhb » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:22 am

Cab cars themselves might not be coming, but aren't cabbages (such as the Downeaster uses) just a natural byproduct of old powerplants blowing up? :) Or have I been living in PanAm territory too long?
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby scoostraw » Fri Jul 28, 2017 9:47 am

Guys if you have not seen this, here is an excellent video showing what Troy used to be like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw8AnDnDmwI&t=1543s
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:07 pm

I still think Troy is not practical. Schenectady is much more workable, they could use even a freight hog to pull a train backwards to Schenectady, cut the hog off at Schenectady if it is speed restricted and let it follow the train back to New York. Some things can be done at a reasonable cost and some things can not be done even at a higher cost.
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Re: Idea for Albany NY (ALB) Expansion

Postby Literalman » Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:11 pm

There's already local bus service between Troy and Albany; there might already be service between Troy and Rensselaer. Rather than a dedicated bus between the Amtrak station and Troy, I think that the passengers could be handled by Capital District Transit. And, Noel, you left out the second Amtrak stop in the District of Columbia: L'Enfant Plaza. :-D It's true. I don't think it appears in any Amtrak schedule, but some Amtrak trains stop there to accommodate Virginia Railway Express commuters, and Amtrak passengers can get on and off there if they want to.
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