• Amtrak Empire Service (New York State)

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by mtuandrew
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:25 amBrilliant. It was a 4-track ROW at one point. At least get the portion below Albany.
Amtrak is already in a long-term lease from Schenectady to Poughkeepsie, and it doesn’t sound like they’re in any danger of the lease getting canceled. Why not lease or buy Niagara Falls to Schenectady instead of purchasing Schenectady-Poughkeepsie outright?
  by shadyjay
 
Agreed on the portion west of Albany. The line from ALB south towards NYP doesn't get nearly the amount of freight traffic as the line west of Schenectady does. And with that previously being 4 tracks wide, it should be (relatively) easy to re-accommodate that trackage. Sure, some signals and associated bugalows may have to be moved, but it would give Amtrak a dedicated right of way, free of freight. Start out as one track with some passing sidings, and expand to 2 tracks as finances permit.

Sure, all it takes is a lot of $$$.
  by njt/mnrrbuff
 
It would be great if the Empire Corridor west of Schenectady was faster than it presently is. I haven't ridden west of Schenectady in a while but from what I remember, the right of way is straight in many spots. Wherever there is single track, it should be expanded. It seems like stations like Syracuse can use a second platform. Many stops west of Schenectady are very far a part from each other, especially Syracuse and Rochester.
  by Allouette
 
There's no single track between of Buffalo and Hoffmans, the junction for Selkirk Yard. The only single track remaining is the roughly nine miles between Hoffmans and Schenectady, which Amtrak/NYDOT could make double, but they haven't shown a lot of interest in doing so...
CSX could, and should demand a high price as the old Water Level Route is pretty much irreplaceable as a no-grade freight route.
  by Greg Moore
 
Honestly as much as I support speeding up service weest of Albany, I think the focus should START with improving speeds south of Albany. Trains that I recall taking 2:20 are often now carded at 2:30 or more. We're going backwards.
  by njt/mnrrbuff
 
Nine miles of remaining single track on an important corridor can be a serious issue. There are plenty of universities in the towns along the Empire Corridor west of Schenectady. In addition, there are several vacation spots very close to the Empire Corridor west of Albany. The northern part of the Finger Lakes isn't terribly far from the Water Level Route. It would be great if there was faster and more frequent rail options west of Albany.
  by east point
 
Here is a speculation plan to get HrSR west of Albany. Of course get HrSR south of Albany at same time as this proposal. This is the speculation that VA as well is going to accomplish phased to just 2030 at present.
1. Purchase a 2 track ROW from west of Albany to NY / PA border. VA is in final actions to do this on the RF&P ROW. NYC RR removed the 2 outer tracks in most places. As I understand most stations are south of the present tracks. There will be long process to get CSX on the north side of the ROW.
2. Build new track north for freights in sections ( call this track 1 ) and have the south track ( track 3 ) at those location become HrSR sidings owned by NY state.
3. Connect the north track #1 CSX sections which will give CSX a full track and the south track #3 can be converted to HrSR with CPs for passenger trains to pass each other with one train on the now CSX freight track #2..
4. Build HrSR sidings ( new #4 ) south of the track #3 so passenger trains will not have to use track #2..
5. Connect Track #4s sidings to have two parallel HrSR tracks.
6. This will probably take over 60 -80 years to complete.
The big 800 pound gorilla is how to purchase the ROW . It might be best for NY state to purchase the ROW under track #3 and empty ROW for future track $4. That would cut CSX property taxes in the short run ?
  by Ridgefielder
 
Re- true HSR west of Albany-- how much, if any, of the West Shore ROW is intact between Albany and Buffalo?
  by mtuandrew
 
I think that’s a sound plan, east point. It could get ticklish in Rochester, the freight bypass is on the south side but the majority of the freight infrastructure & interchanges are on the north side. Would also require crossing over in Buffalo.

Maybe we pause on Buffalo-Erie-Cleveland until we can get a tri-state coalition to agree on terms. Down south, Virginia and North Carolina at least have a common vision and goals for passenger rail; neither Ohio nor Pennsylvania are too interested in funding new service especially to out-of-state destinations.
  by east point
 
mtuandrew wrote: Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:48 pm I think that’s a sound plan, east point. It could get ticklish in Rochester, the freight bypass is on the south side but the majority of the freight infrastructure & interchanges are on the north side. Would also require crossing over in Buffalo.
mtuandrew Thanks for the reminder. Knew about Buffalo but completely forgot about Rochester. Probably NY state could just start out with at grade crossovers at those 2 locations. Just leave room for an eventual 2 track flyover of the CSX tracks at those locations. Been too long not been there. Passenger flyovers probably needed 40 years in future ?
  by mtuandrew
 
Looks like there’s a pinch point at Amsterdam, where the station is on the north side and there’s no room between the tracks and the river. In order to successfully move all passenger service to the south tracks, you might need to move the station altogether. Two options: Lock 11 or Riverlink Park (with public access and parking at Amsterdam Riverfront Center.)
  by njt/mnrrbuff
 
The station in Amsterdam should be moved much closer to the downtown area rather than keep it where it is. That would not only enable people to be dropped off in the downtown area. Yes, it would help enable a second platform to be built.
  by Railjunkie
 
Not for nothing but... Where is all this money coming from for this grand plan? NYS dosen't have it. People are leaving this state account the high tax rate, Ill be one of them in about 9 years.
  by mtuandrew
 
Railjunkie wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 2:31 am Not for nothing but... Where is all this money coming from for this grand plan? NYS dosen't have it. People are leaving this state account the high tax rate, Ill be one of them in about 9 years.
I can’t speak to New York State’s finances, but it’s possible that the higher minimum wage will lead to more income tax revenue overall. One can only borrow so much money after all without sufficient collateral.
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Sat Jan 04, 2020 12:39 am The station in Amsterdam should be moved much closer to the downtown area rather than keep it where it is. That would not only enable people to be dropped off in the downtown area. Yes, it would help enable a second platform to be built.
Yep, that was why I like Riverlink Park as a potential location in particular. You can’t really get much more downtown, parking and associated retail is available at the Riverview Center, there’s a pedestrian bridge across the highway and tracks already, and there is room for a third and eventual fourth track. That said I’ve never been to Amsterdam and don’t know what Riverview Center is like, or if it’s the kind of place where you would want a train station.
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