Posts Tagged ‘Empire Corridor’

FRA Clears New Bridge in Albany, NY, to Move to Final Design Phase

December 29, 2022

Replacement of a bridge in Albany, New York, used by Amtrak will advance to the final design phase after winning approval from the Federal Railroad Administration.

The bridge is owned by CSX but leased to Amtrak, which uses it for its Lake Shore Limited and Empire Service trains.

The FRA determined that replacement of the Livingston Avenue Railroad Bridge would have “no significant impact” on the environment.

The movable swing bridge over the Hudson River was built in the 19th century and has a top speed of 15 miles per hour.

New York State Department of Transportation officials said the new bridge will be a lift structure with two tracks on a parallel alignment.

As part of the project changes will be made to the triangular ju8nction of tracks on the Rensselaer side of the river to help facilitate train turning movements.

Officials said the new bridge will better serve maritime traffic and provide pedestrians and bicyclists with access across the river.

Rhinecliff Station Closed for Remodeling

December 22, 2022

The Amtrak station in Rhinecliff, New York, has been temporarily closed for remodeling.

In the meantime, Amtrak has located a temporary station in a trailer in the parking lot adjacent to the station building. The trailer includes an ADA accessible waiting area, restrooms and a ticket office.

The renovations include creating ADA compliant access and ticketing, updated restrooms and new HVAC, electric and plumbing systems.

There are no changes to access the platform, the parking lot entrance from Charles Street or the drop-off area there.

In a service advisory Amtrak said scheduled for Rhinecliff, which is served by Empire Corridor trains, remain unchanged.

Amtrak Service to Increase in Empire Corridor

November 19, 2022

Additional service is being reinstated on Amtrak’s Empire Service Route.

The passenger carrier said that effective Dec. 5 it will begin operating two additional round trips between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

The additions include trains leaving Albany-Rensselaer at 11:10 a.m. Sunday through Friday, arriving at Penn Station at 1:45 p.m.; and departing Albany-Rensselaer at 5:30 p.m. arriving in New York at 8:05 p.m.

New northbound trains will depart New York Penn Station at 8:15 a.m. arriving in Albany/Rensselaer at 10:47 a.m.; and New York at 3:15 p.m. and arriving in Albany-Rensselaer at 5:45 p.m.

The additional trains will boost Empire Service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer to 12 weekday roundtrips.

That remains one less than what the route hosted before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early spring 2020.

Empire Corridor Trains to Stop at NY State Fair

August 8, 2022

Some Amtrak Empire Corridor trains will make a special stop at the New York State Fair between Aug. 24 and Sept. 5.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the special stop will made at the fairgrounds in Syracuse.

Trains making the stop include Nos. 64, 284, 63, 281 and 283.

Schedules of those trains have been adjusted to reflect leaving some stops 10 minutes later than normal.

Track Work to Affect Empire Service Schedules

April 22, 2022
The westbound Maple Leaf is about to arrive at Buffalo Depew station in July 2011.

Track work being performed in New York state will result in schedule changes for Empire Service trains and the Maple Leaf.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the work is occurring between Niagara Falls, New York, and Hoffmans.

The new schedules take effect April 25 and will remain in place through Oct. 23.

The eastbound Maple Leaf will depart Niagara Falls at its normal time of 12:17 p.m., with intermediate station adjustments from Buffalo Exchange to Albany-Rensselaer, where it is expected to arrive on its regular schedule.

Train 280 will depart Niagara Falls at 3:42 a.m., 10 minutes earlier than normal, with intermediate station adjustments from Niagara Falls to Rome. It will depart Utica on its regular schedule.

Train 284 will depart Niagara Falls at 6:31 a.m., 16 minutes earlier than normal, with intermediate station adjustments from Niagara Falls to Rome. It will depart Utica on it regular schedule.

The westbound Maple Leaf  will depart Albany-Rensselaer at 10:10 a.m., 10 minutes later than normal, with intermediate station adjustments between Albany and Niagara Falls for an arrival at the latter 25 minutes later than scheduled.

Train 281 will depart Rochester at 5:24 p.m., five minutes later than normal, with intermediate station adjustments between Rochester and Niagara Falls. It will arrive in Niagara Falls 10 minutes later than scheduled.

Train 283 will depart Syracuse at 6:49 p.m., five minutes later than normal, with intermediate station adjustments between Syracuse and Niagara Falls. It will arrive in Niagara Falls 15 minutes later than scheduled.

Construction Set on Hudson Boarding Area

April 18, 2022

Construction at the Amtrak station in Hudson, New York, will affect the boarding area there.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the platforms will undergo a blacktop renovation project that will take some tracks out of service.

The project begins April 21 and extends through May 1. During that time passengers can expect delays when entering and exiting the platform.

Also during the construction the wheelchair lift at the Hudson station will not be available. Passengers needing assistance should instead board at Rhinecliff or the Albany-Rensselaer stations, both approximately 20 to 25 minutes away from Hudson.

Track Work Affects Empire Corridor Trains

April 28, 2021

New schedules on Amtrak’s Empire Corridor have been implemented to accommodate track work being performed between Niagara Falls and Hoffmans, New York.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the work affects the Maple Leaf and select Empire Service trains. The changes are in effect through Oct. 31.

Train 64 will depart Niagara Falls 10 minutes earlier at 12:07 p.m., with intermediate station adjustments, and arrives in Albany 21 minutes earlier at 6:18 p.m.

Train 284 will depart Niagara Falls 16 minutes earlier at 6:31 a.m., with intermediate station adjustments, and goes back to its regular schedule at Utica.

Train 281 will have intermediate station adjustments beginning at Syracuse at 3:55 p.m. and will arrive in Niagara Falls 15 minutes later at 7:26 p.m.

Train 283 will have intermediate station adjustments beginning at Syracuse at 6:49 p.m. and will arrive in Niagara Falls 15 minutes later, at 10:26 p.m.

Restoration of State-Funded Corridor Services Presents a Mixed Picture

March 27, 2021

Passengers board Amtrak’s Chicago-bound Saluki at Effingham, Illinois, on March 21. The Chicago-Carbondale corridor lost one roundtrip since the COVID-19 pandemic began a year ago

Although Amtrak plans to restore daily service to most long-distance routes starting in late May, the restoration of corridor service cut during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a more mixed picture.

Some states might restore service by summer but that is not guaranteed.

Michigan Department of Transportation Rail Director Peter Anastor said he didn’t known when two suspended Wolverine Service roundtrips between Chicago and Detroit (Pontiac) would return.

He indicated it will hinge in part on ridership and revenue trends.

“The CARES Act and the second stimulus bill helped fill the gap caused by fixed costs that stay the same whether you have 10 or 100 riders,” he said.

Michigan also funds the Chicago-Port Huron Blue Water and the Chicago-Grand Rapids Pere Marquette.

Although the Blue Water continued to operate throughout the pandemic, the Pere Marquette was suspended between March and last summer.

Anastor indicated new Venture coaches are expected to be assigned to Wolverine Service this spring, making it the first Midwest corridor train to have the new cars.

On other Midwest corridor routes, Hiawatha Service between Chicago and Milwaukee is expected to increase to seven round trips on May 21.

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Rail Division head Arun Rao said the service expansion will be promoted with an extensive advertising push and increased social media activity.

Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Scott Speegle said his agency will decide in April when some other corridor services will be restored.

IDOT has suspended one round trip on the Chicago-Carbondale route, one roundtrip on the Chicago-Quincy route and two roundtrips between Chicago and St. Louis.

“We anticipate resuming full service no earlier that mid-July; the final decision on that time frame will be made in April, approximately 12 weeks prior to resumption of service,” he said.

Speegle said IDOT will review ridership and revenue numbers for the current service, anticipated costs, and the level of federal support.

Whether a second St. Louis-Kansas City Missouri River Runner will resume operating will depend on how much funding the Missouri legislature approves.

The Missouri Department of Transportation has requested funding for two daily roundtrips but the chair of a House budget committee has proposed funding just one roundtrip.

In the East, New York State has not announced its intentions in regards to restoring any suspended Empire Corridor trains.

Two routes funded by New York, the Maple Leaf to Toronto and Adirondack to Montreal have been suspended due to the U.S.-Canadian border being closed during the pandemic.

Elsewhere in the East, North Carolina will begin a fourth roundtrip starting April 5 in the Charlotte-Raleigh corridor.

Amtrak and the North Carolina Department of Transportation are reinstating a third Piedmont Service roundtrip, making this the first multi-frequency state corridor to be fully restored.

North Carolina reinstated a second and third round trip last August and December, respectively.

Another Downeaster trip to Maine is expected to resume in May after schedules are worked out with Amtrak and host railroad Pan Am Railways.

Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn said the new schedule will be a little different.

“Instead of just plugging two midday trains back into their old slots, we’re adding a 10:30 a.m. departure from Brunswick, which will turn as a 3 p.m. departure from Boston,” she said.

“Given the change in commute patterns, we decided to try something different, assuming we won’t need two trains leaving Boston for the evening rush hour, but the additional round-trip means we will again have a flex schedule for the late-night train from Boston to accommodate sports fans and concert goers.”

Quinn said weekday and weekend schedules will now be identical.

In the West, one Capitol Corridor roundtrip will on March 29 be extended from Oakland to San Jose.

Capitol Corridor managing director Rob Pagette said there will be a change in departure times based on the way customers now use the trains.

“We’re about at 15 percent of where we were in February 2020 but we are looking to have a more robust service by September,” he said.

“We’ve seen more demand spread throughout the day, and this has allowed us to improve the efficiency of how we use our equipment by (temporarily) going from seven to six consists.”

Pagette said officials will be watching to determine where people are riding after the schedule change to determine where we add back the seventh consist.” An eighth trainset will be added later.

The extended round trip to San Jose will originate in Auburn because there appear to be increasing numbers of “super commuters” who ride 80 miles or more to their jobs.

Ridership trends during the pandemic have shown that if passengers are less likely to travel every day, more will opt for less-costly housing further away from the Silicon Valley.

In the San Joaquin corridor, a fifth roundtrip is expected to be added in in the fall. However, the two round trips to Sacramento aren’t likely to return until early 2021 at the earliest.

Those plans, though, are contingent on ridership stabilizing.

In Southern California, the LOSSAN Rail Corridor Agency expects to restore one Pacific Surfliner roundtrip between San Diego and Goleta in July or August.

The date of that service restoration is dependant on available funding.

In the Pacific Northwest, the Washington Department of Transportation is eyeing returning two Seattle-Portland roundtrips in mid May.

Currently, the Cascades Service is operating with one Seattle-Eugene, Oregon, round trip.

Officials are considering increasing Portland-Eugene service to two roundtrips.

New York State to Take Another Stab at High-Speed Rail

December 28, 2019

New York State will try another tactic toward implement a high-speed rail service on the Empire Corridor used by Amtrak.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he will appoint a panel of engineers to review past high-speed rail plans and recommend a new plan for how to build high-speed rail New York-Albany-Buffalo route.

A statement released by the governor’s office said most of the state’s population lives near the Empire Corridor and the average speed of passenger trains on the route is 51 mph.

Various administrations have sought without success over the past two decades to implement high-speed rail service plans but have been stymied by, among other things, high cost.

Previous proposals have also indicated that it would take decades to create a high-speed line to Buffalo.

Cuomo’s statement said the news panel will “reexamine and rethink strategies to bring high speed rail to New York.”

The Empire Corridor hosts Amtrak trains between New York and Niagara Falls, New York, but also sees the Chicago-New York/Boston Lake Shore Limited and the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf.

NY Amtrak Routes Posted Ridership Gains in FY2019

November 23, 2019

Ridership numbers for various Amtrak routes are starting to be released in the wake of the passenger carrier releasing a summary of its fiscal year 2019 performance.

This includes routes serving the Empire Corridor of New York where the New York-Toronto Maple Leaf posted a 6.5 percent increase to 390,355 passengers.

The Lake Shore Limited, which links Chicago with Boston and New York, saw a 5.9 percent gain to 357,682 passengers, while the Empire Corridor south of Albany posted a 5.5 percent gain to 1,214,206 passengers.

The Adirondack between New York and Montreal was up 5.5 percent, while the Ethan Allen Express between New York and Rutland was up 1.7 percent.