Schenectady, NY Amtrak project

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Schenectady, NY Amtrak project

Postby adamj023 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:27 am

Was looking at photos of the Schenectady, NY Amtrak station and platform. The area by the tracks looked to be in extremely poor condition. Apparently they have been working on this area for awhile now and hopefully it will be cleaned up soon. I don’t understand why the old station couldn’t have just been rehabilitated and had to be demolished. The new terminal that is planned seems Iike overkill just like the new Niagara Falls terminal.

With Amtrak I am all for keeping the platforms, train sets and infrastructure in top tier shape. But the stations themselves should be the least priority except in high usage areas. But in the case of Schenectady, minor renovations rather than full replacement of the terminal building itself would have made perfect sense as the main building was not in horrible shape. Would have meant a quicker time to complete the project with significantly lower costs as the new terminal doesn’t seem to provide anything to generate additional income to pay itself for the costs and bids are only now starting to come in for the station house with prices that are far more expensive than a renovation of the station would have been which also could have been completed in a shorter time frame as well. Expenses like this take away money that could have been used to improve Amtrak further where it would have been more meaningful for all of its passengers.
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Re: Schenectady, NY Amtrak project

Postby electricron » Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:35 am

I’ll agree with you that Amtrak should invest more on the rails and what runs on the rails than on buildings next to the rails, don’t forget who is paying for what. How much did Amtrak invest into the new Schenectady station? Who funded the new train station? I believe you’ll discover that NYDOT funded this new train station, not Amtrak.
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Re: Schenectady, NY Amtrak project

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Oct 22, 2017 1:57 pm

I think Schenectady was more of a New York State project and not so much Amtrak. State money in this case went for a new station whether warranted or not. Good politics does not always equal good common sense.
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Re: Schenectady, NY Amtrak project

Postby Woody » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:46 pm

From the Great American Stations site, ... dy-ny-sdy/

it appears the serious damage was done in 1971 when the city razed a classic station for a parking lot.
The latest in a line of railroad stations ... the grandest was the 1908 Schenectady Union Station, a neoclassical structure built by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad to replace a temporary building from 1885. Constructed of stone and brick, Union Station featured an elegant arcade. ...

Passenger rail service to Schenectady ended in 1969, prior to the creation of Amtrak. Penn Central, which then owned Union Station, sold the facility to the city in December 1970 for $20,000. A month later it was demolished to make way for a downtown parking lot.

Following the start of Amtrak service to Schenectady in 1978, work was begun on a new station. ...

Anyway, I remember a post here reporting that an official in a position to know had claimed that a new or restored station alone could boost ridership by as much as 20%, iirc. If that's even close to being true, then I have no problem seeing money spent for better stations.
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Re: Schenectady, NY Amtrak project

Postby Greg Moore » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:54 pm

Amtrak is spending as far as I know, Zero on this station. This is NYS's project.

That said, the previous station was a dump and the state and city have really been working on improving the area.

And with double-track now to the station, I believe both the State and Amtrak are looking to add additional trains in the future.
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Re: Schenectady, NY Amtrak project

Postby hs3730 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 7:35 pm

A slightly out of date fact sheet on CDTA's website:

None of the funding sources mentioned are directly Amtrak.

The station definitely needed replacing - it was bad enough that regardless of the weather, even non-railfans would elect to wait on the platform rather than in the building. To make any service increase worthwhile, the station needs to be more appealing; I expect that the station opening and increased service will be tied together.
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