Every year, Amtrak customers begin or end more than 12 million journeys in the Empire State. Approximately 140 daily trains serve places ranging from busy New York City to the college town of Syracuse and the quiet Lake Champlain hamlet of Port Henry. Passenger rail service connects these communities and offers connections across the country.
Amtrak provides an easy, hassle-free way to get to school, make that important business meeting, see family and friends – or simply have fun. With a generous baggage policy, complimentary Wi-Fi on most trains, spacious seats and more, Amtrak truly is the smarter way to travel. And to top it off, our destinations across New York State offer something for every taste and budget.
New York State celebrated an important milestone in December 2017: the 50th anniversary of the Empire Service. Development of this high frequency corridor linking New York City and Niagara Falls is a testament to the strong partnership between the state and Amtrak. Over the years, the state’s capital investment in Amtrak has resulted in additional trains, shorter trip times and restoration of passenger rail service to Schenectady and Niagara Falls.
With the state at the lead, we recently undertook projects to address key chokepoints on the Empire Corridor. Federal and state funds supported completion of a second track and signals between Schenectady and Albany-Rensselaer to expedite rail traffic. Construction of a fourth track and extended platforms at the latter station have enhanced operations and positively impacted trains’ on-time performance.
A spacious new passenger facility opened in Rochester last fall, and work is advancing on a modern station in downtown Schenectady. In 2017, Amtrak also began a major renewal program at New York Penn Station – the nation’s busiest transportation hub – to improve operations and overall service reliability. Crews installed nearly 900 new track ties, 1,100 feet of rails, switches and complex crossings. The next phase of this project will stretch into summer 2018. In the Amtrak concourse, we are also upgrading restrooms, the ticketed waiting room and ClubAcela.
Onboard, you’ll notice newly refreshed interiors on the Amfleet I passenger cars used on the Empire Service, Adirondack and most other trains east of the Mississippi River. Responding to your feedback, we’ve installed brand new seat cushions, carpeting and brighter LED reading lights. Best of all, the components are manufactured in America.
While improving Amtrak today, we’re also focused on working with federal and state partners to build the infrastructure of the future – such as a new Hudson River Tunnel. It’s a key component of the Gateway Program, a set of rail infrastructure improvements designed to enhance current services and create new capacity in and around New York City. Gateway is vital to the future mobility and economic competitiveness of the entire Northeast – and the nation.
Thanks for choosing Amtrak to meet your travel needs, and we hope to see you again soon.
Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer