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Fall Railfanning Trip - New Amtrak Station at Albany-Rensselaer - October 21st, 2002

Fall 2002 Railfanning Trip:
Visiting Albany's New Amtrak Station
Monday, October 21st, 2002

Amtrak & Capital District Transportation Authority's New Station
   After getting off my train I started to walk around the platform to see what kind of new photo opportunities this new station would present me with. I've said this before and I'll say it again, Elevated Platforms: Good for passengers, Bad for railfanning! It was a bit of a job trying to lug my bags around while walking around finding different places to take slides. There was a construction crew on the platform installing glass panels over the escalators and staircases that bring you to the platforms from inside the station. I was able to get a few slides of the Lake Shore Limited as it was preparing to depart, as 2 trains, one to Boston, the other to New York.
   After taking a few slides, I decided to walk inside the station up one of the escalators to warm up and have my luggage stored for a few hours. I learned something really quick about the setup of this new station. Once you go inside from the platforms, you can't go back out again! This must be some kind of policy this station has as nobody but ticketed passengers can wait on the platform until their train has arrived and when the announcement is made. I was a ticketed passenger as I had planned to ride Train #283 later on, but still, I was told nobody could be on the platforms so I decided to take in the new station and see what it has to offer otherwise.
   The station is set up with 2 platforms that are connected with 2 sets of escalators and stairways along with an Elevator for each platform, this is of course to make the station compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Once you walk up an escalator or stairway into the station, you enter a long corridor that spans over the platforms and has windows on both sides. From there you enter the main waiting area of the station, a very large open hall. Inside the hall is a small Convenience Store along with a Coffee Beanery Coffee Shop. Amtrak has a large ticketing and information area along with a separate baggage claim area accessible on another floor in the building. There is also CDTA Bus information as well as Taxi Service available from the station.
   Also Inside the hall of the station are several TV monitors displaying the status of upcoming trains, similar to what you'd find in stations in New York or Chicago. There is also an Amtrak Quik-Trak Ticketing Machine available. Plenty of seats are available and the convenience store sells all kinds of stuff from Albany Souvenirs such as sweatshirts and hats, to food and drinks, to lottery tickets.
   After I arrived in the station (and realized I couldn't go back to the platforms!) I proceeded to check my luggage so I could at least go outside and take some slides from the adjacent street bridge. I was told by an attendant at the information counter to go to a separate area on another floor and I could have my baggage stored there. I took the elevator to the proper floor only to find someone walk into a back room in that area just as I got off the elevator. After standing at an unstaffed counter and yelling "hello" several times, nobody heard me and I decided to leave there, go back to the Amtrak Information Counter and ask what I should do. I ended up leaving my luggage at the counter since I would be catching another train here in a few hours. Amtrak had no problem holding my luggage.
   After getting my luggage stored, I headed over to the overhead corridor to take a few slides and later went outside to see what kind of views I could get from that street bridge. You can get some nice views of trains headed to New York from atop that bridge, but with no trains coming for at least another hour or so, I just walked around and took a look at the outside of the building and took the slide you saw at the top of this page.
   I stopped by the Coffee Beanery which has some nice large picture windows that overlook the tracks including the Post Road Branch where the Boston Section of the Lake Shore Limited comes into town. You can get some really nice pictures there if the sun isn't too low in the sky. I had a meatball sandwich and a Diet Pepsi at the Coffee Beanery before taking another walk around the station.
   Because of the rules I covered before, the word for the day here was "overhead views" as I really didn't have a choice on where else I could take pictures. Shown below is more pictures from today. This is a beautiful station and will serve Albany very well. It cost $53 million to build and its opening was delayed almost 2 years, so Albany was waiting for this one for a very long time! I was told by an Amtrak Employee on a previous trip here that Albany is home to the 12th busiest Amtrak Station in the country! Keep in mind that your only options for railfanning will be from overhead due to the restricted access to the platforms. Enjoy the rest of the photos on this page, and click in the Table to the bottom for the next leg of the trip, to Amsterdam...

Amtrak Empire Service Train #262 with P32AC-DM #712 on the lead. This train would be heading to New York City about an hour after this slide was taken.

Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited, now 2 separate trains. The one on the far left is headed to Boston on the Post Road Branch Track which is the track that turns to the left in front of the lead engine. Train #448 as it's called, is the only train that uses the Post Road Branch. In the right of the photo is Train #48 now leaving for New York City.

The Waiting Area and corridor over the platforms. Nicely lit with large picture windows, it provides some nice overhead views of trains arriving in from New York provided the sun isn't low in the sky.

The Amtrak Information Booth sells tickets and provides passengers with whatever information they want. Baggage can be checked at a separate facility located on another floor in the station.

Although a bit dark, this is the waiting area with the convenience store located to the middle left of the photo, the Coffee Beanery is in the far right. The building has a few sets of large picture windows that span 60 feet or more, giving this station the feeling that it's really really big!

OK, lots of action here, the train on the Main Track, to the left is #281
headed for Niagara Falls with P32AC-DM #711 on the lead. The train in the
middle is #262 waiting to depart for New York and the train in the far right
is #286, headed to New York.

Looking over the street bridge to the North is the old Amtrak Station with Train #281
just departing on the Main Track. This train will be headed to Niagara Falls.

Again, looking now to the South from the street bridge, is the platforms. Today, work crews
were installing the glass panels over the covered escalators and stairways. Train #262
sits on Track #1 awaiting its departure for New York City.

Another view of the new station from the street bridge.

The old, now vacant Amtrak Station, soon to be demolished so that a 4th track can be
added to the new station. I was here back in August on my last trip, and already then the place
was being shut down as the restaurant inside had gone out of business among other things.

Finally, Train #283, my train for the next leg of my trip would arrive into Albany.
An announcement would be made when we could exit the station and board as
this train had to be serviced before it could leave. Today's train sports a freshly
repainted P32AC-DM #703 for power.