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Schenectady To Buffalo, NY On Amtrak's Empire Service
Monday, December 9th, 2013:
  I headed over to the nearby Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, then started packing up my stuff to eventually check out of the hotel. I then drove to Bank Of America to use the ATM, then drove back to Schenectady to drop off the rental car at Enterprise who then drove me back to the Amtrak station there. After storing my bags, I walked to a nearby Wendy's Restaurant for lunch before going back to the station, and retrieving my bags. I had a quick chat with a passenger who was a computer gamer. We had a good conversation about computer building and computer games (I've been building my own desktop computers since 2002, wouldn't have it any other way). I then used the slow-as-molasses elevator in the station to get up to the platform to photograph Empire Service Train #284 which was coming in from Niagara Falls on its way to New York. A friend of mine from Albany who works for Amtrak decided to ride with me to Syracuse so he met me on the platform just before Train #284 arrived. Train #281 arrived shortly thereafter to bring me back to Buffalo on this trip. The consist for today's train is shown below:
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach
Coach (My Car)
Amfleet I Cafe Car
Cafe/Business Class
  We departed Schenectady at 1:23pm, 1 minute late. I was seated inside Amfleet I Coach #82798 right behind the cafe car and there was a good-sized crowd on the train. My friend sat with me while we eventually passed CP-169 and were back on CSX Track (up until now, we were on Amtrak-operated track). Our next stop was Amsterdam, NY where we arrived at 1:39pm and departed at 1:41pm, 2 minutes late. We would pass Train #48 - The Lake Shore Limited somewhere near Yosts, NY near Big Nose Curve. We arrived at our next stop of Utica, NY at 2:40pm where I was able to get a few quick photos before departing there on time at 2:43pm. I picked up a package of trail mix in the lounge car that was really good (there, I ate my fruits today!). We arrived at our next stop of Rome, NY at 2:57pm and departed at 2:58pm, once again on time. The weather started taking a turn for the worse so I ended up not doing anymore photography until the next stop of Syracuse. We didn't enter Track #7 which is the track that goes up next to the station platform until CP-290 which helped us get through the Syracuse area faster. We arrived at Syracuse at 3:46pm, 7 minutes early! At Syracuse, we would get a new engineer for the rest of the way and my friend would get off the train here and take Train #64 - The Maple Leaf back to Schenectady. We departed Syracuse on time at 3:53pm and would pass Train #64 about a mile past the Syracuse Station. I also noticed that the old On-Track train that was operated by the New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad was long gone. The original plan was to have that railroad run all the way up to the Syracuse station, but that never happened and the track that used it when it operated (only up to what is now Destiny USA), is now used to store freight cars. I then got out the computer and continued writing this travelogue and chatting with the crew in the cafe car.
  It was now too dark to take any more photos so after working on this travelogue a bit, I went back to my coach seat and we eventually arrived at our next stop of Rochester, NY at 5:05pm, running 12 minutes EARLY!!! I also noticed that 4 members of the Border Patrol did a quick walk-through of the train. I took a few high-ISO photos as the weather was very cold with light snow falling. We departed Rochester on time at 5:17pm. I picked up a package of Peanut M&M's in the cafe car and talked briefly with the crew again before relaxing in my coach seat during what was another uneventful ride, which is ALWAYS a good thing! At 6:06pm, running 16 minutes early, we arrived at Buffalo-Depew Station. After grabbing my bags, I headed inside the station to talk briefly with the ticket agent who is a buddy of mine, before heading out to start my car (I only thought, this could be UGLY because of the cold, but it actually started up right away perfectly!). And so ends another excellent year-end trip. This was my second and final trip for 2013. Shown below are some photos taken on the trip back home. Until next year, Happy Railfanning...
Empire Service Train #284 arrives at Schenectady shortly before Train #281 which would be my train home.
Today's Train #284 had GE P32AC-DM #714 leading.
Rounding the bend and arriving into Schenectady Station is Empire Service Train #281 with GE P32AC-DM #712
doing the honors today. This would be my train back home to Buffalo.
Train #284 on the left waits for Train #281 to arrive, as seen towards the right of the photo.
A power plant from Adirondack Power And Light located along the Mohawk River.
Lock #11 on the Mohawk River/Erie Canal at Amsterdam, NY.
Taking a break at Utica Union Station.
Sporting a fresh coat of paint is former New York Central 0-6-0 Steamer #6721 on display at Utica Union Station.
Now raining pretty good at Syracuse, where the train arrived early!
With light snow falling, Train #281 takes a break at Rochester, NY.