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New York To Albany, NY On Amtrak's Empire Service
  After having a great breakfast, I chatted with my friend a bit after boarding Amfleet I Coach #82607 which would be the car I would ride in back to Albany. This train, unlike Train #250, did have food service as it travels west of Albany (It's actually the train I'll ride home from Schenectady on Monday). We would depart New York's Penn Station on time at 10:20am. The consist for today's train (it was a different train set than the one we arrived here on, which was planned that way), is shown below:
710 P32AC-DM Power
82579 Amfleet I Coach Coach
82607 Amfleet I Coach Coach (My Car)
82545 Amfleet I Coach Coach
82593 Amfleet I Coach Coach
82749 Amfleet I Coach Coach
48151 Amfleet I Cafe Car Cafe/Business Class
  I would sit in my coach seat and just watch the scenery once we climbed out of the tunnels and overbuilds. This train would not stop in Yonkers, so its first stop would be Croton-Harmon. We arrived there at 10:59am and departed at 11:01am, on time. I would focus more of this part of the ride on just listening to my radio and taking more photos. Eventually, I headed to the cafe car to get some food since it was available and would find out the attendant was someone whom I've rode with before and he remembered me from previous trips! He was obviously someone who absolutely loved his job as he interacted very well with the steady crowd of passengers. I bought a Diet Pepsi and a Crystal Geyser Bottled Water with a piece of Sara Lee Pound Cake and ate in the Cafe Car and had a nice chat with the crew. Speaking of the conductors, they were the same two that brought Train #250 to New York and they were excellent! We were also treated to the same smooth ride from my friend, the engineer as we headed back north as well. We made our next station stop at Poughkeepsie, NY at 11:40am. I was able to step outside and get a few very quick photos before departing at 11:43am, on time. The weather today has so far been great for December. Of course, I wish it was a little warmer but overall it's been bright and sunny!
  We made our next station stop at Rhinecliff, NY at 11:59am and departed at 12:00 noon, now 2 minutes late. We would pass a special Amtrak train running today for kids in the Albany area called the "Santa Special", you'll see some photos of that a little later in the travelogue. The special train would be making multiple trips between the Albany-Rensselaer and Rhinecliff stations and would feature an engine on both ends (to permit push-pull operation) along with Heritage Sleeping Car #10020 from the Amtrak Exhibit Train as well as several Amfleet I cars. On one end was P32AC-DM #716 and on the other was the special Veterans P42DC #42. We would pass the train just north of the Rhinecliff station.
  You could now see in clear view, the Catskill Mountains across the river, and they were covered in a fair amount of snow, an absolutely beautiful site! We made our next stop at Hudson, NY at 12:21pm and departed at 12:22pm, running 4 minutes late. We would pass under the CSX Berkshire Sub (old Conrail "Boston Line") as well as the bridge that carries the roadway that connects to I-90 to become the Berkshire Section of the New York State Thruway. We would also go past the Fort Hamilton Paper Company in Castleton-On-Hudson, NY where I've taken a few photos from over the years. At 12:43pm, running 2 minutes early, we arrived at Albany-Rensselaer Station. The aforementioned "Santa Special" as well as Empire Service Train #284 from Niagara Falls were also there. I also was able to photograph Train #292 - The Ethan Allen Express from Rutland, VT as well as Empire Service Train #233 which would use the same equipment that Train #250 used this morning. I would head over to a nearby Wendy's Restaurant for lunch before heading back to the hotel for a well-deserved nap (I'm not used to being awake at 5am!). I would later head over to Buffalo Wild Wings for some insanely spicy food, what else could this Buffalo boy want??? After having some really hot, unhealthy boneless chicken wings and hanging out with a couple friends, I headed back to the hotel and would call it a day! Included below are some great photos from the ride back to Albany. After that, check out some great railfanning photos from the Capital Region including the "Santa Special" with the Amtrak Veterans unit...