Facebook Page
Buffalo To Schenectady, NY - May 1st-2nd, 2004

Buffalo To Schenectady, NY
On Amtrak's Empire Service Trains
May 1st-2nd, 2004

Amtrak's Empire Service Train #286
Arriving At Buffalo-Depew Station At 9:49am - May 1st, 2004

   I rode a Metro Bus over to the Buffalo-Depew Station and arrived there about 9:35am . The station finally received a new station sign on Dick Road so now the entry way is much easier to spot if your not familiar with the area. I began to wonder when they would actually do that since the “makeshift” sign that was there for about 3 years was a simple Amtrak Logo on a wooden post sitting in a bucket of sand, another “you blink and you’ll miss it” signs! I picked up my tickets at the ticket counter that I purchased online via Amtrak’s web site. The only special I was able to get was 5% off for booking online, the total cost for the tickets was $104.50. Today I would ride Empire Service Train #286 from Buffalo-Depew to Schenectady.
   At 9:49am, running 1 minute early, Train #286 arrived with P42DC #101 for power. I found this to be unusual since this train, to the best of my knowledge was always powered with a P32AC-DM. We left Depew at 9:53am after a rather large crowd boarded. I was seated in a nice refurbished Amfleet I Coach #21241. The consist for today's train is as follows:

Amtrak Train #286
May 1st, 2004
P42DC - Power
Amfleet I Cafe Car
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach

   I had a nice conversation with a passenger who was a painter by trade, who would be getting off in Syracuse who rides the train every once in awhile to get to a job in Oswego . I let him use my cell phone to call for a ride to pick him up in Syracuse. A few freights had passed us on the way to Rochester, about normal for a Saturday on the Chicago Line. At Rochester, an announcement was made that there would be a smoking break for passengers so they could light up, for me, the only thing that lit up when I heard that was a big light bulb in my head that I now had a chance to photograph the train! I ran up and down the platform and got my photos of every car in the train as well as took down the rest of the car numbers. We left Rochester at 10:46am, 1 minute early! Timekeeping was really good on this train, no doubt! Shortly after leaving Rochester, we encountered a few speed restrictions which slowed us down to around 50mph for a distance, this however would not hurt timekeeping as we arrived into Syracuse at 12:06pm, 2 minutes early!!! We picked up quite a few passengers in Syracuse before departing at 12:09pm, 1 minute late. A couple things working well for us today included the fact that we had nice weather, with temps in the low to mid 70’s, as well as lots of schedule padding.
   Not much happened between Syracuse and Rome, I noticed that the station in Rome has had quite a bit of renovation done to it in the last couple years. Rumor has it that maybe a ticket agent may be placed at that station, thus allowing it to be a staffed station. This would be great if it happens, we shall see. We left Rome at 12:49pm, only 2 minutes late. I had a Hebrew National Hot Dog and a Diet Pepsi as a quick lunch before arriving in Utica. We arrived into Utica at 1:01pm, 3 minutes early! So far, this has been one of the best on-time trains I’ve been on in a long time! Shortly after leaving Utica, we encountered a red signal at CP-235 to allow a freight to pass us, freight traffic was picking up a bit throughout the trip as we probably passed a dozen trains or more. At CP-188, we switched to Track #1, and were given permission to pass a stop sign at MP QC187.0 at 25mph due to trackwork in the area. Amsterdam, NY is not too far up the line from here but this train doesn’t stop there anymore due to such trackwork, from what I’ve read in online forums and such, this stop will be restored in the fall though I'm not 100% certain on that. We passed through CP-169 quickly, now running on the CSX Hudson Subdivision with our next stop in Schenectady just a few miles ahead. We now shot up to over 90mph as we passed by the Scotia, NY doing 94mph! (That was the reading on my GPS as Scotia doesn’t broadcast the speed.) At 2:21pm, only 2 minutes late, we arrived in Schenectady where I would get off.
   My friend Rich was waiting for me at the station, I headed over to my hotel, the Days Inn in Albany where I checked in, left my luggage, and headed out to do some railfanning on the CSX Hudson Subdivision. We drove down to Stockport, NY and stayed there about 2 hours. Three Amtrak trains went by in this, all 90mph territory. The scenery along the Hudson River is beautiful, and there were quite a few boaters out today as a boat launch is located nearby. After leaving Stockport, we headed back North, and West over to Amsterdam where we headed to Russo’s Grille for some good railfanning food, I had Cheese Sticks, Gravy Fries and Hot Chicken Wings, yum yum!!! After spending a little time over at the Amsterdam Station, Rich drove me back to my hotel where I turned in for the night.
   I woke up around 8:30am and had a bagel and some cinnamon rolls at the free continental breakfast in the hotel. The hotel room was clean and neat and I used the air conditioner as it was rather warm and humid outside, so the AC was a welcome thing! At about 11:00am, I checked out of the hotel and Rich and I rode back to Amsterdam to meet up with another railfan friend of Rich’s, the 3 of us stayed at the station until Train #48 – The Lake Shore Limited flew through at 71mph! We all left Amsterdam and went up to Wal-Mart where I got some of the photos I took on the trip developed and the three of us had lunch at Long John Silver’s. We drove back to Amsterdam Station and I had a conversation with a family from Saratoga Springs who recognized me from this web site! I also had a nice chat with a couple railfans from the New York City area who were in town. Not only did I photograph 2 more Amtrak Trains, I managed to photograph motive power from every major class one railroad in this country as well as CN in Canada! At about 4:00pm, Rich and I drove back to the Schenectady Station where he dropped me off and I headed for the platform. Just after I arrived, Train #70 – The Adirondack arrived with P32AC-DM #713 for power. I found this rather odd as this train usually has a P40 for power. Shortly after Train #70 left, Train #283, my train arrived with a still in Phase III painted P32AC-DM #700 for power. At 4:53, running on time, our train arrived into Schenectady. One disabled passenger needed assistance in getting off the train and at 4:58pm, 5 minutes late, we left Schenectady.
   I boarded ADA Compliant Amfleet I Coach #21635, the first coach back from the Café Car. The consist for tonight’s train is shown below:

Amtrak Train #283
May 2st, 2004
P32AC-DM - Power
Amfleet I Cafe Car
Amfleet I Coach (My Car)
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach
Amfleet I Coach

   When we arrived at Amsterdam, one of my railroad buddies was sitting near the platform in his Mazda Miata, when I called him on my cell phone! Gotta love technology! At CP-184, we had one small speed restriction in roughly the same location as yesterday because a new crossing is being built on a street in Fonda, NY. I had a nice conversation with the train crew and showed them some of the photos I took since I already had them back. I had a cheeseburger and a Diet Pepsi from the café car then started working more on this travelogue. We left Utica at 6:12pm, and Rome at 6:23pm, both stops, 3 minutes late. At the Kirkville Detector, we encountered the message “Hot Box Detector Not Working”, it broadcast three times and at the old Syracuse Station, we had to stop so the crew could inspect the train, we would then have to run 30mph to the next detector some 13 miles up the tracks from Kirkville!
   After the inspection of the train which found no defects, we plugged along at 30mph until we arrived at the Syracuse Station where we stayed for about 4 minutes before leaving at 7:13pm, 1 minute late. We hit the Syracuse Hot Box Detector just west of the station which found no defects with our train and we once again resumed track speed. Things were rather uneventful to Rochester, other than the fact that we ended up arriving there early! Once again, passengers got another smoking break, about 7 minutes to light up. Schedule padding is to the max on this train thanks to anticipated delays from CSX due to lots of scheduled trackwork coming up this summer. We left Rochester on time at 8:28pm and once again encountered no major problems between there and Buffalo. We left Buffalo-Depew Station at 9:22pm. I packed up my bags and got ready to get off the train at Buffalo-Exchange Street Station. At 9:33pm, arriving 2 minutes early, my trip came to an end as I got off at Exchange Street.
   This was a trip where customer service was top notch on both trains, and we encountered minimal delays that didn’t contribute to any serious lateness. This probably had mostly to do with the aforementioned schedule padding for this summer’s trackwork, but whatever the case, if the train is on time, passengers will be happy, no doubt. Amtrak had quite a testing Winter in 2004 with the countless equipment shortages due to the extremely cold weather in the Northeast. Thankfully, the calendar has ended that problem, and Amtrak’s equipment shortages are coming to an end at least now that the weather has improved. My hope for Amtrak this summer is that they continue to build ridership and have another successful summer. As for me, my next trip will be sometime this Fall as I won’t get a vacation week until then. Until my next trip, where I plan my to make my yearly trek to the Greatest Amusement Park In The World, as well as visit some other great destinations, Happy Railfanning…


In Stockport, NY on the Hudson Line is Amtrak Train #283 with P32AC-DM #710 for power. This train is headed for Niagara Falls, NY.

Train #262 heads South to New York City at 4:33pm with P32AC-DM #704.

Train #291 heads North at Stockport with P32AC-DM #711 in Phase V Paint.

On May 2nd, 2004, in Amsterdam, Train #48 - The Lake Shore Limited flies by the station at 71mph. For the past few months, Train #48 has been sharing The Silver Star's train set in order to cycle cars through maintenance facilities faster. Train #448 - The Lake Shore's Boston Section had been operating as a cross platform stub train from Albany to Boston during this period. As of 5/10/04, the Lake Shore Limited resumed it's regular operation of the Boston Section connecting with the train in Albany-Rensselaer.

Train #282 runs through Amsterdam with P32AC-DM #710 for power. For the summer of 2004, Train #282 (As well as Train #286 during the week) will not be stopping here so as to keep the train running through planned trackwork by CSX.

Train #287 passing through Amsterdam at 1:35pm. This is another train that will not be stopping here for the summer of 2004 due to CSX trackwork. It is thought that eliminating this stop will allow the train to maintain it's already heavily padded schedule through the work areas. This stop is set to be restored in the Fall of 2004.

An Eastbound CSX Freight with solid Union Pacific power passes by Amsterdam, today's train was lead by SD70M #4959.

Burlington Northern & Santa Fe #5150, a brand-new C44-9W leads this Eastbound at 2:19pm. These units generally have their maiden run on CSX to either Buffalo or Selkirk, coming straight out of GE Transportation Systems in Erie, Pa.

Westbound CSX Train Q-271 with C40-8W #7776 followed by an NS unit pass by Amsterdam at 2:28pm.

Canadian National #2533, a C44-9W leads a Wisconsin Central SD45 along with another CN unit on train Q-620 heading for Selkirk.

Amtrak Train #70 - The Adirondack from Montreal arrives into Schenectady and has P32AC-DM #713 for power.

Finally, arriving in Schenectady is my ride home, Amtrak Train #283 with P32AC-DM #700 for power. This is one of only a few of these units still left in Phase III paint!