Category Archives: New York State

All aboard for the new Rochester train station

Democrat & Chronical via California Rail News

It was only supposed to be a temporary solution. Thirty-seven years after the Rochester train station was built, construction is now near completion for a new hub for Amtrak and CSX and an enhanced traveling experience for passengers.

Together with area business owners, Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, D-Fairport, led a tour of the new train station that’s slated to be completed in a few weeks. She helped secure a $15 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to help fund the expansion.

The remodel was much needed to help grow businesses and to serve the entire community, Slaughter said.

“Our community is blessed to be close to so many major cities and this new state-of-the-art, ADA-compliant station will help move goods and people where they need to go and encourage new companies to open their doors right here in Monroe County,” Slaughter said.

The project will be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Once completed, it will feature 12,000 square feet of space, including a passenger concourse, platform and passenger display systems. The station will offer full access to the platform by elevators, escalators, stairs and ramps. Currently, passengers must climb up steps to board the train and passengers with disabilities need to use a lift.

Infrastructure is critical to the success of area businesses and trains are as important as other modes of transportation, Slaughter said. Many passengers prefer to take the train versus flying so they can relax and stretch out on the ride, she said.

Irondequoit resident Marlene Canavan agrees. She was waiting for her daughter, Darla, to arrive from New York City at the train station. Her daughter switches between flying and taking the train and sometimes prefers the train because it is time consuming to go through airport security. Canavan is eager to see the upgrades to the Rochester train station.

Accessibility to Rochester is important for visitors coming to the area, said Naomi Silver, president and CEO of Rochester Red Wings minor league baseball team.

Having a good infrastructure for different transportation is important for businesses in the area, said John Hart, CEO of Lumetrics in Henrietta. The infrastructure helps bring customers in, he said.

Governor Cuomo Bringing In HIS Team To Run MTA

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim today announced that Janno Lieber, a senior private sector real estate development and construction executive who is the current President of World Trade Center Properties, will join the senior executive ranks of the MTA as Chief Development Officer. In this newly created position, Lieber will take over leadership and oversight of key strategic capital initiatives focused on increasing the capacity of the system.

“The key to transforming the MTA is delivering on bold and ambitious projects that will give New Yorkers the enhanced, modern transportation system they deserve,” Governor Cuomo said. “Janno Lieber has a proven track record of innovative success managing multi-billion dollar projects in the private sector and deep experience in transportation. His unique skillset is a significant asset and will help us continue to deliver on the promise of a world-class transit system for New Yorkers.”

As part of his new responsibilities, Lieber will head up the MTA Capital Construction Company and will manage the MTA’s major capital projects that expand capacity:

Second Avenue Subway Phase II – extending the line to 125th Street;
East Side Access – connecting Long Island Railroad to Grand Central Terminal;
Penn Station Access – bringing Metro-North Railroad into Penn Station;
Enhanced Stations;
Improved Rail Mass Transit Access to JFK Airport with a focus on developing a one-seat ride;
LIRR Third Track – expanding capacity on the Railroad’s main line; and
LIRR Double Track – improving service and reliability on the LIRR’s Ronkonkoma Branch.

His new broad strategic portfolio will also include oversight of the following key initiatives:
Signalization priorities – Communication Based Train Control and Positive Train Control;
MTA Real Estate – Real Estate Development; and
Alternate Project Delivery – including in particular expanded use of Public Private Partnerships.

Lieber brings extraordinary private sector experience to his new role as Chief Development Officer. Most recently, he served as President of World Trade Center Properties for 14 years where he managed the multi-billion dollar development of Silverstein Properties’ projects at the World Trade Center. Lieber’s responsibilities included managing design and building, business, finance, public affairs, legal, government and community relations. His appointment is a part of Governor Cuomo’s commitment to bringing private sector talent into public service to produce results for New Yorkers.
MTA Interim Executive Director Ronnie Hakim said, “These projects are the foundation upon which the future of our agency is being built. We look forward to Janno bringing to the MTA his lifetime of experience in getting big things accomplished – and we know that will pay lasting dividends for our riders and customers.”
Acting Chairman MTA Board Fernando Ferrer said, “The MTA is the economic engine of New York and we are moving our region forward with an unprecedented investment in our infrastructure. Janno Lieber’s has proven that he has the ability to get results and we are proud to have him on our team at the MTA.”
Janno Lieber said, “New York has always led the way in public transportation. Now, under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership we are again taking on the big projects that will make a real difference to New Yorkers’ lives and to our economic future. I’m thrilled to join him and the entire MTA team on that mission.”
Prior to World Trade Center Properties, Lieber served as Senior Vice President of Lawrence Ruben Company, and worked with clients such as Chicago Transit Authority, New Jersey Transit, and Penn Station Redevelopment Corp. – the agency responsible for planning the transformation of the James A. Farley Post Office Building into Moynihan Station.
Before that, Lieber served in the federal government, having been appointed in 1994 by President Bill Clinton to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy for the U.S. Department of Transportation. In this role, Lieber spearheaded the development and roll-out of the Clinton Administration’s ISTEA authorization proposal, a highway and mass transit funding bill that included federal spending to improve, widen and extend the nation’s highway system.

Earlier in his career, Lieber practiced law at the New York firm of Patterson, Belknap Webb & Tyler and served as a transportation policy advisor in the office of New York City Mayor Ed Koch.

Lieber is a graduate of Harvard University and New York University Law Schoo

Check out our new “MAYBROOK YARD” WebPage

We have worked today on trying to clear up the “mystery’s” of the Central New England/New Haven Railroad MAYBROOK YARD.

Take a look at it: https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/maybrook-yard/

We are trying to show how the Maybrook Yard tied into the Great Bridge at Pougheepsie and the “Maybrook Line” from Hopewell Junction across the mountains to Danbury and on to Cedar Hill. We also found a great article from EXPERT Jack Swanberg on the same subject.

We are still finding out more about the current “players”. We know that few railroads no longer serve the Maybrook Yard. We know the railroad leaving Maybrook towards the North is owned by CONRAIL Shared Assets/NorfolkSouthern but is operated by the Middletown & New Jersey Railroad.

Still trying to find out about the old NY Central Wallkill Valley branch and railroads in New Paltz, NY

Amtrak statewide ridership dips in NY State

ALBANY Times-Union

On the eve of massive track repair work at Penn Station in New York City, Amtrak’s upstate ridership is struggling to grow.

For passenger rail advocates such as Bruce Becker, vice president of operations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, that’s troubling.

“It is a cause for concern,” Becker said. “While ridership in the Hudson Valley has grown modestly, ridership across upstate New York and on the Adirondack has dropped.”

Becker cites a number of possible reasons for the decline.

“One is lower gas prices,” he said. They’re down about $1.25 per gallon in the Capital Region compared to the summer of 2014, according to figures from GasBuddy.com.

But Amtrak’s own difficulties may also have contributed.

It had to cancel one daily train for a number of days last summer west of the Capital Region while CSX worked on the tracks.

“Last summer was not a stellar period for on-time performance,” Becker added.

It has been nine years since Congress approved the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act, which shifted more of the cost of passenger rail operations to the states.

New York has continued to use the existing passenger cars, many of which are now 40 years old. Its specially built dual-mode locomotives that can operate on diesel or electric power have seen several breakdowns this spring, stranding hundreds of passengers.

For passenger rail advocates such as Bruce Becker, vice president of operations for the National Association of Railroad Passengers, that’s troubling.

“It is a cause for concern,” Becker said. “While ridership in the Hudson Valley has grown modestly, ridership across upstate New York and on the Adirondack has dropped.”

It had to cancel one daily train for a number of days last summer west of the Capital Region while CSX worked on the tracks.

A recommendation by some state Department of Transportation officials to replace the locomotives wasn’t included in the most recent state budget.
The state,meanwhile, has a vested interest in seeing higher passenger revenues, because they reduce the amount it must pay Amtrak to operate the trains.

Nationwide, Amtrak saw record ridership last year, carrying 31.3 million passengers. But statewide, ridership fell nearly 4.7 percent to 1.7 million, according to a recent presentation to the Empire State Passengers Association.

About half of those — 855,000 — began or ended their trips at the Albany-Rensselaer train station, one of Amtrak’s busiest.

Many factors can contribute to a decrease in ridership levels including gas prices, construction and service reliability and we continue to evaluate ways to mitigate these impacts and highlight Amtrak’s many passenger amenities and value proposition,” Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said. “Amtrak ridership overall remains strong, with a record 31.3 million passengers in Fiscal Year 2016, marking the sixth consecutive year Amtrak has carried more than 30 million customers.”

EDITORS NOTE: Is the upstate operation “pure” AMTRAK or dependant on the State too? How about borrowing rolling stock and dual diesel- electric locomotives from other NY State agencies (like Metro-North)?

6 Amtrak trains to use Grand Central Terminal this summer

From The Journal News | LoHud.com-Jun 12, 2017

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Interim Executive Director Veronique Hakim confirmed Monday that Amtrak and the MTA have “an agreement” to begin running trains to and from upstate into the east side station, as the national railroad begins much-needed repairs in Penn Station.

“They will be bringing a small part of their Empire Service into Grand Central. We think they’re looking at six trains, three in or three out,” Hakim said. “That could provide some relief at Penn (Station) as well.”

Empire Service trains make stops between the Albany area and New York City, including Yonkers and Schenectady, among others. Some trains originate or terminate in Buffalo, making stops in Rochester and Syracuse.

Empire Service trains have not run into Grand Central since 1991 when Amtrak consolidated all its operations in Penn Station, which it owns, a move that allowed upstate travelers to change trains across a platform rather than across town.

But a litany of issues in recent months, including two derailments in the spring, has brought to light significant issues at the station, including years’ worth of neglect by Amtrak at the station.

In order to get things back into good condition, Amtrak will have to perform eight weeks of improvements starting next month, which will take tracks out of service and wreak havoc on Long Island Railroad and NJ Transit schedules.

Hakim said the MTA would be monitoring the improvement process closely to make sure Amtrak is finished on time.

“We want to keep Amtrak’s feet to the fire when it comes to meeting their schedule,” she said.

Hakim announced changes to the Long Island Railroad, including lengthening trains, canceling others, running buses and ferries free for weekly and monthly ticket holders and slashing overnight tolls for trucks.

“We know that our customers have had enough. We heard them loud and clear,” Hakim said. “Dozens of weekly delays … have rippling consequences, not just here but throughout our entire region.”

NJ Transit, which operates trains to and from Rockland County, had announced its plans earlier. They include routing some lines into Hoboken and adjusting schedules for others.

Rockland County trains will work on their regular schedules, according to the NJ Transit plan, though commuters who change at Secaucus Junction for Penn Station may need to adjust their schedules, the agency said.

Looking for the Ontario & Western….Found Salisbury Mills

Got a request from a viewer about NY Ontario & Western tracks from Cornwall-on-Hudson to Salisbury Mills. The old (at least 1957) O&W tracks appear everywhere across New York State from Cornwall to Utica to Oswego.

Consulted Emily from “I RideThe Harlem Line” and seem to have found an answer.

Salisbury Mills – Cornwall Station. Is on the Graham Line (named after Chief Engineer Joseph M. Graham), which was created to better accomodate freight. Really, the most noteworthy part of the then-Graham Line, today’s Port Jervis Line, is the Moodna Viaduct.

A few of the stations on the Port Jervis line feature a little historical sketch on the canopy. Unfortunately, the one at Salisbury Mills – Cornwall is left blank… which is really too bad.

The original Salisbury Mills station was on the Erie’s Newburgh Branch.
Chester was Always Erie too.

CNE and Hopewell Junction Railfans

To all of Bernie Rudburg’s e-mail fans.

If you are not aware, and are wondering why you have not seen any e-mails from Bernie this year, we lost our Conductor and Historian emeritus last December. Bernie was the heart and soul of the Depot and he is sourly missed.

We have dedicated the station masters office to Bernie and plan to build a 20 foot by 40 foot picnic pavilion just south of the Interlocking Tower later this year and dedicate it to Bernie’s memory as well. If you are interested in supporting this project, please send your contributions to the Depot or donate at the “Give” page on our website (hopewelldepot.org).

We are now working on providing Depot update e-mails one or two times per month during the summer and fall seasons, so stay tuned.

Joe Sullivan
President, Hopewell Depot Restoration Corp.
PO Box 1044, Hopewell Junction, NY 12533
www.hopewelldepot.org

Troy & Greenbush Railroad

The Troy and Greenbush Railroad was chartered in 1845 and opened later that year, connecting Troy south to East Albany (now Rensselaer) on the east side of the Hudson River.

It was the last link in an all-rail line between Boston and Buffalo. Until bridges were built between Albany and Rensselaer, passengers crossed on ferries while the train went up to Troy, crossed the Hudson River, and came back down to Albany.

The Hudson River Railroad was chartered in 1846 to extend this line south to New York City; the full line opened in 1851. Prior to completion, the Hudson River leased the Troy and Greenbush.

The two railroad bridges crossing the Hudson River between Rensselaer and Albanywere owned nominally by a separate organization called The Hudson River Bridge Company at Albany, incorporated in 1856. This ownership was vested in The New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company, three-fourths, and the Boston and Albany Railroad Company, one-fourth. Except for foot passengers, the bridges were used exclusively for railroad purposes. The north bridge (variously referred to as the Livingston Avenue Bridge or Freight Bridge) was opened in 1866, and the south bridge (variously referred to as the Maiden Lane Bridge or Passenger Bridge) in 1872.

The first railroad in New York State, and one of the first anywhere, was the Mohawk & Hudson, connecting Albany and Schenectady. The Rensselaer & Saratoga Rail Road followed in 1832, only a year later. Within twenty years, three more railroads came into Troy:
(1) Troy & Greenbush;
(2) Troy & Boston; and
(3)Troy & Schenectady.
The resulting congestion led to the formation of the Troy Union Railroad in 1851, owned jointly by the four roads. It opened in 1854. The tracks were moved from River Street to Sixth Avenue and a new station built. One of the lines was eventually bought by the D&H RR (Rensselaer & Saratoga RR), two were merged into the New York Central RR (Troy & Schenectady RR and the Troy & Greenbush RR), and the fourth became part of the Boston & Maine RR (Troy & Boston RR).

See our full WebSite
https://penneyandkc.wordpress.com/troy-greenbush-railroad/

New York Central Song

“Twilight of American Rail Travel” means different things to different people. To me, it meant the period in the 1960’s until Amtrak when passenger service went downhill. More specifically, it was the “Empire Corridor” running along the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers to New York City. Before the “twilight”, well maintained, well patronized New York Central trains ran this route.

My favorite song is

“City of New Orleans” written by Steve Goodman and sung by Arlo Guthrie. It talks about the same period, but on the Illinois Central Railroad. Lots of similarities!

“Riding on the City of New Orleans, Illinois Central Monday morning rail Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders,”

Yes, rode on train like that too. Although lot of those cars were “head end equipment”.

“Three conductors and twenty-five sacks of mail.”

Loss of that mail was what really did in rail passenger service. Always heard stories of how President Lyndon Johnson pulled the mail off trains to pay off his airline buddies for political favors. Imagine! Entrusting our mail to people who seem incapable of moving our luggage between two cities and not losing it!

“All along the southbound odyssey. The train pulls out at Kankakee. Rolls along past houses, farms and fields. Passin’ trains that have no names, Freight yards full of old black men And the graveyards of the rusted automobiles.”

Yes, the Hudson Valley was in the process of change. Industry was gone and the “yuppies” (“millenials”) had not yet built their country homes. Lot of abandoned factories, rusted rail sidings.

“Good morning America how are you? Don’t you know me I’m your native son, I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans, I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.”

Yes, the New York Central, was New York State’s Native Son. It was one of the biggest factors in making New York great.

“Dealin’ card games with the old men in the club car. Penny a point ain’t no one keepin’ score. Pass the paper bag that holds the bottle. Feel the wheels rumblin’ ‘neath the floor. And the sons of pullman porters And the sons of engineers Ride their father’s magic carpets made of steel. Mothers with their babes asleep, Are rockin’ to the gentle beat And the rhythm of the rails is all they feel.”

Never any offense to the train crews. Railroad problems came instead from “greed run rampant” at railroad headquarters in Philadelphia. Passengers were only the ones who hadn’t or couldn’t get enamoured with America’s “Car Culture”.

“Nighttime on The City of New Orleans, Changing cars in Memphis, Tennessee. Half way home, we’ll be there by morning.”

How about changing engines at Harmon?

The beautiful (ugly to many) P-Motor is waiting for an East-bound passenger train to go 33 miles right into the heart of New York City. Does not matter how many diesels pulled the train from Chicago. The single P-Motor can pull it! Thanks to Wayne Koch for great photo.

“Through the Mississippi darkness Rolling down to the sea. And all the towns and people seem To fade into a bad dream And the steel rails still ain’t heard the news. The conductor sings his song again, The passengers will please refrain This train’s got the disappearing railroad blues.”

Even the huge Chevrolet plant in North Tarrytown would be gone by the end of the 20th Century and turned into condos!

“Good night, America, how are you? Don’t you know me I’m your native son, I’m the train they call The City of New Orleans, I’ll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.”

Good night New York Central!

See Penney Vanderbilt’s Blog on Arlo Guthrie and Alice’s Restaurant

You will also be interested in our page on the 20th Century Limited

Could this ‘visionary’ plan solve the area’s transit woes? (VIDEO)

NJ.com via California Rail News

With Penn Station’s failing infrastructure at capacity, a plan to merge the area’s train and bus service into one regional system is the cornerstone of an idea floated by a New York design firm as a solution to the region’s commuting problems.

Called ReThink NYC Plan 2050, the centerpiece of the idea is a unified commuter rail that connects NJ Transit, Metro North and the Long Island Rail Road lines through a revamped Penn Station…

Some funding for the plan, estimated to cost $48 billion, would come from scaling back plans to replace the Port Authority Bus Terminal with a smaller structure. It would eliminate plans to build an annex south of Penn Station, which Rick called “a $7 billion to $8 billion mistake.”
The main criticism of Penn South annex is the extra tracks would dead end, limiting their usefulness.

“No other city is building a terminal in its core,” Rick said.
Instead, all platforms under Penn Station would be extended beneath the Moynihan Station, which will be the new name of the converted Farley postal facility.