New track may bring fewer train delays for Schenectady travelers


According to a recent Times Union article, a planned second rail track between Albany and Schenectady will ease issues in a problematic service area, allowing frequent service and easy commutes to New York City.

However, after comparing the cost of extending trains to the current cost of trains that now start and terminate at Rensselaer Station, it will be up to state officials to determine whether Schenectady and Saratoga Springs will see more passenger rail service.

As of right now, only eight Amtrak trains serve both Schenectady and Saratoga Springs, which is highly inconvenient for commuters to New York City.

The 14-mile single track in Schenectady faces delays and interruption every now and then waiting for other trains to pass.

Consequently, some commuters choose to drive to Rensselaer through rush-hour traffic to catch one of the trains, says the Times Union piece on the proposed track.

Currently, Rensselaer has 13 departures to New York City every day.

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo unveiling plans last week for billions of dollars of rail infrastructure improvements and revamping of Manhattan’s Penn station, additional rail improvements or services upstate were things he didn’t mention.

Surprisingly, $200 million in previous projects, including the second track and a new train station for downtown Schenectady are in works, but no plan to start additional services exists, which has irked residents of the area reports the Times Union.

Previously, Amtrak did have two early-morning departures and two evening arrivals from Schenectady. The trains servicing the area had engines at both ends, eliminating the need to turn the train around in Schenectady.

But the rush-hour arrivals and departures became a logistical challenge when Amtrak switched to conventional train sets, with just one engine, says the Times Union.

The Albany newspaper reports that that, along with the delays posed by the single track, eventually led Amtrak put off the rush-hour service and expect locals to drive to Rensselaer.

Recently, a freight train derailed near Schenectady, which caused delays in Amtrak service as far west as Buffalo. The derailed freight cars remained upright and no one was injured.


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