Fort Edward (serving larger Glens Falls and formerly a transfer point to its branch line, the branch still standing) has been a station stop on Amtrak's Adirondack ever since it was restarted by using 403 funding from the State of New York (which still funds the route north of Albany today) in 1974. It was joined by the Vermont-supported Ethan Allen Express (which leaves the line shared with the Adirondack just south of the Whitehall station to curve east to Rutland making just one more intermediate stop in Castleton, Vermont) in December 1996. This means the station today has two trains per day. Travel times to New York from the station does very with the Ethan Allen Express a shorter trip than the Adirondack. This is due to the Adirondack changing engines in Albany (the Ethan Allen runs through to Vermont with a dual-mode P32, the Adirondack is switched to a conventional diesel P42) and a ton of recovery time built at Albany into the Adirondack schedule for any boarder delays. Northbound the difference is just 10 minutes (15 minutes on Friday's), southbound it is about an hour (65 minutes on Sunday, 55 on Weekdays and Saturdays).
Trains stop in at a historic and ornate late Victorian station house that was built in 1900 and placed on the national register of historic places in 2000. The staffed history of the station according to timetables is from the beginning of the Adirondack service in 1974 until between the April and October 1983 timetables when it became unstaffed. According to the caretaker who opens and closes the station it has never been staffed under Amtrak. The station through has never had checked baggage service because the Adirondack only had it from 1998 to 2003 (The Ethan Allen from 1999 to 2002). The station was closed until 2000 when a portion of the station's baggage shed was restored for passenger use. In April 2009 the historic station waiting room was reopened for both Amtrak passengers and a protion the Timeless Art Gallery and Gifts that included a cafe. This gallery is closed and the portion of the waiting room it formerly occupied is now roped off to passengers, closed in Summer 2012 http://timelessart.weebly.com/. I was told a new restaurant (I assume a cafe-type establishment) should enter the space by November. The portion of the waiting room open to passenger use has restored white and cream colored walls and an extremely high ceiling and a few benches. From the outside it looks like the station has two floors but these are just extra tall windows almost at the ceiling of the airy waiting room. There are also nice, clean bathrooms down a corridor. The southern wall of the waiting room has octagonal walls because of the branch line to Glens Falls on the west side of the depot and the main line to Plattsburgh and the Canadian boarder on the east side.
The exterior of the station house has also been restored with a tall tin, slate roof capped by a pyramid cupola and a secondary roof below it providing for cover for railroad passengers all around the station. This canopy extends north of the station house held up by four wooden cross beams. The canopy is between the stations modern platform and an industrial yard owned by Waste Management, housing a bunch of spools of cable. The station house is located along the northern side of the grade crossing with East Street at the southern corner of the wye made by the branch line to Hudson Falls and Glens Falls (still used by freight). This means there are tracks along both sides of the station house, to the west the branch line to the east, the main line and where Amtrak stops.
Passengers boarded trains directly at track level on the grade crossing (between the station house and the platform was some overgrown grass) until about 2010-2011 when under the Recovery Act the station received $500,000 to build an ADA complaint low-level platform made out of concrete with a tactile warning strip. The southern end of this eight-inch high platform has a gradual ramp up is at the grade crossing and it extends north about 400 feet. There is a green railing all along the edge of it and a line of black lampposts behind it that hadn't turned on when I boarded the Ethan Allen Express at dusk. The northern end of the platform simple descends to track level with the railing ending along a side but no 'no trespassing' sign for passengers to enter the freight yard north of the platform. Beyond the northern brach of the wye formed by the Glens Falls branch. In the middle of the platform just north of the end of the canopy that extends from the depot is another ramp up to the platform (with railings) and a wheelchair lift enclosure just north of the ramp not in view from the historic station. The platform has 3 modern silver signs that say Fort Edward, NY these supplement the two historic green with yellow text Fort Edward signs along the depot. One final feature is an oddly placed Amtrak information panel display diagonally across from the station at the SE corner of the East Street grade crossing across from the station. This display says Fort Edward-Glens Falls above the information. If the station didn't have a modern platform I might wonder if this was the proper place to wait.
All Photos taken on 21 October, 2012
Last Updated: 25 October, 2012