To Albany For Lunch

To Albany for Lunch

By Jeremiah Cox. This trip was taken on 23 June, 2005

For PhotosAlbany

I decided that the only way to meet my grandparents without seeing them for 4 months straight was meet them half way for lunch, in Albany. They lived in Syracuse; I took the train up from New York. It was about half way. The first think that amazed me about my lunch was the price of my ticket, $73.10 round-trip and that was with the 15% Student Advantage Discount. I could have gone to Chicago practically on that (in September using weekly specials) round-trip. But I was a good grandson and went anyway. I took the Adirondack up (Train #69), and got an unreserved ticket for coming back.

My trip started out like every other trip, taking the A train down to Penn Station. The A was its crowded-self in the morning rush, I got in the last car, which is the completely wrong end at 34th Street, but I knew that I would get a seat on the subway. I wouldn't have at the front (The main entrances at 207th, Dyckman, and 190th are at or towards the front). I was on R44 #5318

I got off at Penn Station and walked upstairs to the big board (I had picked-up my tickets the day before.), and started my trip just like every other, watching the board for my track. Everything is running on time this morning. At 8:02 the boarding call was made for Track 5 East. I waited in the long line for the escalator, realized I was being stupid, and walked down the staircase at 5 West. There was a train bound for Washington that had just finished boarding and was leaving on track 6, a little late. Here I saw the P32AC-DM Locomotive and wrote down the number, the rest I recorded when I walked the length of the short train, I was sorry that the train was completely Amfleets and there were no horizon coaches, I've never been in one before.
The Departures board at Penn Station
The Departures Board at Penn Station

The Consist of the Adirondack Train #69:

8:16-Leave Penn Station-Switching out of it's a very dark experience with the lights flickering on and off. This is because we were using the third rail of our P32AC-DM, and since there's only 1 locomotive, there is only one third rail shoe. This isn't a problem on the third-rail MU cars since they have many third rail shoes, and having one off keeps the lights on in other cars. The P32AC-DMs were manufactured just for this purpose, to run into Penn Station and Grand Central, where diesel use is prohibited in the tunnels. Although there is also the Metro-North's Hudson Line's third rail between Spuyten Duyvil and Croton Harmon, the train continues their as diesel because it can. Conductor comes almost immediately, gives no seat checks. He tells the lady sitting next to me who's going to Saratoga Springs and that she boarded the wrong car and will have to move back in Albany, guess my car will be closed, he gives her the lone seat check. We slowly ran through the tunnels of the West Side Line. The train horn kept echoing in the tunnels. I see that some of the West Side Highway support beams are having work done on them. I keep track of the time we bypass Metro-North Stations north of here:

I walk upstairs and find my grandparents waiting for me. I take a few photos of the large and new Rensselear station building, which has a number of shops, and lots of Amtrak offices. We walk outside and drive across the Hudson River into Albany and have lunch and then walk around the state capitol a little. (The Amtrak station in Albany isn't actually in Albany but across the river in Rensselear, where there are some Amtrak shops and large yard is.)

After a pleasant lunch in Albany and chatting with my Grandparents, and walking a tiny, bit it's time for them to drop me off at the station and for them to drive back to Syracuse. We get lost trying to find the bridge across the Hudson, but we due find it. I am dropped of at the station at 1:45. A little early. Rensselear station itself is not good for photographing trains since you normally must shoot through the overpass glass. Only ticketed passengers boarding a train are allowed on the platform, and that's after the train is in the station. Their are a number of nearby highway overpasses which are great for photographing the surrounding train yards. I walk to the edge of one of the bridges to the station parking lot (theirs a garage underneath). I look and photograph the view of the yards and the old low-level platforms. I notice that the two Lakeshore Limited trains (one to Boston and one to New York), are both still in the station. I see a P32AC-DM Locomotive and five Amfleet coaches waiting behind it I figure out that this must be the 2:00 Empire Service. Oh well no horizon ride for me. I go back to the station, the Lakeshores has left my train has entered on the track behind it. I test the automatic doors down to the platform but they're locked, the escalator (there is one staircase and one escalator to each platform from the mezzanine.) is going down. An Amtrak Employee comes and opens the doors, I go down to the platform.

Consist of Unreserved Empire Service train #260:

The train back down was fairly empty, no one had to double up, and there were some completely empty seats. The conductor yet again came almost immediately after we left Albany and wasn't bothering with seat checks. I seemed to be in the Kiddie Car with a number of families with young children. The children seemed well behaved.

  • 1:59-Lv. Rensselear-one minute early
  • 2:12-Café Car opened, I go for my consist walk.
  • 2:13-Stop for some reason near the Hudson, and a field, the line here is 3 tracks, moving at 2:20
  • 2:33-Hudson
  • We continue along the mighty Hudson, which looks as powerful has it always does. Were using the normal northbound tracks due to some CSX work on the southbound track of this two track line
  • 2:58-Rhinecliff
  • 3:12-Poughkeepsie
  • 3:21-New Hamburg
  • 3:25-Beacon
  • ??-Breakneck Ridge-missed that tiny stop
  • 3:31-Cold Spring
  • 3:23-Garrison
  • ??-Manitou-missed that tiny stop
  • 3:45-Peekskil
  • The train runs very slowly due to Metro-North Railroad Track work. I think they might be testing the tracks with the Sperry Rail Car. (This test for broken tracks, and is important in avoiding derailments). Were wrong railing, on the normal outbound track.
  • 3:50-Stop on banked curve, moving at 3:52
  • 3:54-Cortlandt
  • 4:00-Croton-Harmon-Track 1, the station signs that say departure information. Said we had been changed. After stopping we switched to the normal Southbound express track of this 4 track line.
  • 4:05-Ossining
  • 4:06-Scarborough
  • 4:09-Philipse Manor
  • 4:10-Tarrytown
  • 4:11-Irvington-normal southbound local track closed-bridgeplates
  • 4:12-Ardsley-bridgeplates
  • 4:13-Dobbs Ferry-temporary platform
  • 4:14-Hastings-bridgeplates
  • 4:15-Greystone
  • 4:17-Glenwood
  • 4:18-Yonkers-giong passed the Kawasaki plat there are some bi-level cars uunderconstruction, I can't make out who there for.
  • 4:19-Ludlown
  • 4:20-Riverdale, The Bronx, NYC
  • 4:22-We go over the Spuyten Duyvil Bridge, and make our way down the West Side line, we seem to be running very slowly.
  • 4:38-Stop and wait for track at Penn Station, and another train to pass us. We are at ~50th Street. At 4:43 a northbound train passes us, we move when it leaves. The line becomes only one track here although there is room for another.
  • Pantograph wires and the third rail start up north of the Javits Convention Center at ~39th Street when the line enters tunnels. The pantograph wires are used by AEM-7 Electric Locomotives in the event that the P32AC-DMs 3rd Rail shoes don't work or a P42 comes down the Hudson. This happens on the Lakeshore Limited sometimes when the locomotive isn't switched in Albany. Then an AEM-7 comes up and pulls the train into Penn Station from here. The P32AC-DMs are the only Amtrak locomotives with 3rd Rail shoes. The lights due the normal routine of switching on and off as we enter Penn Station.
  • 4:47-Arrive Penn Station-Track 5 AGAIN-22 minutes late due to Metro-North Track work, and having to wait to enter the station.
The Departures board at Penn Station
The field we spent 7 minutes stopped at
The Departures board at Penn Station
Our track has been changed at Croton-Harmon
The Departures board at Penn Station
What's currently in the Kawasaki Plant

I leave the train go up to the A platform and take the A home.

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Last Updated: 24 June, 2005
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