Transit Adventures

An Relaxing Relatively Empty Empire Service Ride back from Syracuse with a nice hour in Hudson

I drive to the station arriving at 10:05 with my grandmother and we try the new parking lot situation. You have to take a ticket, you get an hour free and now the price is a steep $7 per day. Parking used to be basically free (maybe $10 for up to 30 days). I walk through the station and buy a second breakfast my usual Boston cream donut. That will tide me over until a late lunch in Hudson, my only stopover today. Today is also the first day of schedule changes that give my Empire Service Change a 15 minute longer layover in Albany.

My original plan for the day was an ambitious SYR to UCA on this train, UCA to ALB on the Lake Shore Limited with a same segment connection to HUD on the next Empire Service train and the Adirondack back to New York. Saturday I found out about something I want to do in New York Monday evening, surprisingly all the trains were still at the new low-bucket of $61, I did lose $5 giving up my NARP discount but decided I might as well spend $10 more for a one-way ticket south to Philly ($71 total ticket cost) for yet another day trip on Wednesday. I keep meaning to get to Utica but didn’t feel like dealing with the 6:55 departure for over 3 hours in Utica between 7:57 and 11:39 in the morning. The original plan was just an hour ‘preliminary’ stopover before catching the Lake Shore Limited.

The train comes in early at 10:22. I’m directed to the last coach in front of the cafe car. A good few dozen people get off mostly clearly students coming back to Syracuse from weekends in Rochester and Buffalo. I’m the first to board Leave at 10:31. The conductor comes through and is confirming quite a few people by last name. I have my computer scanned again for my own amusement. There are now NYP seat checks in my car.

  • 10:44 – under I-481, Syracuse’s sort of beltway.
  • 11:13 – arrive Rome 3 minutes early, “This is not Rome Italy, but Rome New York” One door opens between my car and the cafe car. Don’t see anyone we sit there until. This announcement wakes me up from my morning nap. At 11:16 I hear the trap door go up and we leave on time. 13 minutes to Utica.
  • 11:28 – arrive Utica, 11 minutes early. I’ve never been this early into Utica. I’m tempted to try and step off the train since were early but decide not to press my luck and force myself to come back here another time for a full blown layover. We sit for 11 minutes and leave on time at 11:39.
  • 12:05 – Pass the westbound Maple Leaf. My car is still nice and empty.
  • We’ve been going a little slowly and definitely won’t be early into Amsterdam.
  • 12:35 – We pass a CSX track gang along the Mohawk River.
  • 12:46 – Arrive Amsterdam, 7 minutes late, they open one door at the rear of my car.
  • 12:53 – Pass a mill on the banks of the river
  • 1:09 – Arrive in Schenectady on Track 2. There is some platform action. Double-toot at 1:11 and we leave. There is still graffiti on the underpasses. We switch back onto the single track from Albany to Hoffmans.
  • 1:18 – Pass #281
  • 1:36 – We slowly enter Albany with a line of 3 dual-mode P32, the schedule has just changed with a longer Albany layover (the schedule I picked up in Syracuse is old, we now leave at 2:20, instead of 2:05, I wonder why). We arrive at 1:37 to a freight train across from us on Track 3

I finish writing more station pages and get off at 1:45 as my train is already boarding 45 minutes early. I go take a walk into the station and if I wasn’t making my Hudson stopover I would go over to that pizza shop again. They also keep announcing that boarding gates in Albany close Two Minutes Before Departure. I know this is done in Washington but didn’t realize its policy in Albany. When I go back down to the platform There 3 employees at the gate but no one checks my ticket. I guess lacking luggage makes it clear I’m just on the layover. I stretch my legs walking the platform and notice the front door of the front coach has platformed. On my last trip the locomotive pulled up so far that the door was beyond the end of the platform. I also find some boxes of salt left over from winter they all have signs saying only use on the platform and not aboard the train, I assume its corrosive.

  • 2:02 – Another train led by P32 #710 pulls in on track one. I wonder if my next train #242 is coming in early?
  • 2:08 – Niagara Falls-bound Train 283 in the station leaves. My car gets more crowded all well dressed politicos.
  • 2:19 – Here a bell, the doors closing.
  • 2:22 – Here the double toot and leave.
  • 2:43 – It’s an uneventful short ride down to Hudson where we arrive 2 minutes early and their collecting tickets on the platform with two open doors.

I am hungry since I haven’t had lunch yet and go across the street to a breakfast and lunch place to have an overly gourmet and quite delicious breakfast sandwich (prosciutto, egg, pesto, mozzarella). I walk back over to the station and notice the grade crossing just south of it, the siding still has CSX’s emergency phone numbers. The main line’s signs have been changed for Amtrak, they now (with Metro-North) control the Empire Corridor! I photograph 283 going through. I stop at the ticket office to Ask for a copy of the new timetable and get a paper print out of two pages stapled and not double sided.

At 3:41 Train 242 led by P42 #710, the trainset that had already entered the platform in Albany comes in early. From the outside I notice its nice and empty with just 3 of the 5 coaches open. The conductor scans my ticket barely on the platform. The eTicket code on the main screen for the reservation doesn’t work. He tries to look me up but doesn’t seem to find my name. I pull up the screen for just my train (after actidently showing my previous segment on 280) and it works. I grab a seat on the left. The crew announces Hudson in 20 minutes and unfortunately there is no food & beverage service on this train, although there is still a cafe car with Business Class. The conductor comes and gives me a Y seat check.

  • 4:07 – Rhinecliff arriving one minute late, Scanning is on the platform and we leave at 4:10.
  • 4:23 – Poughkeepsie. A half dozen people get off with only a few doors open, we leave at 4:24. They announce 35 minutes to Croton-Harmon, hour and a half to Penn station. How long to my stop today, Yonkers?
  • I end up having a good nap all the way until just north of Croton-Harmon. We arrive at 5:00 on time. We leave at 5:01.
  • 5:05 – I notice a couple people fishing along the tracks. I wonder if that’s legal?
  • 5:06 – Pass Ossening and Sing Sing.
  • 5:09 – Phillipse Manor
  • 5:11 – Rebuilt Tarrytown and under the Tappen-Zee.
  • 5:13 – Irvington then Ardsley.
  • 5:14 – Dobbs Ferry
  • 5:15 – Hastings
  • 5:19 – entering Yonkers see some new R142s, some on trailers in the Kawasaki Plant.

I get off into the nice warm afternoon and walk the few blocks to Gety Share. The 1C and 3 are both at the nearby stop. I hop on the 3 Express, at 5:25 a less crowded Articulated Bus. We soon pass the 1C. I chose my bus well this time.

  • 5:36 – entering the Bronx.
  • 5:42 – at 242 st Subway Station, I check the app and this is when my train arrives in Penn Station

Since I had evening plans and had to pass on a more ambitious trip home via UCA Hudson was perfect for an hour layover. I had a great hour to break up my trip. I found a very good meal and had a nice little walk. It also let me get away from a crowded Empire Service Through Train #284 to a nice, empty ALB-NYP only train #242 with maybe 10 people in my car. The bus ride from Yonkers felt easy and not a stunt, It got me home sooner than if I continued to Penn Station and got on the A train. Tomorrow I have a busy day (luckily nothing before 11:30) and am looking forward to getting downtown in style on Train #236