CDTA CELEBRATES RENSSELAER RAIL STATION 10-YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Milestone Highlights Authority Role in Coordinating Capital Region Mobility Services
(Rensselaer, NY) – The Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) today celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the CDTA Rensselaer Rail Station. The facility, which opened on September 22, 2002, is the Capital Region’s largest train station, and the ninth-busiest in the Amtrak network that runs across the United States.
“The Rensselaer Rail Station’s success prompted CDTA to expand into facility operations, with the Saratoga Springs Train Station opening in 2004 and the pending upgrade to the Schenectady Train Station,” said CDTA Chairwoman Denise Figueroa. “While we are best known for buses, our organization has become the Capital Region’s true mobility leader, offering travelers the service they need in the mode of transportation they desire.”
The Rensselaer Rail Station has become the gateway to the Capital Region for travelers reaching from New York City to Canada. The 80,000-square-foot facility has 67,000 square feet of floor space, featuring Friar Tuck newsstand, the Coffee Beanery, a U.S. Post Office, along with taxi and car service kiosks. CDTA is owner/operator of the Rensselaer Rail Station, while Amtrak operates the train, ticketing, and baggage service.
Over the last decade, the Rensselaer Rail Station has become the cornerstone of CDTA’s enhanced mobility services. The facility’s construction allowed CDTA to extend beyond buses, becoming the catalyst for further expansion.
“The Rensselaer Rail Station is proof positive that when the federal government partners with our local communities and invests in infrastructure, travelers and businesses are the real winners,” said Congressman Paul Tonko. “As the most energy efficient form of travel, rail should be embraced as an alternative nationwide -- along with other forms of public transportation -- to keep our roads from becoming too congested, provide options to drivers, and enhance quality of life. Today, I congratulate CDTA on 10 years of success, and look forward to many more years to come.”
“Having sound and efficient modes of transportation is essential to help foster growth of a local economy,” said Senator Neil D. Breslin. “The fact that the Rensselaer Rail Station is the second-busiest station in New York State, and the ninth-busiest in the United States, further highlights the fact that our region has become a hub of economic activity. I am also pleased to see that by 2015, a fourth additional track and platform extension will be constructed to accommodate the Capital Region’s growth.”
CDTA owns and operates the Saratoga Springs Train Station and is leading the $14 million renovation of the Schenectady Train Station.
“Many government, transportation, and business partners have made the Rensselaer Rail station the success story it is today,” said CDTA Chief Executive Officer Carm Basile. “But this is only the beginning. Better things are in the works here, including a fourth track and extended platforms. And true to our mission, we are working to improve the customer experience and look at new opportunities, including expansion of the parking facility.”
The Rensselaer Rail Station was built over three years. The entire project cost, which included the Station’s construction, track work, and other expenses, was $53.1 million. Approximately $4.3 million of the project’s cost included the construction of the Herrick Street Bridge, making it easier for travelers to get to the station.
“The success and continued growth of the Rensselaer Rail Station is a testament to both the need for reliable mass transit, as well as the leadership CDTA has provided in implementing programs to attract a greater number of users and make this form of transportation viable for our business leaders. I want to congratulate Carm Basile as well as all those who have helped made the Rensselaer Station such a success,” said Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen M. Jimino.
When CDTA opened the Rensselaer Rail Station in 2002, the facility, which doubled the size of its predecessor, was serving over 630,000 travelers each year. By the conclusion of 2011, over 800,000 travelers used the Rensselaer Rail Station.
New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald said, “For a decade, the Rensselaer Rail Station has provided an option for sustainable travel that cuts carbon emissions and improves air quality, while supporting businesses and communities across the region. The State Department of Transportation looks forward to continuing to partner with Amtrak and CDTA to provide efficient and reliable rail transportation for those who live and work in the Capital District.”
To accommodate the station’s continued growth, a fourth track and platform extension will be constructed. That project is slated to be completed by October 2015, and will allow for better on-time performance. The Double Track Project will address bottlenecks along the critical Albany-Schenectady corridor, facilitating faster travel.
“The CDTA’s Albany-Rensselaer Station represents an important connection for rail travel in this region and is a vital transportation alternative now and for the future,” said Joe Boardman, Amtrak President and CEO. “The critical work scheduled to take place in and around the station and throughout upstate New York will enhance the rail infrastructure, improve station operations and our passengers' overall traveling experience. We congratulate our colleagues at CDTA on 10 years of exemplary service to the rail community it serves in the Empire District.”
To help CDTA celebrate the Rensselaer Rail Station’s 10-year anniversary, Mohawk Valley Railroad Co. is showcasing a massive model train exhibit in the lobby. Local author J.E. Kross is holding a book signing at the Station, giving travelers free copies of her caper novel, “Hudson Run.”