Welcome to the Association's Website!
The Empire State Passenger Association (ESPA) is a volunteer network of citizens, founded in 1980, constantly working to improve and expand Amtrak and public transit services across New York State, from Montauk to Niagara Falls and Dunkirk to Plattsburgh.
ANNUAL MEETING 2024
2024 ESPA (& Rail Passengers Association) Annual Meeting & Lunch - Saturday, April 6, 2024 - Schenectady, NY
And current members can update their Membership Account information anytime!
New York State Senate Public Hearing on High Speed Rail
On Monday, January 29th, the New York Senate Standing Committee on Transportation held a public hearing to examine passenger rail within New York State, specifically the “90B” rail improvement plan adopted by the State Department of Transportation. For video of the hearing and ESPA's testimony please visit the link below:
High Speed Rail Empire Corridor Program Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Released
- Learn about how today's Amtrak "Empire Corridor" service came about, with in 1967 the New York Central Railroad pioneering the first modern intercity passenger rail corridor service, the New York City to Buffalo "Empire Service"
- Questions about passenger rail? What is High Speed Rail? How fast do Empire Corridor trains go? Who owns the tracks? What is PRIIA Section 209? What makes up railroad track? What is an Interlocking? We got answers!
- Ideas big and small on who to improve and expand our state's intercity passenger rail service, including: full cafe food service on all trains; onboard enroute cleaning, baggage cars, travel packages, and more!
- How passenger rail in New York State can meet the goals of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act for a net-zero sustainable transportation system.
- How the planning and management of intercity passenger rail in New York State can be improved by adopting the best practices of other states like Virginia, while avoiding the mistakes of others, including the California High Speed Rail Authority.
- The new Lakeshore Rail Alliance was formed to advocate for increased and improved train service along the current Lake Shore Limited route between New York City and Chicago.
- Imagine being able to take the train from Albany to Boston as conveniently as you can now go to New York City on Amtrak. Well, it could happen if ongoing efforts by Massachusetts to connect the western half of the Bay State by rail to Boston come to fruition.
- The combination of a New York-Albany infrastructure upgrade program for Amtrak and Metro-North's ‘Hudson Line’ and the introduction of shiny new modern Siemens Venture trainsets would make for an impressive “Higher Speed Rail” program.
- Extending an existing Empire Service daily roundtrip to Schenectady and Saratoga so that residents of the northern portion of the Capital Region would have an additional daily roundtrip to the Hudson Valley and New York City, providing more options and convenience in traveling by rail.
- There has not been passenger rail service to New York State’s “Southern Tier” since before Amtrak’s inauguration in 1971. Historically the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad from New York City had offered a very smart intercity passenger service to Buffalo; made famous by its advertising icon Phoebe Snow.
Lakeshore Rail Alliance
ESPA is very pleased to be a founding organizational member of the new Lakeshore Rail Alliance, which is advocating for increased & improved train service along the current Lake Shore Limited route between New York City & Chicago. All Aboard Erie (PA) is the host organization for this new collaboration of seven passenger rail advocacy groups along the route. At a Press Event held on July 27th, 2021 in Erie, PA, the Alliance was formally announced, along with an introduction of it's new Erie-based Executive Director Michael Fuhrman. ESPA's Bruce Becker and Roy Davis represented the Association at the event.
Mobility-on-Demand Service at the Albany-Rensselaer Rail Station
The CDTA officially inaugurated their FLEX+ mobility-on-demand service at the Albany-Rensselaer Rail Station on Monday (01/29). FLEX+ offers convenient, on demand connections between the Joseph L. Bruno Rail Station and key downtown Albany destinations including the New York State Capitol, Albany Capital Center, Empire State Plaza, and other popular locations. ESPA congratulates the CDTA stepping forward to improve last mile connections in the Capital City for intercity passenger rail travelers.
Amtrak's Adirondack Service Returns After Three-Year Hiatus
Amtrak's Adirondack returned — after its three-year COVID suspension — on Monday April 3rd, 2023, with the first northbound train from New York Penn Station to Montreal Gare Centrale. Communities along the route welcomed the train back, with members of the Empire State Passenger Association riding the train and joining in the welcoming festivities at Saratoga Springs and Plattsburgh. The 'Adirondack' is a state-supported train by New York State that started service on August 6, 1974.
There was a welcoming event at the Saratoga Springs Rail Station held by ESPA, the CDTA, Discover Saratoga/Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, Senator Jim Tedisco's Office, and Mayor Ron Kim of the City of Saratoga Springs. There was another welcoming event held at Plattsburgh where several people spoke, including: North Country Chamber President Garry Douglas, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of the 21st district, Plattsburgh Mayor Christopher C. Rosenquest, Amtrak President Roger Harris, and Gary Prophet of ESPA. ESPA would like to thank everyone who attended for supporting passenger rail at these events.
PHOTO CREDIT: NYS Governor's Office
East Side Access is Finished!
LIRR Service to Grand Central Madison Inaugurated in Jan 2023
East Side Access, the public works project to extend the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) two miles from its Main Line in Queens to the new Grand Central Madison LIRR station under Grand Central Terminal on Manhattan's East Side was completed and open for public service on January 25, 2023 with limited service to Jamaica station in Queens. The project was originally scheduled to open in 2009 and went billions over budget, making it one of the world's most expensive underground rail-construction projects. The new LIRR terminal contains eight tracks and four platforms in a two-level station 100 feet below street level and was built in conjunction with several other LIRR expansion projects, including an additional third track along parts of the LIRR Main Line. The project was intended to remove or reduce the need for subway transfers from Penn Station for the substantial number of Long Island riders with jobs on the east side of Manhattan.
ABOVE RIGHT: Governor Kathy Hochul and MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber after riding the inaugural Long Island Rail Road train to Grand Central Madison, which arrived at the terminal platform at 11:07 a.m. LEFT: Happy LIRR Conductor on first public service train into Grand Central Madison. PHOTO CREDIT: NYS Governor's Office