Rail History, Information, & Proposals

Frequently Asked Questions

The History Of New York's Empire Corridor

The story of how our current Amtrak service on the Empire Corridor came to be – from the early days of steam locomotives, to the birth of the “Empire Service” in the last days of the New York Central, and the Turboliner Era of Amtrak.

Historic Documents

Historic documents of New York State's intercity passenger rail service from the 1890s to the present day – including timetable, pamplets, print advertising, and rail study reports.

ESPA's Proposals for Service Improvements and Expansions

Climate Change and Passenger Rail

Solutions and case studies for getting passenger rail in New York State to zero carbon emissions as required by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act passed into state law in spring 2019. With one-third of New York State’s emissions being from transportation, both freight and passenger rail will have to be addressed.

Planning and Management of the Empire Corridor

The great potential of the Empire Corridor has been repletely stymied by a lack of institutional capacity at the state level necessary to envision, plan, build, and manage investment in intercity passenger rail infrastructure and services. These needs to change if Upstate NY is to be ever be served by a modern intercity rail service.

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. The coalition includes All Aboard Ohio, the Empire State Passengers Association, the Chicago based High Speed Rail Alliance, the Indiana Passenger Rail Association, the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Association and the Northwest Ohio Passenger Rail Association.

East-West Rail Project

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 to connect the western half of the Bay State by rail to Boston and New York City come to fruition. In 2020 MassDOT released the final version of its East-West Passenger Rail Study examining the feasibility, costs, and benefits of a corridor service, while also engaging with stakeholders. Massachusetts in 2022 started the process to fund and plan a new passenger rail corridor linking Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield, and Albany.

Saratoga-Schenectady Service

ESPA supports extending an existing Empire Service daily roundtrip to Schenectady and Saratoga, joining with the Saratoga Chamber and the Schenectady business community in asking New York State DOT to work with Amtrak to provide both cities with early morning departures to New York City and evening arrivals from New York City.

Hudson Line Projects

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, one on par with the Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and new Miami-Orlando 'Brightline' intercity passenger service.

Southern Tier Service

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. However, interest in restoration of passenger rail service as bubbled up to the service over the years, including recently in 2006 when an April’s Fool article by Urban Corning announcing that Amtrak was restoring passenger service drew 40,000 responses, with many expressing excitement that passenger trains were coming back!