RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Officials in New York and Massachusetts are pushing to increase rail service between Albany-Rensselaer Station and Boston. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has requested increased trains between the stations to the Federal Rail Administration.
While getting a train from Albany to New York City is an easy and frequent, two-and-a-half hour ride, service to Boston is more of a challenge.
“It is a little bit of a slow, windy train compared to other routes,” said Steve Strauss, Executive Director of the Empire State Passenger Association.
Only the Lake Shore Limited, which runs to Chicago from both New York and Boston, offers rail service between the capital cities. The once daily train gets to Bean Town from the Capital Region in just over five hours, according to the Amtrak website.
“That probably has been one of the reasons why it has not gotten more attention over the years. In most places, it’s a single track railroad,” Strauss said.
But officials in the Bay State are pushing to increase the service. Recently, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation put in a request Federal Railroad Administration to run three additional Amtrak trains a day between Albany-Rensselaer and Boston.
The effort is being applauded by ESPA, “It will be of great benefit to Amtrak riders in the Capital Region and other parts of the state,” Strauss explained.
New York State officials are also on board. The New York State Department of Transportation released a statement in support of MassDOT’s efforts.
“The New York State Department of Transportation supports the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s request for the Federal Railroad Administration to consider funding the expansion of service between Boston and Albany and looks forward to working with them to explore potential opportunities,” DOT Spokesman Glenn Blain said in the statement.
Strauss says it’s encouraging that both states are looking to collaborate to increase service along the corridor.
The Massachusetts State Legislature has also taken steps to allocate funding along the corridor in an effort to improve its infrastructure, with over $300 million going towards the project thus far.
“Investments on that route that would reduce travel time, raise speeds, improve the reliability,” Strauss said.
Strauss says any increased service in and out of Albany-Rensselaer would also increase jobs in the Capital Region, as it would be likely that some crews would be based in the area.