Albany-Rensselaer, NY (ALB)
One of the busiest Amtrak stations in New York, the red brick intermodal facility features a bright and airy waiting area and a clock tower that has become a local landmark.
525 East Street
Rensselaer, NY 12144
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 855,176
- Facility Ownership: CDTA Facilities, Inc.
- Parking Lot Ownership: CDTA Facilities, Inc.
- Platform Ownership: CDTA Facilities, Inc.
- Track Ownership: CSXT
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The current Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station was completed in September 2002 for the Capitol District Transit Authority (CDTA). It was designed by the Schenectady architectural firm of Stracher Roth Gilmore. Constructed of red brick, the station also has a clock tower standing two stories over the station proper. The building features two-story tall windows on both ends and on its street facade, which allow natural light to flood the interior.
Amtrak and the New York State DOT (NYSDOT) completed demolition of two former Albany-Rensselaer station buildings in February 2011. This was necessary to accommodate a fourth track at the station. The track project, funded through federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail funds and NYSDOT, began construction in 2014 and will increase station capacity and improve operating flexibility, thereby leading to more efficient passenger boarding and better on-time performance. Work is expected to be complete late in 2016.
From 1899 to 1968, trains arrived and departed from Union Station in Albany’s downtown. This stone structure was designed by Rutan and Coolidge, the designers of Boston’s South Station and Union Station in Springfield, Mass. Intricate stone work lines the top of the building, and large iron-framed windows allowed the main ticketing hall to be filled with natural light. The canopy over the front door is supported by cast iron Corinthian columns. The station also was revolutionary in its use of “subways”: underground walkways that would take passengers directly to their platforms without having to go outside in inclement weather.
By the 1960s, however, the nation was becoming more and more committed to its interstate roads, and the railroads were beginning to take a back-seat to the progress of the highways. New York Central Railroad, which had operated the station in the 1950s, had planned to move the station to make room for Interstate 787. However, it was not until the late 1960s, when the station was owned and operated by Penn Central Railroad that they finally committed to moving the station out of Albany. Today, Union Station stands empty; its most recent tenant, Bank of America, moved in 2009 to another facility in Albany. Where the tracks once were are now on- and off-ramps for Interstate 787, with a spur that leads to the Rensselaer station.
Albany holds a significant place in American cultural and military history. The French were the first to settle the area in 1540, making Albany the oldest surviving European settlement in America. It was, however, the Dutch who first committed significant resources and people to the area, after Dutch explorer Hendrick Christaensen rebuilt the French fort in 1614. Following the outbreak of a small conflict between the Dutch and British in 1664, the British conquered all of the New Amsterdam colony, from New Amsterdam, now New York City, to the Village of Beverwyck, which they renamed Albany.
The British established military fortifications at the town, which would become a significant military outpost for them. During the French and Indian War, from 1754 to 1763, Albany was a staging ground for British military incursions into French Canada. During the American Revolution, Albany was home to American training operations, and was located near to the Battle of Saratoga, one of the deciding factors in the Americans eventual defeat of the British. During this time, West Point was built just down river as means of protecting Albany.
It was also in Albany that the colonies saw the first attempt at uniting under one common government. At the Albany Congress in 1753, Benjamin Franklin led representatives from each of the 13 colonies, less New Jersey and Virginia, in a robust debate on the future of the colonial government. They eventually decided on the Albany Plan of Union, which, though it was never passed by the British Parliament, would serve as an example for the framers who would write the Constitution a mere 34 years later. In 1797, less than 20 years after the Revolutionary War, the state capitol was officially moved to Albany.
In the post-war years, Albany was home to many of America’s founding fathers. Alexander Hamilton, future Secretary of the Treasury and confidante of George Washington, studied law in Albany and married the well-known General Phillip Schuyler’s daughter. Aaron Burr, who would go to become Vice President, also studied law in Albany at the same time. It was in Albany, in fact, at the home of John Tayler, later Lt. Governor of New York, that Alexander Hamilton would make disparaging remarks against Aaron Burr in 1804. The content of these remarks was published in local newspapers, and would lead to Aaron Burr challenging the more popular Hamilton to a duel, mortally wounding Hamilton and also ending Burr’s political career.
As an important juncture, halfway between Montreal and New York City and halfway between Boston and Buffalo, Albany continued to grow with the advent of modern transportation. One of the first turnpikes was built by the Great Western Turnpike Company in 1799 between Albany and the Finger Lakes (eventually become US Route 20). The first commercially viable steamboat ran between New York and Albany starting in 1807, under the direction of Robert Fulton. The DeWitt Clinton, the first steam engine to operate in New York and the fourth in the country, began operations between Albany and Schenectady in 1831. Passengers could either sit inside cars or on outside “rumble seats,” neither of which provided a smooth or comfortable ride. The train was named after Governor Clinton, who was responsible for the first waterway between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean in 1825 – The Erie Canal. And Albany’s municipal airport was the first in the country in 1908; the international airport is also the oldest in the United States.
To add to its historical significance, many modern presidents have also worked and governed in Albany. Martin Van Buren opened his first law firm in Albany in 1817. Cousins Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt both governed from Albany’s majestic State Capitol, which began construction in 1872 at a cost of $25 million.
Today, Albany takes full advantage of its cultural history, with many celebrations of its past. Every spring, Albany celebrates its Tulip Festival in Washington Park – one of the oldest parks in the country. This celebration, which draws local and regional attendance, names a Tulip Queen and includes many musical performances. This fest harkens back to Albany’s Dutch ancestry. From its annual Sidewalk Art Show to its two independent movie theatres, Albany has continued to embrace artistic endeavors and excellence.
This facility has a waiting room and is staffed by Amtrak employees. Amtrak provides ticketing and help with baggage at the Albany-Rensselaer station, which is served by ten daily trains.
Empire Service trains are supported by funds made available by the New York State Department of Transportation. The Ethan Allen Express is financed primarily through funds made available by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the New York State Department of Transportation.
- 500 Short Term Parking Spaces
- 500 Long Term Parking Spaces
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Elevator Accessible
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- High Platform
- Pay Phones
- Quik Trak Kiosk
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Ticket Office
- Wheelchair Lift