Schenectady, NY (SDY)
In early colonial days, the area that became Schenectady - noted for pine flats in a bend of the Mohawk River - was considered the formal “door” to the territory of the Mohawk peoples.
332 Erie Boulevard
Schenectady, NY 12305
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 56,257
- Facility Ownership: Amtrak
- Parking Lot Ownership: Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority
- Platform Ownership: CSXT
- Track Ownership: CSXT
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
As of June 2017, the Schenectady station will be closed and demolished as part of a New York State Department of Transportation-funded project to construct a new passenger facility. This comprehensive project involves building demolition, track work, water remediation, platform reconstruction and the construction of a new station building.
Limited station operations will be located at a temporary facility located next door to the old station at the corner of Liberty St. and Erie Blvd. There is no waiting room or ticketing services at the temporary facility, but restrooms are available. Customers are encouraged to be dropped off and picked up, as there is limited parking.
Schenectady’s new intermodal facility will replace a small train station built in 1979 by NYSDOT and Amtrak and will be important in the revitalization of the city’s downtown by providing convenient links between Amtrak and local and intercity bus services.
This station revitalization plan has been in the works in various forms since at least 1999, when it was described in the Downtown Schenectady Master Plan. Over the years, the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA) has secured a variety of funds for the design and construction of the new rail station. These include a $4.2-million state grant in 2010; a $5.9-million federal High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grant via NYSDOT in 2011; and a $4.5-million Federal Transit Administration grant, also via NYSDOT.
The new facility will be the latest in a line of railroad stations that have served the people of Schenectady. One of the grandest was the 1908 Schenectady Union Station, a neoclassical structure built by the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad to replace a temporary building from 1885. Constructed of stone and brick, Union Station featured an elegant arcade. At the turn of the 20th century, the tracks throughout the city were being raised to eliminate grade crossings at street level. This project, combined with the new Union Station and its elevated platform, was much anticipated and enjoyed a week-long celebration in February 1908.
Passenger rail service to Schenectady ended in 1969, prior to the creation of Amtrak. Penn Central, which then owned Union Station, sold the facility to the city in December 1970 for $20,000. A month later it was demolished to make way for a downtown parking lot. Following the start of Amtrak service to Schenectady in 1978, work was begun on a new station. Restoration of rail service and construction of the passenger facility were funded jointly by the state, Amtrak and the city.
The area of what would become Schenectady, pine flats in a bend of the Mohawk River, was considered the formal “door” to the territory of the Mohawk peoples that first lived there. The location was important to them as the river was navigable by canoe from there to Rome, with an easy portage around obstacles. When the Dutch moved to the Albany area in 1614, building Fort Orange, the river-bend area was referred to as S’guan-hac-tac-tic, “without the door,” which may have in turn been altered to become pronounceable for the Europeans. Fur trade between the Dutch and the natives flourished, and Schenectady grew into a stockaded village—which was burned at the beginning of the French and Indian conflicts in 1690. However, it was soon rebuilt, and some of Schenectady’s oldest houses date from 1700 and still stand in the Stockade District.
Schenectady was first incorporated into a borough in 1765, and chartered as a city in 1798. Opening in 1825, the Erie Canal—now Erie Boulevard, on which the station stands—ran through Schenectady, and was the longest artificial waterway in the world. At 360 miles, the canal creating a navigable water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes. Twenty-two locks were needed to pass the falls of the Mohawk River and drop 208 feet from Schenectady to Albany on the Hudson. This day-long process encouraged the growth of the railroad here, as it presented a more efficient means of making that traverse. The Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, the first in the state of New York, made its first run between Albany and Schenectady in 1831, having been chartered in 1826. It was succeeded by the Delaware and Hudson Railway by 1871 (now Canadian Pacific Railway).
In 1841, a repair facility was built to service the new trains. The facility was adjacent to the canal to allow easy access to iron, wood, and other materials shipped by barge. The Schenectady Locomotive Works were organized by Platt Potter and John Ellis at the end of 1847 and beginning of 1848. In 1901, the Schenectady Locomotive works was merged, with several others, into the American Locomotive Company (Alco), which became the second-largest steam locomotive builder in the United States after the Baldwin Locomotive Works. In coordination with General Electric, they began producing diesel-electric locomotives. They even experimented with automobiles for a time, giving a start in the business to Walter P. Chrysler. Alco was the builder of some of the biggest locomotives ever to operate on America’s rails, including Union Pacific’s “Big Boy.” By 1955 the company renamed itself Alco Products, as locomotives were no longer its only product. The Schenectady works, the “hauls” part of “the city that lights and hauls the world,” however, closed forever in 1969.
In 1886, the Edison Machine Works moved to some former railroad shops in Schenectady’s South end: it would become Edison General Electric in 1889, shortened to General Electric in 1892. This storied industrial giant, one of the 12 original companies listed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, has innovated in the areas of lighting, television, radio, computing, space systems, computers, electronics and electrical devices, financial services, and more. GE continued building locomotives after splitting with Alco, including units powering Amtrak trains today through Schenectady and past GE’s plant further west in Erie, Penn. GE’s headquarters is located in Fairfield, Conn., while the administrative core remains in Schenectady.
On February 20, 1922 at 7:47 p.m., WGY, the oldest radio station in New York State’s capital region, signed on the air for the first time. The early broadcasts originated from building 36 at the General Electric Plant in Schenectady, the G in WGY. The station still broadcasts as a talk radio station in Schenectady.
Schenectady is also home to Union College, founded in 1795, the first college to be chartered by the Board of Regents in New York. This independent liberal arts college has produced notable alumni, such as U.S. President Chester Alan Arthur; and Gordon Gould, the inventor of the laser.
Schenectady continues to celebrate its history of innovation and its connection to the railroad every year, and welcomes the Canadian Pacific Railway Holiday Train each Christmas season. Citizens turn out to greet the train and the holiday season, and the arrival of the train often coincides with day long activities.
The Schenectady station is served by 12 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.
Station Building (with waiting room)
- 20 Short Term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park for the day only not overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
Accessible platform is a barrier-free path from the drop-off area outside the station to the station platform.
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
Baggage storage is an area where passengers may store their bags equivalent to 'left luggage' in Europe. A storage fee may apply.
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- High Platform
A high platform is a platform at the level of the vestibule of the train with the exception of Superliners.
Self-service lockers are available in select stations for passenger baggage storage
- Long-term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Parking Attendant
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Wheelchair Lift
Wheelchair lift is a platform-mounted lift for loading passengers from low platforms onto trains that do not have onboard ramps.