New Schenectady train station expected to open on Wednesday

Building was expected to be complete in November
The new Schenectady Station seen recently
The new Schenectady Station seen recently

Categories: News

SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady Amtrak station may be opening ahead of schedule, according to some City Council members.

There is expected to be an event Wednesday at 10 a.m. announcing the opening of the train station, which was scheduled to be opened in November. However, there was never a formal announcement made by the state or the city to the press about the event as of Tuesday night.

It is unclear, though, whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to be in attendance at the event.

According to his public schedule for Wednesday, which was released around 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Cuomo is in New York City without any specific events on his agenda.

New: Schenectady’s new train station officially opens, Oct. 17, 2018

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul is scheduled to be at the train station at 10 a.m., according to her schedule for Wednesday, but it only said she would be there to make an announcement.

A spokesperson for Hochul would not confirm if it was to announce the opening of the train station. Some council members, including City Council President Ed Kosiur and Councilman John Polimeni, said they were not sure if the governor was coming but did say the train station was opening Wednesday.

But some council members, including Marion Porterfield and independent Councilman Vince Riggi, were told Cuomo was scheduled to be at Wednesday’s announcement.

Riggi said he was even told to bring identification because Cuomo would be there.

A construction worker on site at the train station also said they were informed the governor would be making an appearance and that they had to clean up the site before the event.

A request from comment from the Governor’s Office on the opening of the train station was not returned.

A request for comment from the state Department of Transportation, which was overseeing the train station project, also was not returned.

Construction on the train station began in January as part of the two-phase project.

The first phase was the demolition of the former station, as well as the repairs to the elevated viaduct that brings the tracks through downtown. This work was done under a $5.4 million contract by Bette & Cring of Latham.

The second phase, which included the actual construction of the train station, was done by Murnane Building Contractors of Plattsburgh under a $10.4 million contract.

Passengers riding the train to and from Schenectady are using a temporary platform Amtrak built on the north side of Liberty Street.

A gold-colored dome and a 6-foot clock were added to the building in September. The clock was meant to recall the aesthetics of the old Union Station, a DOT spokesman previously said, which was built 1910 but demolished by 1971.

The dome, though gold-colored, is not actually made of gold. A state DOT spokesman had said it was a combination of elements applied to the dome that gave it its gold coloring, which was created in a process that resulted in a durable, corrosion-resistant coating.

The construction of the train station did create some problems for some nearby local businesses. 

John Keller, co-owner of Katie O’Byrnes Irish Pub & Restaurant, in June said the construction caused his daytime business to drop by more than 50 percent. However, he said once the train station is completed, it will be a benefit to the city. 

He even said they have plans to expand their outdoor patio on either the first level or building another one above the existing patio.

“It absolutely works out better in the long run,” Keller said.

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