SCHENECTADY — The new Schenectady Amtrak station officially reopened Wednesday with a ceremony attended by local and state officials.
“This is really an exciting day for Schenectady,” Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy told those gathered at the station.
He referenced the lengthy process that led to Wednesday’s opening that involved Gov. Andrew Cuomo on down to city officials and years of groundwork.
McCarthy commended the overall vision to “restore what was once a great station to put it back and make it part of the fabric of the community.”
“It is just a great time to be here,” McCarthy said. “This is such a fantastic project.”
The event included Rep. Paul Tonko and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The Daily Gazette’s Facebook Live of the event:
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 used 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.
Waiting for a train with our Jeff Wilkin
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.