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Reply to Bike on Train from Albany to Buffalo

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Charlotte Mike from Charlotte, NC on 8/31/2020 12:48:39 PM:
So I am trying to plan a ride on the Erie Canal in 2021. Thought I would drive to Buffalo, ride to Albany, then train back to collect car. Is this possible - there seem to be conflicting answers on taking a bike on the Empire Service train. Can you do it if you leave from Schenectady rather than Albany? Thanks for any clarity or suggestions. Mike

 
wnybubba from Bflo - Roc on 9/1/2020 3:59:46 PM:
Mike, it seems there is some confusion about trains these days. Previously, train service with roll-on ability was offered on one train a day with that train arriving into Buffalo/Depew somewhere around 1:00 AM. At this point, you're probably fine planning a ride/train tour and see what the status is as time comes closer. I'm hoping that there is enough pressure on Amtrak to cause them to offer better roll-on service.

 
Yankee John from Braintree, VT on 9/6/2020 6:46:46 PM:
There is currently no bike service on the Empire Service trains, but there is bike service on the Lake Shore Limited that runs once/day to Chicago. I just rode the Lake Shore Limited #48/49 from Schenectady to Rochester with my bike. The train was on time, an Amtrak staff person put loaded my bike on the baggage car without difficulty and returned it to me in Rochester undamaged. The only hard part is that the short distance Coach seats are at the front of the train, and the baggage car is at the back, so it's a long walk with your panniers after you drop off your bike. You need to have a reservation for the bike because the baggage car holds only hold 6 bikes. It costs $20 for the bike. The train arrived in Rochester at 2315, and it was an easy ride to the downtown hotels on well lit streets. The Lake Shore Limited does not stop at the Exchange station in downtown Buffalo, only at the Depew station, and it arrives after midnight. The hotels hear Depew are all dull big box airport hotels. The Lakeshore used to skip Rome, and was 30 minutes faster, but apparently the tracks on the direct route the omits Rome are bad so all of the trains go through Rome even if they don't stop there. There are rumors that the tracks repairs will be completed by next year so the trip will be shorter and the train will arrive earlier. It's not expensive to reserve a taxi van in advance that can transport you to a hotel from Depew, but it will only hold 2 bikes. I would recommend staying at the Hotel Henry on the North end of Buffalo. The bike trails connect to the hotel via the adjacent Buffalo State Campus, and there is ample parking near the hotel to leave your car for free. There is not a continuous trail along the water from downtown Buffalo to the trails leaving Buffalo north to the Erie Canal, so if you stay in a downtown hotel you will have to ride on city streets at the start of your trip. Buffalo has some great architecture, so the ride is actually quite pleasant if it's not rush hour.

 
Yankee John from Braintree, VT on 9/6/2020 6:46:47 PM:
There is currently no bike service on the Empire Service trains, but there is bike service on the Lake Shore Limited that runs once/day to Chicago. I just rode the Lake Shore Limited #48/49 from Schenectady to Rochester with my bike. The train was on time, an Amtrak staff person put loaded my bike on the baggage car without difficulty and returned it to me in Rochester undamaged. The only hard part is that the short distance Coach seats are at the front of the train, and the baggage car is at the back, so it's a long walk with your panniers after you drop off your bike. You need to have a reservation for the bike because the baggage car holds only hold 6 bikes. It costs $20 for the bike. The train arrived in Rochester at 2315, and it was an easy ride to the downtown hotels on well lit streets. The Lake Shore Limited does not stop at the Exchange station in downtown Buffalo, only at the Depew station, and it arrives after midnight. The hotels hear Depew are all dull big box airport hotels. The Lakeshore used to skip Rome, and was 30 minutes faster, but apparently the tracks on the direct route the omits Rome are bad so all of the trains go through Rome even if they don't stop there. There are rumors that the tracks repairs will be completed by next year so the trip will be shorter and the train will arrive earlier. It's not expensive to reserve a taxi van in advance that can transport you to a hotel from Depew, but it will only hold 2 bikes. I would recommend staying at the Hotel Henry on the North end of Buffalo. The bike trails connect to the hotel via the adjacent Buffalo State Campus, and there is ample parking near the hotel to leave your car for free. There is not a continuous trail along the water from downtown Buffalo to the trails leaving Buffalo north to the Erie Canal, so if you stay in a downtown hotel you will have to ride on city streets at the start of your trip. Buffalo has some great architecture, so the ride is actually quite pleasant if it's not rush hour.

 
Mark from Vernon on 9/10/2020 8:39:08 PM:
Mike, my wife and I put our bikes on the Empire train yesterday 9/9/2020 In Albany and trained to Buffalo. We will ride back to Albany where our car is parked. According to Amtrak they just made this change a couple days ago and now allow two bikes per train. Mark

 
Charlotte Mike from Charlotte, NC on 9/24/2020 10:38:32 AM:
Many thanks for the info.

 
kmart from Manchester NH on 9/24/2020 5:51:01 PM:
I just completed the Erie canal trail from Buffalo to Albany. We drove to the Albany Airport and rented a van and drove to Buffalo and dropped the rental off at the Buffalo Airport. The cost was about $170.00. I split the cost with my co-rider. We parked the car in Albany at the train station parking lot for $30.00 for the week.