Albany, N.Y., August 27 and 28
Our stop partners inside the
Albany station. Although we had planned to be open to the public in Albany-Rensselaer all weekend, we decided to cut it back to Saturday due to expected bad weather resulting from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene. As we often say in railroading, safety has to come first.
We had a great turnout Saturday, which also marked the first time that a very special “National Parks Passport Stamp” was issued at one of our events. The National Park Service (NPS) created the Exhibit Train stamp to commemorate our special Trails and Rails partnership (T&R). All over the Amtrak network, park rangers and volunteers board our trains to talk to passengers about parks that are close to rail stations—including places such as the Erie Canalway and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site.
Albany-Rensselaer is on the route of the Adirondack, which hosts two T&R programs. One operates from Croton-Harmon to Hudson, New York, and is based out of Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site. The other program operates from Albany to Rouses Point, New York and is based out of Saratoga National Historical Park. At every stop, we keep plenty of T&R brochures in stock at the Amtrak table.
As their name might imply, the National Parks Passport Stamps resemble cancellation stamps such as those found in a passport. Each one shows information specific to a particular park, as well as the date it was received. Visitors to our national parks can collect a stamp at each site they go to, and many people keep their stamps together in the official "Passport to Your National Parks" booklet. The unique Amtrak stamp in green ink reads: “Amtrak 40th Anniversary Exhibit/ Date/ National Park Service.”
In the morning, a little girl dropped her doll…and it just happened to fall through the gap between the train and the platform. Seeing it resting down below on the track bed, she couldn’t hold back her small tears. Luckily, Trainmaster Steve Ostrowski came to the rescue. Opening the trap (the folding set of stairs used to get into the car), he was able to walk down, retrieve the doll, and place it in the hands of its very happy owner.
The local Radio Disney crew was
there most of the day. This weekend we were also joined by the Albany N-Trak Model Railroad Club, which set up a great display in the main waiting room where a giant window frames a view to downtown Albany. Volunteers from New York Operation Lifesaver were on hand to talk to visitors about safety around railroads, and two passenger rail advocacy organizations, the National Association of Railroad Passengers and the Empire State Passengers Association, distributed materials. For most of the day, the local Radio Disney crew was also broadcasting live from the station, and set up shop near the Chuggington Kids’ Depot.
It’s said that the railroad never stops. The Exhibit Train survived the storm, and this weekend we’re headed down to Scranton, Pennsylvania to take part in the popular Railfest. Hosted by Steamtown National Historic Site, the festival highlights the era of steam railroading.