The Troy-Rensselaer-Albany Commuter Train (TRACT) is an initiative to bring rail passenger service back to Troy and provide an important rail connection to the AMTRAK station in Rensselaer and downtown Albany.
Troy was once a rail hub, a fact that reinforced its urban commerce and vitality. Troy was the northern terminal of the New York Central Hudson line from New York City. The Boston and Maine line provided service on the Hoosac Tunnel line and gave Boston its outlet on the Hudson. Rail north through Rensselaer County, to Saratoga and to Schenectady created a regional system.
The beautiful Union Station in Troy was demolished in the early 1960’s and all rail service through the city was stopped a few years later. The Albany Union Station was disused after 1969 when the rail access was cut off by construction of I-787 that also blocked Albany from its waterfront. The Albany station was relocated across the Hudson to Rensselaer for AMTRAK service. This station lost its central urban access and easy connection to bus service.
Today, Troy is without rail service, I-787 is overloaded with commuter traffic and parking is in shortage at the Rensselaer station. The rail line from Rensselaer to Troy still exists and is used for infrequent freight service. Restoration of rail service would provide good access to the MTRAK station and an alternative commuter route to Albany.
It makes sense. It is time.