At a transportation crossroad

Section: Capital Region,  Page: 56

Date: Friday, October 26, 2007

The Capital Region today builds on a rich heritage as a transportation hub, remaining major Northeast crossroads for travelers by highway, rail, air and water.The Rensselaer Rail Station, where some 760,000 passengers boarded or arrived in 2006, is the 10th busiest on Amtrak's national system and a popular link to New York City's Penn Station, which remains Amtrak's busiest with some 7.5 million passengers a year passing through.The region's close relationship with railroading dates to the 19th Century and early 20th Century, when Schenectady workers built powerful engines at the American Locomotive Works, the West Albany rail yards were humming and New York Central passenger trains streamed along the Mohawk and Hudson valleys.The grand former headquarters of the Delaware & Hudson Railroad still graces the Albany skyline as home to the State University of New York central administration.Exit 24 in Albany, at the junction of the transcontinental interstate highway I-90 and I-87 from New York to Montreal, is the busiest interchange on the State Thruway with nearly 27 million vehicles a year.Recreational travelers seeking a slower pace that allows them to connect with New York history and scenic beauty can turn to the 524-mile state canal system.The Erie Canal, which opened in 1825, makes up the 338-mile central corridor of the system, running from Waterford in Saratoga County to Tonawanda, north of Buffalo. The system also includes the Champlain, Oswego and Cayuga-Seneca canals.More than 1.4 million travelers each year board flights out of Albany International Airport, where Southwest Airline leads in boardings. Other major carriers at the airport, located in the Albany County town of Colonie, include US Airways, United, Delta, Northwest and Continental. - Cathy Woodruff