Rensselaer is a city in Rensselaer County located on the Hudson River directly opposite Albany. The city has a rich industrial history stretching back to the 19th century, when it became a major railroad hub, a distinction which it maintains as the location of the 14th busiest Amtrak station.
During the last decade of the 19th Century, a period of unparalleled American growth and affluence, the Rensselaer County Village of Greenbush and East Albany prospered to the extent that their boundaries become less meaningful and their citizens sought a more efficient means of governing.
Grown and prosperity in adjacent municipalities, demonstrated by the erection of the Town of Colonies, and the proposed incorporation of the city of Watervliet, from the Village of West Troy, the Centennial of the State Capital and construction of the new Capitol Building at Albany and the completion of the Rensselaer County Court House in Troy, encouraged in three Villages to reform and seek a unified municipal structure.
During the 120th Session of the New York State Legislature, at the Old Capitol in Albany, Assemblyman George Anderson of Castleton, in consultation with certain Village officials introduced on the 18th day of February, 1897, in the House of Assembly, “An Act to Incorporate the City of Rensselaer”.
Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Rensselaer, to Albany, the state capital, and to nearby Troy, through a station designated in the Amtrak timetable as Albany-Rensselaer. Six Empire Service trains run from Albany-Rensselaer to New York City on weekday mornings and several depart for New York in the evening, returning and terminating at Albany-Rensselaer in the afternoon and late evening. The Ethan Allen, a train supported by Vermont and New York State, runs north from New York City through Rensselaer to Rutland, Vermont. The Adirondack runs from New York City through Rensselaer to Montreal. Two Empire Service trains run through Rensselaer to Buffalo and Niagara Falls. The Maple Leaf runs from New York City through Rensselaer to Buffalo and Toronto.
One section of Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited long distance train originates in New York City and one section originates in Boston. The two sections are joined at Albany-Rensselaer and travel on to Chicago as a single train. The eastbound Lake Shore Limited reverses the process at Albany-Rensselaer and splits into two trains for onward travel.