The date is Feb. 8, 2003. The place is the former Pennsylvania Railroad station in Pittsburgh, now used by Amtrak.
The platform is mostly empty as the eastbound Pennsylvanian waits for time to depart for Philadelphia. It is the penultimate run of this train as it is constituted on this day.
Later tonight the Pennsylvanian will originate in Chicago for the final time. Once it completes its last Chicago to Philadelphia trip, it will revert to Pittsburgh-New York operation and its role of carrying mail and express business will end.
That ExpressTrak boxcar on the rear of the train is a reminder of the reason why the train was extended to Chicago in the first place.
The Pennsylvanian had begun life on April 27, 1980, as a state-funded Pittsburgh-Philadelphia train that sought to take up the slack left by the discontinuance of the New York-Kansas City National Limited in 1979.
It was extended to New York in 1983 and to Chicago in November 1998 at which time the eastern terminus shifted back to Philadelphia.
Today, the Pennsylvanian has returned to its roots as a state-funded Pittsburgh-New York train. The mail and express business is now just another chapter in the train’s history that has passed.
Tags: Amtrak, Amtrak stations, Amtrak trains, Amtrak's Pennsylvanian, boxcars, ExpressTrak, Pennsylvanian, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Amtrak station, Pittsburgh Penn Station, Pittsburgh-Philadelphia corridor