Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian’

2nd Train to Pittsburgh Hinges on NS Study

November 12, 2019

Norfolk Southern is conducting a study that it expects to complete in the second half of 2020 of capital improvements it wants to see before agreeing to host a second Amtrak train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak currently operates the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian over the route and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation along with local officials have been pressing for several years for additional service.

Communities along the route want the option of being able to travel to Pittsburgh on day trips.

The Pennsylvanian is scheduled to depart Pittsburgh in early morning and arrive in the evening.

Jennie Granger, PennDOT’s deputy secretary for multimodal transportation said this week that her agency has asked Amtrak to consider adding a second train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

“What would it take?” she said PennDOT asked the national passenger carrier. “What would a second round-trip train a day look like? Give us a timetable. Ideally, how would this work with the Keystone trains on the eastern part of the state? How would we make it work with Penn Station, going into New York?”

In response Amtrak gave PennDOT a proposed timetable that it presented to Norfolk Southern.

Granger said NS responded that it would need to do a study that the state would need to fund. “The study itself is a lot like a traffic study,” Granger said. “It takes into account their freight movements, both historically and what they’re projecting going forward … and then, how does that interact with our proposed two trains a day?”

Granger told a luncheon meeting of the Cambria Regional Chamber of Commerce in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, that because NS owns the track, it can say who does or does not run on it.

“If they don’t want Amtrak on it, they don’t have to let them run another train a day. That’s all there is to it,” she said.

Once the NS study had been completed and presented to PennDOT, Granger said the agency will “have a better-educated idea of how to proceed with that service.”

The demands that NS is likely to make will be hefty.

During a August 28 Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee meeting in Altoona NS spokesman Rudy Husband said the Pittsburgh Line is already stretched to capacity with 40 to 60 trains a day.

He said adding more passenger rail service could require the construction of separate portions of track or of an entire separate track.

Husband argued that NS is not opposed to passenger rail, but that adding more service is complicated.

Pa. Thanksgiving Travel Will Require Reservations

November 1, 2019

Amtrak said in a service advisory that the change is being made to accommodate an increased number of travelers expected during the Thanksgiving holiday travel.

Reservations will not be required for monthly and 10-ride ticket holders.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Keystone Service trains will operate on a Saturday schedule.

Checked Bikes Now Allowed on Pennsylvanian

October 16, 2019

It took awhile but Amtrak has formally announced the offering of checked baggage and bicycle service aboard the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

The service is available at New York, Newark, Philadelphia , Lancaster, Harrisburg, Altoona, Johnstown and Pittsburgh.

The fee for a checked bike is $20. Passengers are allowed to check two bags for free.

In news release, Amtrak said only standard bicycles will be handled.

In the case of bikes with a large seat/saddle bags, handlebar bags or panniers, those items must be removed from the bike, consolidated, and checked or carried on the train.

To make a bike reservation, passengers should select “add bike” when booking travel on Amtrak.com, calling 800-USA-RAIL or visiting a staffed ticket office.

Limited space is available for checked bicycles. No box is required.

Passengers connecting in Pittsburgh with the Capitol Limited (Chicago-Washington) can check bikes and bags through to or from their destination.

Amtrak said passengers checking bikes  must arrive at the station 45 minutes before a train’s departure time to allow enough time to purchase a ticket and obtain a baggage tag and transport the bike to the baggage car.

Amtrak Plans Extra Trains, Added Capacity for Holiday

October 14, 2019

Amtrak plans to operate extra train service and added capacity in the Midwest and other regions of the country during the Thanksgiving holiday travel period.

In the Midwest, this will primarily mean extra trains to some downstate Illinois cities.

Additional capacity will be added to other Amtrak Midwest corridor routes in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Passengers traveling on the Chicago-Milwaukee Hiawatha Service trains will need reservations for travel between Nov. 26 and Dec. 2.

In a news release, Amtrak said it expects to operate every available rail car in its active duty fleet.

Additional trains are planned for the Northeast Corridor while additional cars will be added to corridor routes in the Midwest and West.

Added capacity will expand consists of Amtrak’s Keystone Service and the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

Keystone trains and the Pennsylvanian will require reservations for travel between Nov. 25 and Dec. 2.

Pacific Surfliner trains will require reservations between Nov. 27 and Dec. 2 for travel between San Diego and San Luis Obispo, California, via Los Angeles.

Last year Amtrak said it carried over 846,000 passengers systemwide during the Thanksgiving travel period include 160,000 customers the Sunday following Thanksgiving.

Baggage Car Now Operating on The Pennsylvanian

October 2, 2019

Amtrak has added a baggage car and checked luggage service to the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

The service, which began on Oct. 1, provides checked luggage service at Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Newark and New York.

The baggage car also has space to carry up to six bicycles, which can be checked for a $20 fee to any of the aforementioned stations.

Checking of bikes and luggage is only available at stations that still have a station agent.

An online reported indicated that the baggage car was added at the insistence of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which helps to fund the Pennsylvanian.

Paoli Station Project Completed

September 24, 2019

The station overhaul project in Paoli, Pennsylvania, was celebrated on Sept. 23 with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The ceremony involving officials of the city, state, Amtrak and SEPTA, marked the completion of the $48 million Paoli Station Accessibility Improvement Project.

The project created a new center high-level platform, which required removing tracks 2 and 3 of the four-track former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line.

New elevators and a stair tower were built to connect a pedestrian overpass to the new platform.

The two-year project also included ADA improvements, upgrades to parking, and track changes to provide greater operational flexibility for SEPTA Amtrak’s Keystone service trains.

Amtrak owns the station, which is served by 25 Keystone Service trains and the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

SEPTA serves Paoli with 78 trains between and five bus routes.

Private Car Trip to Operate Philly to Pittsburgh

September 7, 2019

A fall foliage special featuring former Pennsylvania Railroad Pullman car Catalpa Falls will operate from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and return on Oct. 18-20.

Tickets are $1,100 per person and includes round-trip private rail transportation, four meals, and all beverages aboard the train.

It does not include lodging in Pittsburgh.  The trip is limited to 20 passengers.

The trip is being sponsored by Executive Rail. For inquiries or additional information send an email to Tickets@ExecutiveRail.com or call Carolyn Hoffman at 862-763-0508.

During the journey on Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian, passengers will cross the Rockville Bridge and traverse Horseshoe Curve.

There will be four meals served – two in each direction – that have been selected from menus of the Broadway Limited.

All meals will be prepared on-board by the Catalpa Falls’ executive chef using the original Pennsylvania Railroad recipes.

That will include the Pennsy’s famous pennepicure pie.

Executive Rail has arranged for a rate of $155 per night (plus fees and taxes) at the Omni William Penn Hotel. Rooms at this rate must be booked with the hotel directly by Sept. 16. Passengers should mention the Catalpa Falls to get the special rate.

However, passengers can also make their lodging arrangements at another hotel in Pittsburgh if desired.

Hearing to Consider Expanded Amtrak Service in Pa.

August 20, 2019

A hearing has been set for Aug. 28 by a Pennsylvania legislature transportation subcommittee to consider the prospects of increasing intercity rail passenger service between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The hearing will be held at the Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum at 3 p.m. start.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is funding a study of the costs of expanding the service on Norfolk Southern tracks between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

The state currently funds the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian on the route. It also funds Amtrak Keystone service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Expected to testify at the hearing are NS representatives and members of Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail.

No Longer Standing in Summerhill

July 30, 2019

Earlier this summer workers removed the venerable Pennsylvania Railroad position light signals at Summerhill, Pennsylvania, on the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern.

But in October 2017, the signals were still alive and well although their future even then was in doubt.

The eastbound Pennsylvanian rushes through Summerhill en route to its next station stop in Altoona and its way to New York City.

Ex-PRR Cars to Celebrate Memory of Broadway Limited

July 3, 2019

To help celebrate the memory of the former Broadway Limited of the Pennsylvania Railroad, three former PRR passenger cars will travel from New York to Pittsburgh and return on Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian.

The cars will operate westbound on July 12 and return on July 14.

The cars are Catalpa Falls, a six double bedroom-buffet lounge; Colonial Crafts, a one drawing room/three double bedroom-buffet lounge; and Frank Thomson, a bedroom-observation-lounge.

The Pennsylvanian plies the original route of the Broadway Limited which in its day was one of the two premier passenger trains between Chicago and New York.

The Broadway Limited was an all-Pullman train until 1967. It operated under Amtrak through September 1995 when it was discontinued west of Pittsburgh and replaced by the now defunct New York-Pittsburgh Three Rivers.

The Pennsy launched the Broadway Limited in 1912.

The private car trip this month will feature 1949 cuisine prepared using original Pennsylvania Railroad recipes.

Some passengers will have the opportunity to sleep aboard the three PRR cars during the Pittsburgh layover while the other passengers will spend two nights at the Hotel William Penn.

For more information, visit http://www.BroadwayLimited1949.com.