Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian’

Altoona Station Elevator Back in Service

December 7, 2018

The elevator from a bridge to the boarding platform in Altoona, Pennsylvania, is now operational.

The elevator links the 10th Avenue pedestrian bridge to the platform and had been out of service since July when it failed a pressure test.

Passengers had to carry their luggage up the steps to the bridge or rely on others to help them.

The Altoona Mirror reported that the pressure test examined the hydraulic cylinder that lifts the elevator car “to see if it pops.”

The test found a bad seal. Another test conducted by Eastern Elevator found a leak in the pipes that that connects the pump room under the platform stairway with the cylinder, which is directly under the elevator car.

The leak was in a section of pipe embedded in a concrete floor so workers installed new piping overhead to connect the pump room and cylinder to avoid having to cut into the concrete floor.

Altoona is served by Amtrak’s New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

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Pa. Trains Require Reservations During Holidays

December 4, 2018

Passengers on certain Amtrak trains serving Pennsylvania will need to make reservations for travel between Dec. 21 and 28, and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

This will apply to all Keystone Service trains as well as the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the reservations requirement will not be in effect for those holding monthly or 10-ride tickets.

Increased Holiday Capacity Set for Pa. Trains

November 15, 2018

Amtrak will increase capacity of its Keystone Service trains as well as the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian to accommodate an expected increase in Thanksgiving week travel.

The carrier said all passengers traveling on those trains will need to make reservations for travel between Nov. 20-25.

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

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

PennDOT to Study Pittsburgh-Altoona Train

September 24, 2018

A feasibility study will be conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation of a Pittsburgh-Altoona passenger train.

PennDOT will review several studies on the Keystone West Corridor; and gather information about the existing right of way, current and projected freight-rail activity on the line.

The study will also develop cost estimates of the proposed service as well as three potential service plans, a travel-demand marketing assessment and ridership estimates.

The service would supplement the existing Amtrak Pennsylvanian, which operates between Pittsburgh and New York and is funded by PennDOT.

The route between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg is owned by Norfolk Southern.

Pennsylvania has commissioned previous studies of additional Amtrak service between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh but thus far nothing has materialized.

Racing Through Cassandra

August 29, 2018

Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvanian is headed for New York City from Pittsburgh and will run nearly the length of Pennsylvania on its 444-mile journey.

The standard consist of one P42DC locomotive and six Amfleet cars, including a cafe car, is on display as the train passes through a cut at Cassandra, Pennsylvania, on the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern.

Soon the train will be rounding the famous Horseshoe Curve and arriving in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Looking For a Future

May 14, 2018

I’m aboard the penultimate run of Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian from Chicago to Philadelphia. The date is Feb. 8, 2003.

I’m holding a ticket to travel from Cleveland to Pittsburgh where I’ll lay over for a few hours and catch the last Pennsylvanian to Chicago out of Pittsburgh.

Tomorrow, the Pennsylvanian will begin to revert back to a New York-Pittsburgh train with funding from the State of Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvanian was extended to Chicago during the era when Amtrak thought it could, to borrow the words of then-President George Warrington, ascend a glide path to profitability.

Then David Gunn became president of Amtrak and decided that wasn’t going to work and he took the passenger carrier out of the business of carrying mail and express.

One of the first casualties of that policy change was the Pennsylvanian. It had been extended to Chicago west of Pittsburgh to carry head-end business.

But with that now being taken away and the Pennsylvanian having mediocre ridership on the Pittsburgh-Chicago segment it became expendable.

On this day No. 42 arrived in Alliance, Ohio, well ahead of its scheduled arrival time. I had time to get off the train and walk around to make photographs.

My favorite was this one, made from the vestibule showing the conductor looking back on the platform for boarding passengers.

I can imagine he might also be searching for his future with Amtrak.

Harrisburg Station Renovation in the Works

March 16, 2018

Plans are in the works to renovate the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Transportation Center, but no timeline for the project has been set.

Officials with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said work inside the station can begin soon, but other work will not proceed until a flooding alleviation project is completed.

PennDOT said it is creating a master plan for the station, which is the western terminus of Amtrak’s Keystone Service from New York and Philadelphia and an intermediate stop for the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

Officials said 90 percent of the design of the $15 million station renovation is complete and PennDOT is working with Amtrak on a construction schedule.

A public hearing has been set for March 22 at 4 p.m. at the station to discuss the proposed project.

PennDOT and the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority want to transform the transportation center and adjacent area into a new transit-oriented, mixed-use development that they say could help revitalize the city.

The plans call for improvements to Market and Cameron streets and a direct connection between the station and parking areas east of it.

However, flooding issues involving Paxton Creek need to be addressed first, including how to fund them.

By one estimate, the flood control work will cost between $60 million to $90 million with the source of that funding yet to be decided.

Some suggested sources have included the state’s Multimodal Fund and the departments of Community and Economic Development and Conservation and Natural Resources.

Once funding is secured the flood control project will require at least four or five years to complete.

Among the plans for the Harrisburg station  development project are an open-space cafe in the main lobby, new seating in the concourse area, removal of trees on Aberdeen Street to open sightlines and increase safety, a restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating at the station, and a new entry plaza from the lower-level Market Street entrance.

Also being planned are new office space in the upper floors and removal of offices in the lobby, a pedestrian bridge over the tracks to the station, streetscaping and improvements, and relocating the intercity bus facility.

Pa. Trains Need Reservations for Easter Travel

February 28, 2018

Amtrak will require reservations for travel aboard the Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service trains for travel during the Easter travel period of March 29 to April 2.

In a service advisory, the passenger carrier said monthly and 10-ride tickets will be accepted on these dates.

 

Amtrak to Renovate Latrobe Station

January 24, 2018

Amtrak will renovate the station in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to improve accessibility for passengers with disabilities.

The passenger carrier will be designing the improvements this year with construction to begin in 2019.

Amtrak will replace the existing boarding platform with one that rises eight inches above the top of the rail.

Also planned are modifications to the parking lot, the stairs to the platform and the passenger waiting area. Signs will be installed that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Latrobe is a stop for the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian and served 4,246 passengers and generated $247,569 in fiscal year 2017.

Some Amtrak Trains in Pennsylvania Will Require Reservations During the Christmas Travel Season

December 14, 2017

Some Amtrak trains in Pennsylvania will require reservations during the Christmas holiday travel period.

Passengers riding Keystone Service trains between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; and the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian must have reservations between Dec. 21-28.

This includes travel between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

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