Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Amtrak Agrees to Help Develop NYC-Scranton Corridor

July 21, 2021

An agreement has been reached between Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Northeast Railroad Authority to work toward the establishment of intercity rail passenger service between New York City and Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak said in a news release that it would provide infrastructure assessment and ridership and revenue forecasting estimates of equipment needs and other analysis of the proposed service.

The project review is expected to take about a year to complete and cost $400,000.

The New York-Scranton route was among several new corridors identified by the Amtrak Connect US plan to be developed by 2035.

The route would use the Lackawanna Cut-Off, a dormant dormant right of way owned by the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The proposed service would be three daily round trips that would connect with New Jersey Transit’s Morristown Line at SWIFT Interlocking (Kearny Connection), then on to Scranton via a rebuilt Lackawanna Cut-Off through a connection with the Morristown Line at Port Morris Junction. 

NJT Morristown Line service currently ends at Hackettstown although plans are in place to develop branch line service from Port Morris to Andover Township.

Other work that needs to be completed includes restoring the 1,024-foot Roseville Tunnel located about six miles west of Port Morris Junction.

Amtrak trains to Scranton would require new dual-power locomotives because the segment between Scranton and the Morristown Line will not be electrified.

Passenger trains last used the Lackawanna Cut-off in 1970. Conrail ended freight service there in 1978 and removed the tracks in 1984.

The route is named for the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western.

Estimates of the cost of restoring track between the Roseville Tunnel and Pennsylvania are around $300 million with most of that needed to repair the Hainesburg Viaduct and Delaware River Viaduct.

Advocates of the project hope to obtain funding from an infrastructure bill now being considered by Congress.

Federal Grant Awarded to Improve Keystone Line

October 29, 2020

Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation have received a $15.9 million federal State of Good Repair grant that will be used on the Keystone Line.

The project involves signal upgrades on the Amtrak-owned line that is used by the intercity passenger carrier’s Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian trains.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority trains also use the line.

The work will occur between Paoli and Overbrook and allow for bidirectional train movement on all tracks and higher operating speeds.

The line is owned by Amtrak.

Broadway Limited in Beaver Falls

April 7, 2020

Amtrak is hardly a fallen flag, but some of its trains and locomotive models are.

Such is the case for the Broadway Limited, a onetime Chicago-New York/Washington train that was the only intercity passenger train in Northeast Ohio after Amtrak began on May 1, 1971.

At that time the Broadway operated on the Fort Wayne Line via Alliance, Canton and Massillon.

In the photograph above, F40PH No. 361 is leading the Broadway through Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, on April 23, 1983.

The F40 was once the standard locomotive for most of Amtrak’s long-distance but it has since been retired as a locomotive although a few F40 frames are still on the roster for cab car service.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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.

Bus Route Links to Harrisburg Amtrak Station

August 13, 2019

Capital Area Transit has revamped its transit service in the Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, area to include connecting service to the Amtrak station in Harrisburg.

Early-morning and afternoon connecting service to downtown Harrisburg and the Amtrak station is available from Walmart and the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center on the campus of Shippensburg University.

The base fare $1.25 while rides are free for Shippensburg students, faculty and staff members with proper ID.

Passengers 65 and older can ride free with a Commonwealth of PA senior ID card.

Pa. Amtrak Funding May be Threatened

June 22, 2019

Funding of rail passenger service in Pennsylvania may be in jeopardy due to a law that will cut funding for the Pennsylvania Turnpike three years from now.

The law currently requires the Turnpike to set aside $450 million annually to convey to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for use by public transit.

But that law dictates that that funding drop to $50 million in 2022.

“Amtrak service is in jeopardy, as we know it today,” even without the pending funding crisis, Jennie Granger, PennDOT’s deputy secretary for multimodal transportation said during a speech to business and government officials at the Westmoreland County Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Westmoreland Country Club in Penn Township.

PennDot Might Sponsor Buses Before Amtrak Service Expands from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh

May 23, 2017

As the Pennsylvania Senate considers approving legislation designed to increase Amtrak service to Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is eyeing sponsoring bus service until Amtrak service can be expanded.

The state funds the Pittsburgh-New York Pennsylvanian and is considering funding additional Amtrak service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The Senate Transportation Committee recent voted unanimously in favor of a nine-month review study into adding two more passenger trains between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The full Senate is expected to vote on the study proposal by the end of June.

The study would be conducted within nine months by the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee.

The resolution also calls for looking at the prospect of adding service between Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

A number of steps would need to be taken before the service could become a reality, including making improvements to the Norfolk Southern tracks that the trains would use and negotiating agreements with Amtrak and NS. The route to be used is a busy NS freight line.

Western Pennsylvania interests have long noted that since 2000, the state has invested $400 million to increase passenger service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia from six trains to 14.

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said the agency welcomes the review of what it would take to increase passenger service but that earlier studies have shown it would cost $3.75 million to $6 million to add one more passenger train, plus capital improvements estimated at $100 million in 2005.

Kirkpatrick said that in other regions of the country bus service has been paired with Amtrak service.

He said a dedicated bus could connect western Pennsylvania cities with Amtrak’s Keystone Service in Harrisburg to New York and Philadelphia.

Reservations Needed for Easter Travel

April 13, 2017

Reservations are being required for travel on Amtrak’s Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian during the Easter holiday travel period.

The requirement is in effect between April 13 and 17. In a service advisory, Amtrak said monthly and 10-ride tickets will be accepted during the period.

Amtrak expects an increase number of passengers traveling during the holiday period.

Johnstown Amtrak Station Being Renovated

November 14, 2016

Work is underway to rehabilitate the Amtrak station in Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Amtrak 4The century-old depot renovation was halted for a short time when workers discovered that the roof had more structural defects than was originally thought and thus required more masonry work and patching.

“That project grew into a fairly significant undertaking,” said Richard Burkert, president of Johnstown Area Heritage Association, which is sponsoring the repairs with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The additional work will mean the depot renovation will now cost more than $500,000. Burkert said the contractor hopes to finish the roof work, before winter.

He said that without the repairs, “that station was slipping to the point where it would be prohibitively expensive to repair.”

Some interior work being undertaken will make the facility compliant with the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The depot project work also includes a newly paved parking lot, new sidewalks, regrading the entire concourse with new marble, ramp upgrades and making other modifications.

Burkert said that officials want to make the station into a transportation center that serves local bus services and is linked to bike trails.

“Our hope is to totally revitalize the station and add a variety of uses in there and make it a hub of central Johnstown,” he said. The depot waiting room might become a visitors’ center.

Johnstown is served by the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

Looking for Passengers in Tryone

October 15, 2016


A train approaches a station and from somewhere back in the consist, a door opens. The face of an Amtrak conductor or trainman looks forward to check how many passengers are waiting on the platform.

Of course, with reserved trains, the crew already knows how many people are ticketed to board here.

Still a crew member watches and directs the engineer when “that’ll do when you get ’em stopped.”

I don’t know the name of the conductor of Amtrak’s eastbound Pennsylvanian, shown arriving at Tyrone, Pennsylvania, in December 2015.

After I posted this photograph on a railfan chat list I received an email from a friend of his asking for a copy of the photo to give to him, saying he would soon retire from Amtrak. I was happy to oblige.