Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh-Philadelphia corridor’

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.

Making History in Pittsburgh

November 14, 2016

pittsburgh

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.

Pittsburgh Group Pushing Added Amtrak Service

May 23, 2016

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is supporting efforts to increase the level of Amtrak service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Lucinda Beattie, vice president of transportation for the group, plans to meet with Gov. Tom Wolf to push the service expansion, which she said would cost $10 million to $13 million a year.

“This is a very affordable transportation project,” Beattie said. “This is not an extravagant project. It’s very doable.”

Amtrak logoPittsburgh officials are seeking to increase service from one roundtrip a day to three roundtrips.

Currently, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation underwrites most of the costs of the Pittsburgh-New York Pennsylvanian.

PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick said the agency has asked Amtrak how much it would cost to add one train a day and whether it has the needed equipment and track access.

Under a law approved in 2013, the state has about $8 million a year earmarked for rail service but Kirkpatrick said those funds are already allocated.

Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said the passenger carrier is working on a comprehensive study for the state but he wouldn’t discuss any specifics.

“We are working as fast as we can to put together the information,” Tolbert said. “At this point, I do not have a time frame for when that will be done.”

Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Downtown Partnership, said additional Amtrak service would also benefit such communities as Greensburg, Latrobe, Johnstown, Altoona, Tyrone, Huntingdon and Lewistown because they have few public transportation options.

Beattie said that the Pittsburgh-to-Harrisburg route has the second highest percentage of filled seats among Amtrak’s top 17 routes with patronage having increased every year since 2005 when the service fell from two roundstrips to one with the discontinuance of the Three Rivers.

“We think there’s an unmet demand for more service,” she said. “It can only grow so far with one train.”

Beattie also noted that Pennsylvania helps to fund 14 daily trips on the Harrisburg-to-Philadelphia segment of the Pittsburgh-Philadelphia route.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing what the governor has to say about rail, especially service to the western part of the state. [Additional service] would connect parts of the state that aren’t connected now,” she said.