Planned Pennsylvania Excursion Canceled

A planned excursion train in Pennsylvania in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebration of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society has been canceled, a victim of a recent Amtrak policy change banning most special moves and charters.

The train, which would have featured the PRR E8A passenger locomotives and former Pennsy passenger cars owned by Bennett Levin, had initially been approved by Amtrak.

But Levin received a phone call from an Amtrak official saying Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson had ordered an end to special trains.

Although the Amtrak policy change had allowed for exceptions in narrow circumstances, a recent clarification of the policy indicated that Amtrak will not approve excursions that operate on lines not used by the carrier’s scheduled trains.

The PRRT&HS excursion was to operate from Philadelphia to Altoona, Pennsylvania, on May 9 via the Buffalo Line of Norfolk Southern and the Nittany & Bald Eagle short line railroad using former PRR routes via Williamsport and Tyrone.

Levin had submitted a detailed request to Amtrak in December to operate the excursion and he agreed to Amtrak’s price for the trip in early February.

As late as early April Amtrak was still agreeing to operate the trip before backing out in mid April.

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