Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak Keystone Service’

Amtrak Pitches New Service in Pennsylvania

September 17, 2021

Amtrak brought its road show to Pennsylvania last week during a virtual round table event designed to drum up political support for federal funding that would enable Amtrak to expand service.

The passenger carrier has proposed expansions in the Keystone state that would bring new service to Scranton, Allentown and Reading, and increased service to Pittsburgh.

Some upgrades would be made to Amtrak’s existing Keystone Service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

Amtrak officials said the expanded service could begin in three years but a lot of things would need to fall in place.

Chief among those is Congress approving funding for transportation infrastructure and host railroads agreeing to allow the service.

Amtrak estimates its Pennsylvania expansion plan would attract 1.3 million passengers annually by 2035, with the services contributing $200 million in annual economic impact and $6 billion in incremental economic activity from capital investments in Pennsylvania, based on a projected capital investment needed of $2.7 billion.

Currently, there are two Amtrak services in Pennsylvania funded by the state. The Pennsylvanian between Pittsburgh and New York and the Keystone Service between Harrisburg and Philadelphia handled 1.8 million passengers in fiscal year 2019.

Amtrak has suggested in its Amtrak ConnectUS plan:
    •    New service between Reading – Philadelphia – New York (three daily round trips);
    •    New service between Scranton – New York (three daily round trips);
    •    New service between Allentown – New York (two daily round trips);
    •    Expand Keystone service between Harrisburg – Philadelphia – New York from 12 daily round trips to 17 daily round trips, and reduce trip times by increasing Harrisburg – Philadelphia speeds to 125 mph; and
    •    Expand Pennsylvanian service between Pittsburgh – Philadelphia – New York from one daily round trip to two daily round trips, with one round trip extended to Cleveland.

Participating in the round table event were Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Amtrak President Stephen Gardner, Amtrak CEO William Flynn, U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, Allentown Deputy Mayor Leonard Lightner, Scranton Mayor Paige Cognetti, and Greater Reading Chamber Alliance President and CEO Jim Gerlach.

Ida’s Aftermath Hinders Amtrak Service

September 3, 2021

Flooding and other complications left by the remnants of Hurricane Ida played havoc with the operations of some Amtrak trains this week.

The storm dumped more than seven inches of rain in New York, prompting Amtrak to cancel service between Boston and Washington, and between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Amtrak said its Moynihan Train Hall in New York remained operational, but some trains were terminated or held at intermediate stations due to safety concerns.

They included the eastbound Cardinal, which was held at Trenton, New Jersey, Tuesday night for nearly 12 hours.

The westbound Capitol Limited was held for two hours at Cumberland, Maryland. By the time it reached Pittsburgh it was almost five hours late.

No. 29 arrived in Cleveland at 8:01 a.m. Thursday, five hours and eight minutes late. It ultimately reached Chicago five hours, 43 minutes late.

The westbound Lake Shore Limited on Thursday was suspended between New York and Albany, but will operate from Albany to Chicago.

This same schedule modification will continue on Friday.

The New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian and New York-Philadelphia Keystone Corridor trains are expected to resume operating on Friday.

Some Keystone Service Being Restored

August 20, 2021

Amtrak said rising ridership has resulted in the restoration of some suspended services in its Keystone Corridor between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

The trains affected operate on weekdays and provide some weekend service.

Effective Aug. 30, Trains 600, 645, 647, 650 and 654 will operate on weekdays from New York to Harrisburg.

Other weekday schedule changes include the following: Train 619 will operate from Philadelphia to Harrisburg; Train 622 will operate from Harrisburg to Philadelphia; Train 642 will operate through from Harrisburg to New York; and Train 655 will operate through from New York to Harrisburg.

On weekends Trains 661 and 667 will operate from New York to Harrisburg on Saturdays and Sundays.

Other schedule changes for weekend service are: Train 662 will operate from Harrisburg to New York on Saturdays and between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on Sundays; Trains 666 and 670 will operate from Harrisburg to New York on Saturdays and Sundays; and Trains 612 and 672 will operate to New York on Sundays.

In an unrelated schedule change, Amtrak said select trains will stop in New York between Rochester and Syracuse for the New York State Fair.

The special stops will be made between Aug. 20 and Sept. 6.

Eastbound trains stopping at the Fair include Nos. 64 and 284 while westbound trains making the stop include Nos. 63, 281 and 283.

The eastbound trains will depart from Niagara Falls, Buffalo Exchange Street, Buffalo Depew and Rochester 10 minutes earlier to accommodate the added stop.

Westbound trains will arrive 10 minutes later than normal at all stations west of the Fair stop.

PennDOT Seeking Bids for New Coatesville Station

July 17, 2021

Bids are being sought to construct a new passenger station in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said the project seeks to revitalize the surrounding community with a modern accessible train station and improved connections to the Keystone Corridor.

The new station will improve ADA accessibility and have level boarding platforms, elevators, ramps, and improved drainage and surface parking.

Interested contractors must be registered business partners with PennDOT and submit their bid through PennDOT’s Engineering and Construction Management System.

Contractor construction-related questions must be submitted electronically through ECMS. A pre-bid meeting will take place virtually on July 27.

Coatesville is served by Amtrak’s Keystone Service and the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian.

Winter Storm Disrupts Amtrak Service

February 1, 2021

A winter storm on Sunday prompted Amtrak to cancel several services in the East.

Among them was the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian. Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, via Philadelphia operated on a limited schedule.

Also operating on limited or modified schedules was Northeast Regional Service between Boston and Virginia, and Empire Service between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

All Acela service between Boston and Washington was canceled.

Keystone Service Slashed With Little Notice

January 6, 2021

With little advance notice Amtrak on Monday slashed Keystone Service in Pennsylvania, citing low patronage.

The state-funded service between New York and Harrisburg via Philadelphia was cut to seven weekday roundtrips with six on weekends.

Three of the roundtrips will operate between New York and Harrisburg while other trains will operate between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

The new schedule boosts Harrisburg-New York service by one roundtrip.

Six roundtrips plus one additional westbound train have been suspended on weekdays. On weekends, three trains have been suspended.

An Amtrak announcement said the cuts were made “in order to adapt to changing demand.”

It was not the first change to Keystone Service since the COVID-19 pandemic intensified last March.

The service had been cut last spring when the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian also was suspended. The Keystone Service cuts and the Pennsylvanian were restored last June

Weekday trains will now depart Harrisburg for Philadelphia at 5, 6:40 and 8:59 a.m. and 12:05, 3:05, 4:30 and 8:35 p.m.

The 5, 8:59 and 3:05 trains continue to New York Penn Station, which Amtrak is now referring to as the Moynihan Train Hall.

Trains leave Philadelphia for Harrisburg at 5:20, 6:20, and 8:45 a.m. and 1:35, 3:45, 5:35 and 6:42 p.m. Trains leave New York for Harrisburg at 7:17 a.m. and 4:03 and 5:10 p.m.

The schedules and services of the Pennsylvanian are unchanged.

The weekend schedule has trains leaving Harrisburg for Philadelphia at 7:20, 9:30, and 11:35 a.m. and 2:05, 5:05 and 7:05 p.m. The 7:20, 9:30 and 2:05 trains run through to New York.

From Philadelphia to Harrisburg, trains leave at 7:25, 8:30 and 10:50 a.m. and 2:45, 4:55 and 6:55 p.m. rains leave New York for Harrisburg at 9:09 a.m. and 1:05 and 5:17 p.m.

News reports from Pennsylvania media quoted Amtrak spokeswoman Beth Toll as saying Amtrak is experiencing ridership that is 20 percent of what it was before the pandemic.

Railway Age reported that neither Amtrak nor the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation issued a news release in advance of the service cuts to announce the new schedules.

Instead, the intercity passenger carrier and PennDOT cooperated in issuing a service advisory on the morning that the cuts became effective.

The Railway Age report said it remains unclear whether PennDOT or Amtrak decided to made the service cut and when the decision was made.

Amtrak to Cancel Trains due to Storm

December 16, 2020

A winter storm has led Amtrak to cancel some trains today and Thursday that operate in Pennsylvania and in the Northeast Corridor.

The cancellations do not affect long-distance trains operating to New York, Washington or Boston.

Among the cancellations are 16 Keystone Service trains between New York and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Another 16 Keystone Service trains are being cancelled on Thursday between New York and Harrisburg. However, four Keystone trains will operate between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

Also being canceled by the storm are various Northeast Regional trains, Empire Service trains between New York and Albany, New York, and Acela service.

Some cancellations have already been announced for Friday in the Northeast Corridor.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said bus transportation will not be provided for cancelled trains and that service will be restored pending improved conditions.

Travelers are advised to check their train status on Amtrak.com or the Amtrak smartphone app.

More information is available at https://www.amtrak.com/alert/Amtrak-operating-modified-schedule-in-northeast/amtrak-operating-modified-schedule-in-northeast.html

Amtrak Keystone Line Signals Getting Upgrade

November 18, 2020

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is working with Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to upgrade signaling and train control systems between Paoli and Overbrook on the Keystone Line

The line extends from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to Harrisburg, and hosts Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service trains.

Between Philadelphia and Thorndale, the line also hosts SEPTA’s Paoli-Thorndale regional rail services.

In a news release, Amtrak said the new equipment will “enable greater operational flexibility and higher operating speeds, as well as help reduce delays.

SEPTA obtained a $15.9 million federal grant last month that will make the signaling work possible.

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.

Bill Would Give PennDOT Rail Line Ownership

October 17, 2020

A Pennsylvanian congressman has introduced a bill that would require Amtrak to to transfer ownership of the Keystone East Line between Harrisburg and Philadelphia to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

In a statement Rep. Lloyd Smucker said he introduced the bill, which calls for PennDOT to manage the line and certain stations, because of his disappointment with Amtrak’s management of the line.

The statement claimed that renovation and repair projects have been consistently delayed and over budget. 

“By granting Pennsylvania ownership of the Keystone Line, we can provide greater local control, accountability and expand ridership opportunities,”  Smucker said. 

The line also hosts Southeast Pennsylvania Transit Authority’s Paoli-Thorndale commuter-rail service.

SEPTA in a statement expressed support for the bill, saying it would create opportunities to improve service on the route, which is SEPTA’s highest ridership regional rail line.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives earlier unanimously adopted a resolution urging the U.S. Department of Transportation to transfer the line’s ownership to PennDOT. 

The line hosts two PennDOT-supported Amtrak services, the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service between Harrisburg and New York via Philadelphia.

The state spends $100 million annually to support those services.