Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

Fire Destroys P&LE Station near Beaver Falls

June 23, 2017

A Pittsburgh & Lake Erie passenger station in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, will be razed after it was heavily damaged by fire.

Firefighters told local news media that trying to bring the blaze under control was difficult because the area had no fire hydrants.

That forced fire fighters to use a relay pump to supply water for their efforts.

Known as College Hill station, the two-story structure opened in 1910 and was used to carry passengers to Geneva College.

It was later used by the PAT commuter trains until they were discontinued in 1985. The building was last used in the early 1990s.

FTA Urges States to Enact Safety Programs

June 21, 2017

Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Michigan are among 30 states that have been reminded by the Federal Transit Administration that they must establish a state safety oversight program by April 15, 2019.

The rule was promulgated in 2016 and sets a three-year time frame for states to obtain certification for their SSO programs.

Failure to do so will mean the  FTA will not obligate funds to transportation agencies in that state until certification is achieved.

The FTA said it is encouraging states to act quickly to enact necessary legislation required to meet certification requirements.

Nine states have yet to enact legislation prior to FTA certification. FTA Executive Director Matthew Welbes said that by law the 2019 deadline cannot be waived.

“The affected states should act to establish an FTA-certified SSO program that is compliant with federal law and provides the highest level of safety for their rail-transit riders and workers,” he said in a statement.

Some Quality Time on Horseshoe Curve

June 2, 2017

 

In this second installment of the trip that Akron Railroad Club member Ed Ribinskas took to Pennsylvania last month, we join him at Horseshoe Curve on the Pittsburgh Line of Norfolk Southern.

Ed was there along with his brother in law Karl and his son Owen. They made a day trip to the curve and the Everett Railroad.

While on the curve, Ed photographed Amtrak westbound train No. 43, the Pennsylvanian. It had its standard Amfleet consist pulled by a single P42DC locomotive.

No. 43 passed on the curve an NS manifest freight had had the Savannah & Atlanta heritage unit (No. 1065) in the motive power consist.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Ed Journeys to the Everett Railroad Again

May 31, 2017

Owen (left) and Karl pose with Everett No. 11 in Holidaysburg, Pennsylvania.

On May 20, Akron Railroad Club member Ed Ribinskas along with his brother-in-law Karl and his son Owen (Ed’s nephew) did an all-day trip to railfan in Pennsylvania. Today’s installment focuses on their visit to the Everett Railroad where they chased and photographed two trips.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

The first of three images made of the train in Hollidaysburg.

 

Switching at Brooks Mills

At West Loop Road

Nearing Monastery Road.

Crossing Pennsylvania Route 36 north of Roaring Spring.

At Roaring Spring.

 

North Shore Named NS Short Line of Year

May 26, 2017

The Pennsylvania-based North Shore Railroad has been named as Norfolk Southern’s short line of the year.

North Shore, which manages six short-line railroads in central Pennsylvania, said its Lycoming Valley and Union County Industrial railroads were presented with business initiative awards by NS.

Earlier, the American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association presented North Shore with its 2017 marketing award.

“Receiving these awards from these prominent organizations is a true testament of the success of our dedicated, hardworking employees,” said Jeb Stotter, vice president and chief operating officer of the North Shore. “We appreciate our partnership with NS and are humbled by this recognition.”

PennDot Might Sponsor Buses Before Pittsburgh-Harrisburg Amtrak Service Can be Expanded

May 24, 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 recently voted unanimously in favor of a nine-month review study of 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.

Funding Hurdles Face Expanded Pa. Service

March 6, 2017

Although they continue to push for expanded Amtrak service, public officials in western Pennsylvania acknowledge that finding money for that service is a significant challenge.

“You’ve got a tight budget, so any additional money to expand rail service is tough to come by,” said State Rep. Bryan Babin, a former member of the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee.

pennsylvaniaBabin said the proposed service expansion is likely to take time to realize because other projects are high on the state’s list of priorities.

He said the potential hurdles include the state budget, cooperation with Amtrak and negotiations with Norfolk Southern, which own the tracks used by the New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvania.

The state-funded Pennsylvanian is the only intercity rail service on the NS line between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Support for additional service has been particularly strong in the Johnstown area. Officials from Cambria County and Johnstown testified last year in favor of the service at a meeting of the Pennsylvania House Transportation Committee.

Support has also come from public officials in Pittsburgh and Altoona.

Babin said that other projects are higher on the state’s list of priorities so, “It’s going to be a while.”

Pennsylvanian Congressman Bill Shuster has also expressed support for the expansion.

“I believe these new investments will bring new economic growth to our communities,” said Shuster, who is chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Passenger rail service provides an important link for southwestern Pennsylvania to the rest of the country, and anytime there’s a market demand for new service, it’s something that should be looked at.”

Babin observed that Pennsylvania is operating at a deficit and the legislature is looking at the possibilities of raising taxes, cutting spending and closing loopholes in the state budget.

However, he noted that Pennsylvania spends $18 million per year on passenger rail of which $17 million goes to support trains in the eastern third of the state.

“We need to do the same thing if we’re going to connect the whole state,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, that’s the biggest transportation issue for the western part of the state.”

House Transportation Committee Chairman state Rep. John Taylor, of Philadelphia, said he is still committed to expanding rail service in the western part of the state.

“It’s just a matter of putting the pieces together,” said Eric Bugaile, the committee’s executive director. That would mean reaching an agreement among PennDOT, Amtrak and Norfolk Southern officials on the same page.

Aside from state budget challenges, another sticking point is the fact that the NS route to be used by the service is a busy freight corridor.

NS spokesman David Pidgeon said any expanded Amtrak service should not adversely affect NS freight customers.

Pidgeon said NS was amendable to what he termed “viable plans” for expansion, which would take the carrier’s concerns into account.

Amtrak spokesman Mike Tolbert said the carrier continues to work with PennDOT “to provide a thorough evaluation of additional service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Due to the nature of these requests, which often include multiple stakeholders, extensive research and negotiations, they can require a significant amount of time to finalize.”

Pa. Excursion Trip Set for May 18

February 17, 2017

Three organizations are teaming up to offer a rare mileage excursion over the Pennsylvania Railroad and Reading Railroad’s Shamokin Valley Branch.

PennsylvaniaThe May 18 trip will cover a 27-mile branch that is the third oldest railroad in the United States, having been chartered as the Danville & Pottsville Railroad in 1826.

The train will include a Pullman car, baggage car, three restored coaches and a PRR N8 cabin car.

The tracks are now used by the North Shore Railroad, which is operated by the SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority.

The train will depart from Sunbury, Pennsylvania, with bus transportation provided to the boarding site from Camp Hill, Wyomissing and Lancaster.

Tickets are $89 per person for those departing from one of the bus locations and $45 for those driving to Sunbury on their own.

The fare includes a bag lunch. Other sandwiches and drinks will be available for purchase on the train.

This trip is subject to cancellation due to insufficient and/or late registration.

Tickets can be purchased by sending a check made payable to the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society.

Send payments to Iron Ore Special, 1624 Suzanne Drive, West Chester, PA 19380-1573. Registration and payment are due by April 10,

For further information send a email query to ironorespecial@gmail.com.

Trip sponsors are the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society, the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, and the Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Pa. Museum Qualifies for Matching Grant.

February 1, 2017

Fundraising by the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania for a steam locomotive restoration project has reached the level where it qualifies for a matching grant of $50,000.

pa-rr-museumThe museum has raised more than $60,000 in its “Ready for the Roundhouse” campaign, thus matching a 50-50 grant from the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society.

The museum plans to use the money to restore five former PRR steam locomotives. The project needs to raise a total of $250,000.

The five locomotives include Pennsy M1b 4-8-2 No. 6755, K4s 4-6-2 No. 3750, L1s 2-8-2 No. 520, H10s 2-8-0 No. 7688 and B6sb 0-6-0 No. 1670.

All of them will be cosmetically restored and placed on display in a roundhouse that the museum plans to build. Groundbreaking for the roundhouse is expected to done this year.

Reading & Northern Building New Station

January 19, 2017

The Reading & Northern will build a new passenger station near the Reading, Pennsylvania, city limits.

PennsylvaniaThe $2 million project also will include construction of a siding from the main line, a water tank and a home for Canadian Pacific 225, a 4-6-0 formerly owned by the late George M. Hart. The 225 will be displayed at the site.

The R&N acquired the property for the station in 2016 for $895,000. It is located along Pennsylvania Route 61 in Muhlenberg Township north of a connection with Norfolk Southern.

To prepare the site, a closed strip mall and restaurant on the property were razed.

The new station will feature a Victorian era design and simulate a station known as the Outer Station that was located closer to central Reading.

That station was constructed in 1874 and located within a wye of lines branching off to Allentown, Pottsville, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

The Outer Station, which had division offices, closed in 1969 and was destroyed by fire in 1978.

The railroad also had a passenger station in downtown Reading on Franklin Street.

The R&N said that it will begin offering scheduled Saturday passengers trains between the new station and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, on Memorial Day, using former Reading rail diesel cars.

The route of the service will be ex-Reading rails from from Reading to Hauck on the Catawissa Branch and then over the former Jersey Central Nesquehoning Valley Branch to Jim Thorpe. The trip will be 60 miles one way.