Amtrak could add 2nd round-trip train between Harrisburg, Pittsburgh

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by benjibear, Sep 18, 2015.

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  1. Sep 11, 2019 at 3:30 AM #51

    Philly Amtrak Fan

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    Hey PA would have two trains along the PGH-HAR route right now if it weren't for Byrd Crap.
     
  2. Sep 11, 2019 at 9:00 AM #52

    Anderson

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    No, in all likelihood the result would simply be one less train running.
     
  3. Sep 11, 2019 at 11:20 AM #53

    railiner

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    It just seems surprising, that there is only one train on the route, when you consider that PA does support train travel, and compare with the rest of the state, not to mention other states that support Amtrak...
    And considering the history of pre-Amtrak service on that route...
     
  4. Sep 11, 2019 at 1:54 PM #54

    Anderson

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    PA isn't as bad as some states, but the rail interest is overwhelmingly centered on Philly. Also, it does not help that the state has had a spotty record dating back to the 1980s (old jokes that SEPTA Regional Rail should be renamed Semi-Regional Rail come to mind). PA also fought tooth and nail on the subsidy for the Pennsylvanian (not without justification, but they put up more of a fight than any state save Indiana on that front). If PA had been more proactive and more inclined to fund trains, there probably would've been an additional state-supported frequency on that route a long time ago.
     
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  5. Sep 11, 2019 at 2:16 PM #55

    jis

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    For one thing PA should have fought the withdrawal of the Broadway/Three Rivers tooth and nail. Instead all we got is crickets chirping in the background and almost total silence otherwise.
     
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  6. Sep 11, 2019 at 10:07 PM #56

    philabos

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    Thanks. Did not even know there was such a train.
    At an average of 30 passengers per day, believe that's the only study they need.
    Pesky mountain range west of Altoona always an issue.
     
  7. Sep 12, 2019 at 12:46 PM #57

    Anderson

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    I mean, that train last ran in 1983. It is not unreasonable to question whether taking another stab at something over 35 years later is worth a look. I can see the answer being that it still isn't justified (population demographics and the like) but "that didn't work then so let's forget it" seems unfair.

    (The train was also not an unreasonable use of equipement...on the then-extant timetable, it was either do that or let the train sit around in PGH doing nothing, so I can't say what the threshold would have been for a "reasonable success" on the service. 30 pax/train didn't cut it, but would 50? 100?)
     
  8. Sep 12, 2019 at 6:29 PM #58

    neroden

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    My read on Pennsylvania state politics is that the rail service focus will be on addressing the maintenance backlog at SEPTA for several more years. The legislature has until recently been gerrymandered in a manner such that non-Philadelphia pro-rail forces don't get much representation.

    After the 2020 redistricting is finished, which should eliminate the pro-Republican gerrymander in the state legislature and make all the seats more competitive, as well as transferring a lot of seats from the countryside to Southeast PA, I think the legislature will pay more attention to service beyond Harrisburg; so likely after the 2022 elections. The reasoning here is that right now, all the pro-transit representatives are caught up in dogfighting to provide the necessary service to the Philadelphia area; when there are fewer knee-jerk anti-transit representatives, the legislative consensus on transit will be able to be more generous to the whole state.

    SEPTA still has a very large backlog of work to do (more than 70 regional rail stations need ADA upgrades, and the trolleys all need replacement for ADA reasons among others), and PennDOT is still working on the Harrisburg Line station replacements, but I think that around the time when the trolley replacement gets funded, the Harrisburg Line station replacements are all under construction, and City Hall subway station ADA work gets finished, the legislative mood will turn towards providing some transit to the rest of the state. That's probably when we might see serious work on increasing PGH-PHL service. Although we might see an effort to bring service to Allentown/Bethlehem or State College instead.

    I don't know what the rail freight situation will look like at the point, but I can tell you it won't have any significant coal traffic.
     
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  9. Sep 13, 2019 at 12:08 AM #59

    PaTrainFan

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    Agreed, that is absurd on so many levels. However, the publication in question has blinders and generally only sees the world in terms of a 60 mile radius of Westmoreland County, plus philosophically rejects all government subsidies for any type of "public" transportation. There is potential for additional Pittsburgh-Harrisburg-Philadelphia ridership; the issue is the length of the trip between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. Amtrak takes two hours longer than driving, in most instances, and the cost of upgrading rail for faster travel times is prohibitive.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019 at 12:18 AM

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