Posted on Tue, Jul. 20, 2004
02-24-2005, 11:35 PMAmtrak’s Phila.-Harrisburg line to get $145 million rehab
By Jere Downs
Inquirer Staff Writer
Amtrak passengers from Philadelphia to Harrisburg could enjoy a shorter, smoother ride by 2007. That is when a $145 million rehabilitation announced today is expected to be complete, said Amtrak president David L. Gunn.
If congressional support of Amtrak continues, the project will turn the current two-hour, bumpy trip into a 105-minute ride, Gunn said. Express trains will make the run in 90 minutes, he added.
Amtrak and the Pa. Dept. of Transportation will each pay half the cost to smooth 72 miles of track, upgrade signals, rehabilitate the electrical power system -- reversing decades of neglect on the once-grand Main Line of the venerable Pennsylvania Railroad.
Just last week, a House funding subcommittee offered only $900 million for Amtrak's operation in 2005, half of the $1.8 billion Gunn sought to continue long-needed capital improvements on the nation's passenger railroad. To counter the instability of Amtrak's funding, Gov. Rendell has pledged $100 million upfront to sustain the Keystone Corridor initiative.
Today's announcement by Rendell and Gunn at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station minted the latest version of the project. Work on the corridor in a similar agreement forged under Gov. Ridge and former Amtrak president George Warrington stalled in 2001 amid Amtrak's federal funding crisis and near shutdown that summer.
06-27-2005, 02:59 PMAmtrak & Pennsylvania Plan Major Track Upgrades Between Lancaster & Philadelphiatle
Train schedules to be adjusted starting March 7
WASHINGTON - Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) will begin the next phase of major track improvements on the Harrisburg - Philadelphia Keystone Corridor this spring. Consequently, train schedules will be adjusted beginning March 7 between Lancaster and Philadelphia.
To advise passengers of the track work and impact on schedules, Amtrak is posting notices in all stations along the route and on board Keystone trains.
As part of the on-going Amtrak and PennDOT jointly funded program, the construction, upon completion, will reduce running times and improve ride comfort between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
Scheduled to start in March 2005, the work will focus on two areas: Lancaster to Parkesburg and Paoli to Philadelphia. The improvements being made are:
Installation of 80 track miles of new concrete ties
Installation of more than 40 new track switches
A new signal system between Lancaster & Harrisburg
Upgrade of 16 existing bridges & culverts
Upgrade of overhead electrical wires (catenary)
Upgrade of electrical substations to support use of electric locomotives
When the project is fully completed, tangible benefits will be: an increase in train frequency, trip times shortened by up to 15 minutes between Harrisburg and Philadelphia and up to 30 minutes between Harrisburg and New York. The program benefits extend to all users - Amtrak, SEPTA and freight traffic- and provide benefits to the region through reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality.
In order to support the various construction activities, single-tracking in certain segments of the line between Lancaster and Parkesburg as well as Paoli and Philadelphia will be necessary. Train schedules have been modified slightly to minimize or eliminate the delay resulting
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...09091&ssid=180From June 27 to September 2, the main track renewal production gang (including the large Track Laying Machine which installs the concrete ties) will be working on Track 1 to rebuild the track between Parkesburg and Lancaster. Schedules have been adjusted so trains need not pass each other along this segment of the of the Corridor. Train schedules have been modified slightly to minimize or eliminate potential delay from these construction outages...In the fall of 2006, Amtrak will also be able to offer all-electric powered train service, with Harrisburg - Philadelphia trip times of between as little as 90 minutes (express) and 105 minutes (standard). Today, trip times range from 115 to 125 minutes. Currently, Amtrak operates diesel locomotives between Philadelphia and Harrisburg.
Ridership on the Harrisburg-Philadelphia-New York Keystone Service has continued to grow in recent months. For the first six months of FY ’05 (beginning Oct. 1, 2004), ridership is up 13%, or 60,000 passengers, (514,000 v. 454,000 for the same period one year ago.)
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...20102&ssid=18010-03-2005, 01:10 PM
announced new schedule changes effective Oct. 3...
From October 3 to mid-December, the main track renewal production gang (including the Track Laying Machine which installs concrete ties and welded rail) will be working on Track #2 to rebuild the track between Paoli and Bryn Mawr. The crews will replace wooden ties with new concrete ties and lay continuous welded rail.
The project begins on Track #2 at Paoli Station and continues east toward Philadelphia - covering portions of Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties and includes communities such as Paoli, Devon, Wayne, Radnor, Villanova, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Ardmore, Merion, Overbrook, West Philadelphia and University City. Work on Track #2 to 30th Street Station will be completed in 2006, when work will begin on Track #3....
When the Keystone Corridor project is complete, scheduled for the end of 2006, Amtrak will be able to offer all-electric powered train service, with Harrisburg - Philadelphia trip times of between as little as 90 minutes (express) and 105 minutes (standard). Today, trip times range from 115 to 125 minutes. Currently, Amtrak operates diesel locomotives between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Also, train frequencies between those cities are expected to climb from the current 11 weekday round trips to 14 round trips upon completion of the project.
Ridership on the Harrisburg-Philadelphia-New York Keystone Service has continued to grow in recent months. For the first 11 months of FY '05 (beginning Oct. 1, 2004), ridership is up 17%, or 142,000 passengers, (971,000 v. 829,000 for the same period one year ago.)
Originally Posted by eldondrehttp://www.bizjournals.com/philadelp...l?surround=lfnThe Pennsylvania Department of Transportation announced the launch of a new Web site on Thursday for the Keystone Line, which runs between New York and Harrisburg by way of Philadelphia.
The Web site, www.CatchTheKeystone.com, provides schedules, ticket information, station hours and train amenities for the 12-stop rail route which provides 90-minute service between Harrisburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia and a direct connection to New York City.
Ridership along the 104-mile line has increased since $145 million in improvements two years ago, made through a joint effort of the State of Pennsylvania, Amtrak and the Federal Transit Administration. Ridership climbed from 891,764 in 2005-6 to 1,127,518 in 2007-8. Ridership this July was up 26 percent, over the same period last year.
In addition to the Web site, an advertising campaign featuring “monsters” to avoid taking the train will be rolled out to promote the use of the rail line and new Web site
http://articles.lancasteronline.com/local/4/238917But that spot, Mount Joy's train station, isn't quiet very often.
Dozens of trains come and go each week, most of them crowded with passengers. And more people are getting on and off the trains in Mount Joy.
The station is seeing its ridership totals skyrocket, and as the number of riders continues to grow, local officials like borough manager Hiester, his predecessor, Terry Kauffman, and Main Street Mount Joy manager Stacy Rutherford hope to make the station even more of a town hub.
State transportation officials have notified Mount Joy that a proposal to make the train platform handicapped-accessible has been moved forward on the state's funding schedule, and could begin this fall.
The Mount Joy station, which actually is more of a platform, is down some steps at East Henry and North Market streets, just a block off Main Street (Route 230).
The good news for Mount Joy comes as train ridership at the three main stations here, in Lancaster, Elizabethtown and Mount Joy, continues to grow.
The Lancaster Amtrak station on McGovern Avenue is the third-busiest station in the state, while Elizabethtown is the sixth-busiest and Mount Joy's is number eight, out of the 24 stations in Pennsylvania.
For the 2007-08 fiscal year, the Mount Joy station had 53,828 riders, up 17 percent from the previous year's 46,109.
The Lancaster station had 484,102 riders in 2007-08 (up 63,578. or 15 percent), while E-town had 90,644 riders, a whopping 22 percent jump).
With gas prices rising and the much-publicized economic slump on people's minds, people are riding trains more than they did a few years ago, and "PennDOT is seeing the need to do these stations sooner," as Hiester said.
Added Kauffman, former borough manager and Lancaster County commissioner, who's now the borough's special projects manager, "I don't think there's any question that our community embraces the train station."
Rutherford, who's in charge of boosting both Mount Joy's main business district and citizen awareness of the town, noted that the borough "is very fortunate to have this train station located within the downtown.
"The question is, how can we maximize this asset, and better connect the riders to what the downtown has to offer?
"Because we have some great independently-owned restaurants, and with the retail that is surrounding them, we are excited about this opportunity" with the train station, she said.
Planned projects at the other two stations, in Lancaster and E-town, have been heavily publicized in recent years.
The winning bid could be awarded soon for the project at the E-town station, with groundbreaking possible by late summer, officials have said.
Various improvements, including elevators and larger platforms, are to be completed in E-town's year-plus project.
Meanwhile, the Lancaster station is about to break ground on its $12 million upgrade, which will include a new bus terminal, extra parking spaces, new shops, air conditioning and an overall face-lift.
In Mount Joy, the renovations include making the platform compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, and are expected to be done by 2011.
The renovations call for a new 500-foot platform and a "walkover" that would allow riders to go from the parking area to a new ramp and stairs.
The final project cost is expected to be anywhere from $3 million to $3.5 million, with federal funds to cover 80 percent, the state 16 percent and Mount Joy the other 3-plus percent, or only some $68,000 from the borough's capital reserve funds.
Even before the last two years, ridership to and from the Mount Joy station had been increasing steadily for several years.
One recent report on train ridership states that "the state's investment in the (cross-Pennsylvania) Keystone Corridor is delivering strong returns for the state."
And, depending on the specific final design of their project, Mount Joy officials could still save a large amount of its final cost, officials said.
Borough officials have asked those from the county, including the county transportation authority, to help facilitate the new overall project.
Staff writer David O'Connor can be reached at doconnor@LNPnews.com or 481-6033.
LancasterOnline.com:News:Better transportation headed this wayA $12 million upgrade to the Lancaster Amtrak station is scheduled to begin next month. It will add a bus terminal, shops and air conditioning to the station.
Also on the table for the Lancaster Amtrak station is a $12 million parking structure near the station for commuter use.
Last week's approval of the federal economic stimulus package is expected to bring in $8 million for renovations to the Elizabethtown Amtrak station, including a platform.
Meanwhile, Lancaster Airport is poised to restart commercial air service after an 18-month hiatus.