• All things Pennsylvanian AND Keystone West

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by gokeefe
 
ThirdRail7 wrote: Thu Nov 28, 2019 4:13 pmThings of interest include the mammoth 133, the biggest train of the program.
11 cars ... Biggest Northeast Regional of the whole year?
  by ThirdRail7
 
gokeefe wrote: Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:25 pm
11 cars ... Biggest Northeast Regional of the whole year?
No, of the NEC Thanksgiving program.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Amtrak Chief on board for 2nd Pittsburgh/Harrisburg train (Pittsburgh Tribune)
Amtrak remains committed to adding a second daily train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, with stops in Greensburg, Latrobe and Johnstown, the president of the passenger rail service said.

Making that expanded service a reality, however, depends on negotiations with Norfolk Southern and securing state and federal money.

Stephen Gardner, president of Amtrak, did not offer an estimated timetable for adding to the existing Pennsylvanian train that leaves Pittsburgh for Harrisburg at 7 a.m. and returns about 8 p.m.

“We’re working with (Norfolk Southern) on what is necessary for the service,” Gardner said Friday during a briefing with Gov. Tom Wolf and representatives from the Scranton area who are seeking new rail service to New York City from Scranton, Reading and Allentown. Norfolk Southern owns the track.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
This is a start but it's better to extend this train to at least Philadelphia. Much of the revenue is being generated for people who board at Philadelphia and other stations along the Keystone Corridor.
  by rcthompson04
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 7:36 am This is a start but it's better to extend this train to at least Philadelphia. Much of the revenue is being generated for people who board at Philadelphia and other stations along the Keystone Corridor.
Isn’t the proposals really just an extension of one of the existing Keystones each way?
  by electricron
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:06 pm Isn’t the proposals really just an extension of one of the existing Keystones each way?
Difficult to say if it is or isn’t an extension without a proposed schedule for the new train service.

NYC to Harrisburg takes 3.3 hours as is, Harrisburg to Pittsburgh takes 5.3 hours as is. Any extension of an existing Keystone train would require at least doubling the Harrisburg to Pittsburgh time (10.6 hours) onto the existing layover in Harrisburg for any existing Keystone train. I doubt that is remotely possible short of rescheduling every Keystone train.

Why am I the only commenter who brings up time and distance realities on these passenger rail expansions? There is a difference between the dream world and the real world. Time and distance can not be avoided in the real world.

The existing Pennsylvania train leaves NYC at 10:52 am and arrives in Pittsburgh at 7:59 pm, taking 9.1 hours to travel that far.
The existing Pennsylvania train leaves Pittsburgh at 7:30 am and arrives in NYC at 4:50 pm, taking 9.3 hours to travel that far.
The existing service requires two train sets to do. An additional train service over the same route would also require an additional two train sets.
The additional train sets would have to depart and arrive at the same stations about the same time the existing trains leave from the opposite direction, either 3 hours earlier or later than the existing train.

The question that needs to be asked and answered is will doubling the frequency of the trains doubling their operating costs actually induce a doubling of the ridership? Well? :( ?
  by STrRedWolf
 
There's already been demand for some extra service in the area, as evidenced earlier in this thread. I even did two scenarios: a few test timings where I extended three Keystones to Pittsburgh and also added a fourth, and a DC to Pittsburgh via Philly sleeper car.... four years ago, in fact. I still have the spreadsheets.

It comes down to what NS wants in return. Right now, the current infrastructure can support the Pennsy terminating at Pittsburgh and the Capitol Limited stopping there at night and early in the morning. There is also room for another Pennsy to station there. But down the line between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, the stations are one track access only.

It's very likely NS will want some cash to add track and let there be two-track access.

Taking a fresh look, here's what I'm seeing:
  • Pittsburgh: Add a second bypass track for freight. Shift track around where the CSX P & W Subdivision crosses the NS Pittsburgh line so that a tunnel can be placed for the Capitol Limited can get at the P & W.
  • Greensburg: Get a tunnel or something so both platforms can be used, and the station can be accessed on both sides. (If rebuilt, pocket track)
  • Latrobe: Flag stop, but it's already 3 tracked and it gets a lot of people on it. Tie back into the third track in two spots and make a pocket track for the second platform.
  • Johnstown: You got the tracks, you just need to tie 'em in properly around the station. Put in those interlocks on ether side of the station, or rebuild the station platform southeast of the existing one to allow for two-track operation.
  • Altoona: You got room for a center platform. Plunk one there, add the bridge, and call it done. Extra gravy? Sure, add two interlocks around the station so freight can get into the yard.
  • Tyrone: Flag stop, and I've only had this stop once in my travels. Ignore it.
  • Huntingdon: Pocket track. Nothing else you can do without rebuilding an entire road and bridge.
  • Lewistown: This station is right on the *!)@#( interlock for a short-line railroad. My gut reaction is to move the entire station... but given how close it is to town center... Okay, try this. Lay a third track to the north of the exiting two. Remove the Interlock that's there and put two on ether side. Shift a track over and make an island platform with a pedestrian bridge to get to it.
  by Arborwayfan
 
I would think that doubling the Philly-Pittsburg service would more than double the ridership. A second RT could make the whole route a lot more flexible for passengers. The trains don't need to be three hours apart. They can be seven hours apart, enough that they would really be different schedules for different needs and attract different people (or the same people on more days), not just split the current passengers. There aren't x people who want to take the train from Pittsburgh to Philly or between intermediates because they want to ride the train, and who currently arrange their schedules to fit the one available pair of trains. There are x times fifty or a hundred or a hundred fifty people (IDK the exact Amtrak market share) who want to travel between those places at particular times on particular days, and x people whose travel needs fit the train schedules and who are willing to take the train if it fits their plans. Two new trains would make the train fit twice as many people's travel plans on any given day.

Using 24 hour time to be sure I get the calculations right:

The Pennsylvanian now leaves Pittsburgh at 7:30 and arrives Philly at 14:59 (2:59 --ish, of course). Have the other train leave Pittsburgh around 14:00 (2:30 pm) and arrive Philly around 22:00 (10 pm).

In the other direction, have the new train leave Philly around 7:30 am and get in around 15:00 (3 pm). Push that later westbound train a bit later, to leave Philly at 2:30 and arrive in Pittsburgh around 10.

Ignore NYC for now; NEC has trains for passengers going east of Philly even after 10 pm. The reverse move in Philly takes time and reduces the advantage of the one-seat ride. Just work out a same-platform transfer and have the train turn in Philly if that reduces costs, improves OTP, lets Amtrak run another train from DC to NY, or whatever.

This schedule would allow someone to leave either endpoint city after a full morning (and early afternoon) and still arrive at the other endpoint in time for bed. It would also allow someone to leave either endpoint city early in the morning and arrive with time to do something (meeting? Museum? Whatever.) before dinner. It would have a similar effect on trips between intermediates. I would think that yes, that would at least double the ridership, and probably more. As a kind of bonus, it would shorten the layover for passengers connecting to the Capitol Limited, but still allow 2 hours for the situation in which the Pennsylvania train was very late and the Capitol Limited was on time, making a train trip from, say, Johnstown to South Bend a little more attractive, as a bonus.



Is all that worth the capital improvements that NS would need? I don't know. But the time and distance look pretty promising to me.
  by rcthompson04
 
My theory is that the second train would be a Philadelphia to Pittsburgh round trip with the Philadelphia departure being morning rush hour, which pre-pandemic was around when a Keystone originated in Philadelphia (730 to 8 am approximately).

Corresponding would be a eastbound departure from Pittsburgh around 1pm that would arrive in Harrisburg to be the Keystone that used to depart Harrisburg heading east around 630pm. This train could continue to NYP.
  by electricron
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 6:06 pm My theory is that the second train would be a Philadelphia to Pittsburgh round trip with the Philadelphia departure being morning rush hour, which pre-pandemic was around when a Keystone originated in Philadelphia (730 to 8 am approximately).

Corresponding would be a eastbound departure from Pittsburgh around 1pm that would arrive in Harrisburg to be the Keystone that used to depart Harrisburg heading east around 630pm. This train could continue to NYP.
Remember it takes Amtrak 5.3 hours to travel between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Dropping the 3.3 hours it takes a Keystone train to travel between New York City and Harrisburg for the now proposed 1.8 hours to travel between Philadelphia and Harrisburg will change the time and distance calculations I made earlier.
But the Keystone extension round trip between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh is still 10.6 hours.
The train leaving Philadelphia around 8 am will arrive in Pittsburgh 7.1 hours later, around 3 pm. If that train "immediately" turned around, it would arrive back in Philadelphia 7.1 hours later, around 10 pm and arrive in New York City around 11:30 pm. If there were delays in either direction, say a half hour in both directions, the train would finish the round trip in Philadelphia around 11 pm, and arrive in New York City around 1230 am. 11:30 pm is 1.5 hours later than my original proposal for scheduling. Everything will have to work perfectly everyday to meet your schedule - once in a blue moon probability in the real world.
But that train that initially left Philadelphia around 8 am arrived in Harrisburg around 10 am. Does it layover in Harrisburg for 10.6 hours now, or is it used for a Keystone train heading back to Philadelphia and New York City before 8 pm. If so, another train set will need to be stabled in Harrisburg to make that earlier Keystone train even possible. So time and distance difficulties arise, more train sets will be needed with their own operating and maintenance costs. Trains do not spring up out of nowhere magically in the real world. I repeat, a train heading west from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh can not be available to head east from Harrisburg for more than 10.5 hours later.
Per Amtrak's web site, here are the scheduled trains from Harrisburg to Philadelphia:
640 Keystone departs 5:00 am
642 Keystone departs 5:55 am
600 Keystone departs 6:40 am
?646 Keystone departs 8:59 am
650 Keystone departs 12:05 pm
42 Pennsylvanian departs 1:00 pm
652 Keystone departs 3:05 pm
654 Keystone departs 4:30 pm
620 Keystone departs 8:30 pm
622 Keystone departs 9:15 pm
Underlined trains are those leaving Harrisburg towards Philadelphia after an early morning trains arrival in Harrisburg from Philadelphia, that could use that train set but can not anymore because that earlier train is no longer in Harrisburg but on its way to Pittsburgh.
Last edited by electricron on Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  by Arborwayfan
 
Electricron, your math is convincing. I don't think either of us was disputing that there'd have to be another train set in there.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
I have a feeling that the brand new westbound would depart PHL sometime during the am rush hour-probably as it's finishing up, especially if it starts out at NYP. In pre pandemic times, there was a Harrisburg bound Keystone that arrived into NWK right at the height of the rush hour-like the 7:20 range. That trip also ran on weekends, I think, pre-pandemic. If the new roundtrip gets approved and it starts out at NYP, I could see it departing a little after 7:00 am and it would arrive into PGH about 3:00 pm. Something tells me that the rotations of the equipment assignments could change if a 2nd roundtrip from NYP-PGH happens. That brand new train would probably become the first PGH-NYP Pennsylvanian of the day the next day. The current Train # 43 would become the 2nd PGH-NYP trip of the next day.
  by rcthompson04
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Sat Sep 11, 2021 10:58 pm Electricron, your math is convincing. I don't think either of us was disputing that there'd have to be another train set in there.
Without a doubt you need 4 sets at least.
  by west point
 
It might be impossible to get another morning slot out of NYP. instead attach the 2nd train onto the rear of Regional 183 -- 0705 departure arrive PHL 0829 ( maybe 0835) Easy drop at PHL and leave PHL at 0855 --- HAR - 1110 -- Pitt at ?
For some reason at 2210 Amtrak reservations does not show Pennsylvanian operating HAR = PSG ?
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