• 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 rcthompson04
 
west point wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:13 pm 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 ?
Pittsburgh Union Station is PGH. Pittsburgh Grant Street is PGB and it’s the bus station.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
West point, that plan isn’t very easy to do. A few critical reasons for that-being that Northeast Regionals don’t arrive and depart on the same tracks at PHL as Keystone trains and the Pennsylvanian, it would involve having to have the cars moved to the tracks that the Keystones and Pennsylvanian depart from at PHL. If they just sit on those tracks that they arrived on on the NER, that could affect other trains as well running up and down the NEC. The other barrier is that if the NER train that is carrying the coaches into and out of PHL for the Pennsylvanian passengers is running late, that could affect the times the Pennsylvanian arrives and departs PHL.

If it’s going to be very difficult to implement new time slots for these trains into and out of NYP, then my suggestion is just start it in PHL. There is more track space there. Plus passengers coming from NYP and other stations on the NEC can connect at PHL. Yes people will probably have to walk upstairs and then head downstairs again.
  by STrRedWolf
 
west point wrote: Sun Sep 12, 2021 9:13 pm 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 ?
It would still be more work... but how about not NYP. How about... WAS? Yes, another concept I pushed out years back on this thread. Plus, I doubt NEC service in the Washington area isn't as busy as New York/New Jersey, since you're dealing with MARC traffic.
  by KTHW
 
Others can speak to the exact capacity of the southern part of the NEC, but there are a lot more 2 or 3 track segments through there. While MARC may not match NJT frequencies, I’m under the impression that the capacity is pretty maxed out between Baltimore and DC.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Okay, to further push my point of starting at Washington, I checked slot usage for Washington and New York/New Jersey trains. I checked at WAS, PHL, and Secaucus Junction for slot usage by MARC (Penn Line), SEPTA on Wilmington and Paoli lines, and several NJ Transit lines (3 lines were exempt).

Going from DC to Harrisburg (WAS to HAR), you deal with up to 3 MARC trains an hour, then possibly 3 SEPTA trains on two different lines per hour, maximum. You also have to contend with the Keystones, which are 2 slots on top of that.

Going from NYC to Harrisburg, you got 15 slots per hour just for NJ Transit trains *alone*, then another 2 for those Keystone. Add the 2 slots for the SEPTA Trenton line, plus an extra for when the Paoli line takes over... Ooooh boy. 19 slots.

19 vs 3.

I think WAS has more slot space. Plus, I think there's value in a one-seat ride from WAS to PGH... but then, I'd love a one-seat ride from BWI airport.
  by NotYou
 
Wouldn't DC -> HBG be quicker via the port road? My understanding is most freight on the port road runs at night. Whenever I have been hiking or around the lower Susquehanna during the day I rarely see trains on the port road.
  by ExCon90
 
Skipping Philadelphia, Paoli, and Lancaster would probably not be acceptable to PennDOT.
  by rcthompson04
 
ExCon90 wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 8:31 pm Skipping Philadelphia, Paoli, and Lancaster would probably not be acceptable to PennDOT.
Skipping Philadelphia and Lancaster skips two of the three most common destinations from PGH. What is the point of running such a train then?
  by MattW
 
Would WAS-HAR even make sense? Right now drive time is only a little over two hours per Google Maps. Sure, DC traffic is horrible ( and I'm being charitable), but with a Regional taking about 2 hours to PHL and the Keystones taking 1:45-2 hours to Harrisburg, would there be a market? If you could run passenger train speeds via the Port Road, then maybe it would work, but if someone is comparing trips and they plug Washington to Harrisburg into Google and get 2 hours vs 4 hours on Amtrak, are they even going to consider Amtrak?
  by RRspatch
 
A few things come to mind in this discussion about a second train to Pittsburgh.

1) Starting the train out of Philadelphia would work as there's a yard at 30th street. The only problem is there's no commissary there. Amtrak closed the commissary many years ago. Old farts like me will remember the Philadelphia to Boston "Ben Franklin" train. Amtrak discontinued that train just so they could close the commissary there. Nothing that currently originates out of Philadelphia offers food service. I seriously doubt the proposed Reading service would offer cafe service nor would Amtrak reopen the commissary for this one train originating out of Philadelphia.

2) There is more freight service on the south-end of the corridor than there used to be. Perhaps because of reduced Amtrak service during the pandemic NS decided to run more trains during the daylight hours between Perryville and Bayview to the south and between Perryville and Davis (Newark) to the north. The Port Road is not unused during the day as it currently stands. You should also know the catenary on the Port Road was pulled down by Conrail in 1985. A train out of DC would have to use a diesel the entire way. Could a P42 make it from DC to Pittsburgh on one tank? Of course this is probably doesn't matter as PennDot probably wouldn't want the train missing Philadelphia and Lancaster.

As for the schedule, have the first eastbound train depart Pittsburgh at 0800 (30 minutes more padding for the Capital Limited connection) and the second train depart at 1330. Westbound have the first train depart New York at 0705 and the second train at 1250. The second westbound train would arrive around 2200 which gives an almost two hour connection to the Capital Limited.
  by jp1822
 
I'd do a schedule similar to what was in place for the Three Rivers and Pennsylvanian in the early part of the 21st Century - from each city there needs to be an early morning departing train and an early afternoon departing train:

Eastbound:

- Three Rivers used to Leave Pittsburgh at 8:00 am (or 8:30 am) and arrive into NYP early evening.
- Pennsylvanian on Sundays would leave Pittsburgh at 1:30 pm and arrive into NYP by around 10 pm.

Westbound:

- Pennsylvanian used to leave NYP early morning (extension of a former NYP to Harrisburg Keystone train) and arrive into Pittsburgh late afternoon (at one time out of Philly in the 6 am hour and arrival into Pittsburgh by 2:30 pm)
- Three Rivers would leave early afternoon and arrive into Pittsburgh in the evening. I'd stick it on the same schedule as the Eastbound Pennsylvanian (but just reverse it).

The Pennsylvanian currently leaves mid-morning so it can capture through traffic from New England and upstate NY (e.g. Boston, Albany). Supposedly there's been a relatively good amount of throughput over the years with said traffic. But with two frequencies, they can take the afternoon train.

Gunn tried to negotiate the preservation of a second "west of Harrisburg train" when the Three Rivers was to come off, and they got close to an agreement, but it wasn't meant to be. PennDOT also had enough on their hands in trying to convince Amtrak that they deserve some sort of "credit" for the through traffic that came off of the Capitol Limited......Don't get me wrong though - Gunn was ultimately responsible for pulling the plug on the Three Rivers west of Pittsburgh. Recall that the line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh was designated as a high speed passenger line - course it went from having a potential of three round trip trains on it at one time (Skyline Connection, Three Rivers/Broadway Limited, Pennsylvanian, National Limited in the 70s), down to just ONE now. A bit hard to believe....
  by STrRedWolf
 
NotYou wrote: Mon Sep 13, 2021 7:49 pm Wouldn't DC -> HBG be quicker via the port road? My understanding is most freight on the port road runs at night. Whenever I have been hiking or around the lower Susquehanna during the day I rarely see trains on the port road.
RRspatch has a few good points.

1. From the heart of Reading to 30th street is about 60-65 miles, depending on how tight you draw the measurement line in Google Maps (I assumed a crossover from the Norrstown line to the Chestnut Hill West line at North Philly to access the lower part of 30th Street). That's... 1h to 1h30m train travel time assuming highway speeds. That definitely makes it not likely for Amtrak to reopen the commissary.

2. I asked about the Port Road already... and it turns out the Port Road is more twistier and slower than possible. It would be quicker to go up to 30th street and then over.

Also, a P42DC has a 2200 US gallon diesel tank, and takes 2.2 gallons to haul a mile. So they have a 1000 mile range. Between PGH and PHL is... according to the 2018 time table, 353 miles. Huh, guess there's more economic benefit to go electric while on the NEC, so you might as well stop at PHL and swap engines.

3. As for the schedule... well, the Pennsy is 7:30a PGH end at 4:50p NYP. The reverse is 10:52a NYP to 8:04p PGH.

If we create the WAS-PGH train, we can leave PGH at 12:15p and make WAS by 10:00p. If I do a 8a WAS run, it'll get to PGH around 5:40pm.

... Which... I doubt that would work nicely. One of the ideas that was pushed through the press years back was to be able to have a train that you didn't need to overnight in Pittsburgh for. You would overnight on the train into Pittsburgh, have most of the day to do what you needed to do, then overnight back. When I first did this, I set up a spreadsheet of times, and found an 8:30pm or so train from both WAS and PGH would work out (giving about 9 hours to sleep end-to-end).
  by PHLSpecial
 
Hey, I'm not sure if this has been purposed before but how about a Pennsylvanian that originates from PHL and goes to PIT. I don't know if you can schedule in such a way that passengers when transferring through PHL would only have to wait 30 minutes max. They would be able to get on train that goes to NY or DC via the northeast regional or keystone.

Also would be nice to have a cafe for Keystone, Pennsylvanian, and Reading services.
  by rcthompson04
 
PHLSpecial wrote: Tue Sep 14, 2021 9:27 am Also would be nice to have a cafe for Keystone, Pennsylvanian, and Reading services.
The Pennsylvanian has a cafe. The Keystones do not because PennDOT isn't willing to pay for it. I agree with that call based on the Keystone being a glorified commuter train.
  by west point
 
About PHL 30th st. Aren't all station tracks accessible from both the Trenton and Harrisburg tracks ?
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