• All things Harrisburg (Keystone) Line

  • 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 mtuandrew
 
Backshophoss wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:14 pm He should be jumping all over SEPTA on their lack of access and get his fellow state house critters to fork over the needed funds ASAP!
This is a pretty thinly veiled attempt to keep more money in Pennsylvania, and also to force SEPTA to maintain much more track with the same budget.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
mtuandrew wrote: Tue Oct 20, 2020 7:02 pm This is a pretty thinly veiled attempt to keep more money in Pennsylvania, and also to force SEPTA
to maintain much more track with the same budget.
I know about ACT 44, the transportation funding program that uses PA Turnpike funds to subsidize transit, but
SEPTA lacks a dedicating funding source, like the MTA regional tax in NY for the metropolitan region. Perhaps a
small gas tax in the SEPTA region (5-10 cents per gallon) seems modest. And would Lancaster County have
interest in being a member of SEPTA? This reminds much like of the Rockland/Orange counties' debate of
whether to withdraw from MTA.
  by Suburban Station
 
There's no doubt amtrak could be better but there's no evidence that smucker has a concrete proposal to Improve the line. Leslie Richard's was a do nothing in her tenure at penndot. Id question where smuckers 100 million per year number comes from because the keystone doesn't lose anywhere near that number and septa doesn't pay that to amtrak even including the nec. History says if he is successful we willcl.e back in ten years and find that the cost savings came atthe expense of 110 mph trains. What money there is will go to Thorndale east while rhe Reston the line falls into disrepair. Penndot once had responsibility for funding service to Allentown and Bethlehem and we see what happened there. Njt took over the Atlantic city line and prompy downgraded track class, the ct owned New haven in is 60 mph hour.
  by daybeers
 
I agree with Suburban, there's no clear plan and I'm afraid it's being framed as "Amtrak is charging too much and not maintaining it well so we need to manage it" and will become under the management of PennDOT with no increase in funding, so infrastructure will decrease in quality. I think the Keystone Line partnership is a success story, but you wouldn't know it from Smucker's statements.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
There is still a lot of wooden ties along the Keystone Corridor, even though the days of jointed rail are long gone. The stretch from Philadelphia to Parkesburg should be improved. I look forward to the high level platforms being built at Ardmore Station. It would also be nice if more Septa stations were high level platform on the Keystone Corridor. Downingtown should have been years ago and I know in the past PennDot has talked about relocating that station to an area where a high level platform could be built.
  by rcthompson04
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:00 pm There is still a lot of wooden ties along the Keystone Corridor, even though the days of jointed rail are long gone. The stretch from Philadelphia to Parkesburg should be improved. I look forward to the high level platforms being built at Ardmore Station. It would also be nice if more Septa stations were high level platform on the Keystone Corridor. Downingtown should have been years ago and I know in the past PennDot has talked about relocating that station to an area where a high level platform could be built.
The wooden ties are the section from Paoli to Parkesburg that PennDOT/SEPTA didn’t want to fund upgrades too.
  by mtuandrew
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:13 pmThe wooden ties are the section from Paoli to Parkesburg that PennDOT/SEPTA didn’t want to fund upgrades too.
Wooden ties aren’t inherently bad. They’re more resilient and absorb vibration better than concrete, especially if using tie clips, and can support 125 mph traffic if well-maintained. However, they have a considerably shorter life than concrete ties, and don’t hold gauge quite as well.

Reading between the lines though, I think this is where Smucker is balking. Amtrak owns and (as far as I know) plans to keep the Keystone Corridor, and I could see how it would gall a state rep to commit state funds to Federal property. I don’t think Rep. Smucker would vote to fund that set of improvements though; I’m sure he has some idea that through self-ownership Pennsylvania could lower maintenance & trackage fees, thus allowing the Commonwealth to lower taxes on (wealthy non-transit-using) citizens. :wink:
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
By that logic, does ConnDOT save costs with MNCR contracted to maintenance of its share of the corridor?
  by mtuandrew
 
R36 Combine Coach wrote: Fri Oct 23, 2020 2:11 pm By that logic, does ConnDOT save costs with MNCR contracted to maintenance of its share of the corridor?
I couldn’t tell you - we’ve never had a time where CDOT performed its own maintenance on that segment of the NEC. They’ve always contracted maintenance out to the operator since owning the line.

But perception is powerful.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I may have missed it, but has anyone mentioned....

GASP

Private operation?

CtDOT contracts out CTRail.

Or you could hire Brightline.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:29 pm I may have missed it, but has anyone mentioned....

GASP

Private operation?

CtDOT contracts out CTRail.

Or you could hire Brightline.
Or... hear me out here... I hear that MARC uses a well-known company. How about... Bombardier? ;)
  by Pensyfan19
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:29 pm I may have missed it, but has anyone mentioned....

GASP

Private operation?

CtDOT contracts out CTRail.

Or you could hire Brightline.
Pensyfan has been S U M M O N E D !

I always thought of some of the major rail corridors, such as the Keystone, Empire and Midwest corridors, being very successful if given to a private operator such as brightline since those regions are perfect for rail travel; too short to fly, too long to drive. There's a private company known as AmeriStarRail which was discussed about a month ago who proposes to take over NEC operations if anyone's interested.
  by Suburban Station
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:29 pm I may have missed it, but has anyone mentioned....

GASP

Private operation?

CtDOT contracts out CTRail.

Or you could hire Brightline.
Based on the politics involved it would seem they have SEPTA in mind rather than a capable private operator. Keep in mind this is infrastructure and not the train operation, the Springfield Line is owned and managed by Amtrak. Brightline no longer owns infrastructure either. If they were to bring in an outside company like sncf that would be interesting but putting SEPTA in charge would likely render the longer distances much less competitive. SEPTA keeps expenses down largely by keeping the service undesirable and unreliable. In all my years of riding Amtrak I have never had a train cancelled due to the train crew calling out sick yet that is routine on SEPTA. It's possible that the goal here is really just MBTA but there is a lack of vision and transparency here, not surprising to this Pennsylvanian.
  by scratchyX1
 
Suburban Station wrote: Thu Nov 05, 2020 9:43 am
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Nov 04, 2020 4:29 pm I may have missed it, but has anyone mentioned....

GASP

Private operation?

CtDOT contracts out CTRail.

Or you could hire Brightline.
Based on the politics involved it would seem they have SEPTA in mind rather than a capable private operator. Keep in mind this is infrastructure and not the train operation, the Springfield Line is owned and managed by Amtrak. Brightline no longer owns infrastructure either. If they were to bring in an outside company like sncf that would be interesting but putting SEPTA in charge would likely render the longer distances much less competitive. SEPTA keeps expenses down largely by keeping the service undesirable and unreliable. In all my years of riding Amtrak I have never had a train cancelled due to the train crew calling out sick yet that is routine on SEPTA. It's possible that the goal here is really just MBTA but there is a lack of vision and transparency here, not surprising to this Pennsylvanian.
SEPTA is suffering from mission creep. It should be offering S Bhan like rapid transit service for the region.
Unless the counties that the harrisburg line goes through pitch in, it's not worth the reduction in funds just to give "local control" to the line. Plus, There isn't enough push pull rolling stock for maintaining service levels.
That said, what's the latest with the phoenixville service, possibly with dual modes? That could be service to contract out to non SEPTA.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Thu Nov 05, 2020 4:32 pm Unless the counties that the Harrisburg line goes through pitch in, it's not worth the reduction in
funds just to give "local control" to the line.
Two of the counties on the line, Dauphin and Lancaster are not SEPTA members, however have their own
transit agencies: Capital Area Transit (CAT) and South Central Transit Authority (SCTA).
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