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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » Redux - "West Penn" Service

   
Author Topic: Redux - "West Penn" Service
Gilbert B Norman
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At an otherwise unrelated topic, Mr. Graynt notes:

quote:
I am always amazed that East of Harrisburg toward Philly there are twelve or more trains a day. West of Harrisburg toward Pittsburgh there is only one train..the Pennsylvanian. It would really be nice to get additional service.
While this topic has been addressed in the past, it is worthy of a redux in view of that Pennsylvania is clearly a "pro rail' State that operates the second largest locally funded intercity passenger rail system "out there', and that there is an Obama administration to which the phrase "pro-Amtrak" may have some degree of applicability.

First, restoration of a second frequency Harrisburg-Pittsburgh would be locally funded, as I do not foresee any routes or frequency additions/restorations being Federally funded. This is a doctrine that the Bush administration set in place, and it does not appear that there is any initiative in place to overturn such. Because any such additional "West Penn" service would be locally funded, the train would serve 30th Street (PHL) and would not be routed via the "Subway". Hopefully, there would be an adjustment of schedules with the Westward Pennsylvanian taking that of PRR #25, The Duquesne, with a roundly 9A PHL departure. The Three Rivers PGH arrival would be better coordinated with the Capitol Limited's schedule, but, even though others here will, I am not proposing any interchange of through cars. Eastward, The Pennsylvanian would keep its existing Weekday schedule and the Three Rivers would take the former's Weekend schedule. Consists? no change now that A-II's are included for the "longs'.

But again we must note the "political negatives' in that while Pittsburgh has successfully transformed itself, unlike Detroit, from a rust belt industrial city to one of "intellectual pursuits", it still has a declining population base. Further, where is the State's political power base? I'm afraid it is all within "East Penn" (the "Susie" being the boundary), and to which it best be said, "they got the power so they get the trains".

Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
delvyrails
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GBN's vision from t'other side of Lake Michigan is correct. To all too many minds here in SEPTAland, NEC is all there is; and beyond the "Susie" begins the Rust Belt and Flyover America.

If I had anything to say about it (and I don't), any train that goes west to Pittsburgh would not stop there; it would continue on to important places to which people would like to travel.

I have already proposed a Palmetto-like all-day train to Southeast Michigan in addition to the obvious later schedule to Chicago either on its own or hitch-hiking on the Capitol Limited.

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John Pawson

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irishchieftain
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quote:
we must note the "political negatives' in that while Pittsburgh has successfully transformed itself, unlike Detroit, from a rust belt industrial city to one of "intellectual pursuits", it still has a declining population base. Further, where is the State's political power base? I'm afraid it is all within "East Penn" (the "Susie" being the boundary), and to which it best be said, "they got the power so they get the trains"
That's not quite accurate, especially when it comes to Amtrak (Harrisburg is not Washington DC).

And PIT (airport) still serves about 8 million pax a year; LBE is another story, and perhaps it's more of a drain on the economy than a few extra trains to (or through) Pittsburgh Penn Station.

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sojourner
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I thought I heard there WAS going to be a second train between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh (extending another of the Harrisburg trains) in the near future.
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delvyrails
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Just a study, sojouner.

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John Pawson

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Gilbert B Norman
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I'm very sorry to have learned from reviewing material at another site that John R. Pawson, aka delvyrails, passed away February 2.
Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Thank you for letting us know, Mr. Norman.
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notelvis
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Always saddened by the news of someones' passing.

I've lost several old friends and colleagues within the past 12 months and must admit that we've reached the point where people who are my contemporaries do sometimes pass prematurely and unexpectedly.

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David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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George Harris
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I also sya thank you to Mr. Norman for this information. Quite a few of us have reached the point that we are almost afraid to ask about someone we have not seen for a few years.

I am fast approaching my 50th high school reunion, and just found out that right at 10% of the class is already gone. And, since that 10% is all male, it represents nearly 1/4 of the males in the class.

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bill613a
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Probably the only way a second Pittsburgh train would run is if the LAKESHORE LIMITED split at either Cleveland or Toledo with the NY section running via Pittsburgh. This idea was floated at the Amtrak open forum in Chicago in March (?) 2010 and generated considerable buzz at the time but seems to have lost steam as it wasn't even mentioned in the recent PRIIA FY 2011 report on ways of improving the LSL.

For this proposal to be practical the CAPITOL LIMITED would have to have its eastbound schedule radically altered and the PENNSYLVANIAN coneection would have to be overnite between Pittsburgh and NY. In a nutshell easbound the CL would depart Chicago at 1PM with an 8-10AM arrival in NYC and DC with the LSL departing Chicago at 6PM arriving in Pittsburgh at a time to pick up the schedule of the PENNSYLVANIAN. Westbound the CL with its NYC connection would run slightly later from its present schedule and the LSL would depart from NYC at 3-4PM with arrival in Chicago between 11AM-Noon. Operationally for the LSL the nuts and bolts of whether to operate it combined between Chicago and Toledo and switched out there or to operate the two sections nose to tail and separted in Cleveland or Toledo would have to be hashed out. Needless to say some tweaking would be needed but two solid East Coast-Midwest services could be had using the equipment now running.

In a perfect world if Amtrak and the Pennsylvania DOT extended one of the Harrisburg trains much of this shuffling wouldn't be necessary but I don't see that happening.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Bill, I respect that you would like to see the "two a day" that presently serve Cleveland operate at more attractive "people hours" (hey, when I went out to Cleveland for a Cleveland Orchestra performance last week, using Amtrak was "not even on the radar screen"). Your proposal, apparently floated at an advocates meeting, would certainly accomplish that objective.

BUT

The late #30, Cap, CHI departure is set to capture all the Western connections and #48, Lake Shore (LSL), is set to capture the delayed Western connections. Prior to resetting the LSL to its late departure, there was #40, Three Rivers, on the "clean up' schedule. To not have a "clean up" exposes Amtrak to costly misconnect costs, and even if inconvenient for those traveling within the LSL's market, it would be imprudent to not have the "clean up' schedule.

Now one idea I have not seen floated would to have #30, Cap, be the clean up train, or otherwise playing B&O "Shenandoah". Presently, the equipment from inbound #30 does not turn until #29 next day, so three sets are assigned as is. Additionally, the 30-WAS-91 connection is presently "illegal", so nothing would be lost from a, say, 5PM WAS arrival. The existing 30-WAS-19 and 30-WAS-97 connections would still be good. Connections to Corridor points as far as NYP would also be "good".

However, back to a second PGH-NYP frequency; it is only going to happen if there is Local funding in the play - and as the originating post suggests, "West Penn" is the stepchild of Pennsylvania's political environment (a President Santorum? Yes from "West Penn", but when has he ever been a friend of ANY Amtrak?).

Posts: 9390 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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