Additional Service from New York/Philadelphia to Pennsylvania

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jis

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Apparently Pennsylvania and Norfolk Southern are close to coming to an agreement on the second New York - Pittsburgh train.

https://www.wesa.fm/development-tra...mtrak-train-between-pittsburgh-and-harrisburg
https://www.trains.com/trn/news-rev...ement-for-second-pittsburgh-harrisburg-train/
Full agreement on how much it will cost is yet to be completed, but for a change the two parties appear to at least be in the same ballpark even if one is on the diamond and the other in the bleachers.

At present there is no equipment allocation for this over the next few years, but that could of course change easily with adequate funding, to scrounge together a second consist out of stuff getting released from the Midwest over the next few years. They may also be able to simply rearrange things in the Keystone equipment pool to get a consist, but it would seem a bit odd to have a train with such a long running time without any food service. Pennsylvania has funding for this service in the fiscal year '23-'24.

I wonder what it will be called. Pre Amtrak the NY Pittsburgh trains was called Duquesne AFAIR. In the Amtrak era there was a Pittsburgh - Altoona train for a brief period called the Fort Pitt.
 
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Wow. $171 million of public money for improvements to the NS mainline to add one round trip, and it could take five years to do so. Conrail hosted Amtrak's Broadway and Pennsylvanian until 1995 with the same number of tracks, with probably more freight traffic. I'm sure NS jumped at the chance for free money to improve its line. That way it can keep spending its own money on stock buybacks and exec bonuses.
 
It would be much better for the network to have this second frequency run from Philadelphia-Pittsburgh-Cleveland instead. There are already plenty of connections in Philadelphia for New York passengers. Of course that won't happen because Ohio's state government won't contribute anything.
 
Is this just going to be Pittsburgh-Harrisburg or Pittsburgh-Philadelphia/NYC?
That is yet to be determined. The timings mentioned at Harrisburg allow it to be either Philadelphia or New York as the eastern end. I do not think its eastern terminus will be Harrisburg. That makes little sense and it will only be marginally more successful than the Fort Pitt, which is not saying much, if they do that.
 
As I usually say, it's fine for the government to put $171 million into the line, but the government has to come out of it with ownership of any new construction. That's how you avoid getting cheated by the private railroads.
 
Wow. $171 million of public money for improvements to the NS mainline to add one round trip, and it could take five years to do so. Conrail hosted Amtrak's Broadway and Pennsylvanian until 1995 with the same number of tracks, with probably more freight traffic. I'm sure NS jumped at the chance for free money to improve its line. That way it can keep spending its own money on stock buybacks and exec bonuses.

I heartily wecome a second trip for Pittsburgh to the east and eagerly await its introduction, but for the life of me I cannot imagine that it requires $171 million of capital infrastructure to get it done. I agree this is likely more the result of NS holding the service hostage in order to get free money from the government for its own selfish ends.
 
I agree that's a lot of money if there are no other benefits, but sometimes there are things included besides just adding a passenger train. That might include improvements that have a local benefit (noise reduction, better access for an industry, grade crossing safety, etc.). Or it might be strategic to keep that as a main line versus other east-west routes.

Those are all things that interest state governments and could be rolled into a project.
 
As I usually say, it's fine for the government to put $171 million into the line, but the government has to come out of it with ownership of any new construction. That's how you avoid getting cheated by the private railroads.
Agree, that has also been my feeble contentions as well. That also saves any additional property tax increases. That is the beauty of the VA proposals for various projects. Mow if the RR wants to maintain owership then it has to maintain the tracks to highest class probably class 5 or 6.
 
Funny how all these expensive improvements to accommodate a second frequency are needed now, when that route had a second frequency for two-thirds of the time Amtrak has been in existence.
Yeah, but that was when Conrail owned the tracks. Norfolk Southern must have really let them go to seed, considering all those derailments they have (one of which ruined a trip of mine.)
 
Yeah, but that was when Conrail owned the tracks. Norfolk Southern must have really let them go to seed, considering all those derailments they have (one of which ruined a trip of mine.)
That is also after dismantling significant parts of it too. Actually Conrail did quite a bit of the dismantling themselves. But it continued under NS as the railroads put their grand plan of shrinking to prosperity while commanding an ever shrinking proportion of the total market segment in place.
 
Something I've always wanted to see studied in the state of Pennsylvania is running up the old Reading/Central Railroad of New Jersey from Harrisburg to New York via Allentown and Bethlehem. Could throw the second Pennsylvanian on that along with a few Keystones. I know I'm dreaming but still a good route.
 
Something I've always wanted to see studied in the state of Pennsylvania is running up the old Reading/Central Railroad of New Jersey from Harrisburg to New York via Allentown and Bethlehem. Could throw the second Pennsylvanian on that along with a few Keystones. I know I'm dreaming but still a good route.
NJT used to run as far as Phillipsburg NJ just across the river from Easton PA but that service ended around 1983 due to low ridership. It was an extension to the Raritan Valley line. Not sure what track still exists in that area or whether it still connects to the former Lehigh Valley through Bethlehem and Allentown. Edit: apparently the line was severed between Alpha and Phillipsburg due to the construction of I-78 as they did not want to build an underpass.
 
NJT used to run as far as Phillipsburg NJ just across the river from Easton PA but that service ended around 1983 due to low ridership. It was an extension to the Raritan Valley line. Not sure what track still exists in that area or whether it still connects to the former Lehigh Valley through Bethlehem and Allentown. Edit: apparently the line was severed between Alpha and Phillipsburg due to the construction of I-78 as they did not want to build an underpass.

The former CNJ, now NJT, ROW was severed at Alpha upon I-78's completion. The portion west of I-78 to a couple of miles east of P-Burg has receded back to nature. Forget about it.

But, a shoe-fly track was built off the CNJ to join the former LV just west of the Musconetcong Tunnel, and NJT has legal trackage rights to P-Burg that way. Beyond there, the LV bridge is abandoned, and NS uses the former CNJ bridge as it was in better shape. NJT lacks any trackage rights west of P-Burg because they never ran there. NS would demand a capital ransom if any passenger service were ever to be re-introduced. It is a heavy freight line, unlike CSX to Mobile. It was made clear upon the 2016 Fall Amtrak excursion to Harrisburg - this is a one-off, don't get any wild ideas.

From a mile west of High Bridge, the NJT ROW to Alpha is not used, has washouts, with bare track structure visible from underneath on an embankment like in Hampton, and would require a lot of money to even bring that back.

Connect US [fantasy] map shows Somerville as an intermediate stop to Allentown. But if they stay on the LV from Aldene, it would run through Manville instead, which was never much of a passenger generator, and nobody in Somerville would drive to Manville to catch Amtrak to Allentown or Harrisburg. NS's ransom would be even larger.
 
NJT used to run as far as Phillipsburg NJ just across the river from Easton PA but that service ended around 1983 due to low ridership. It was an extension to the Raritan Valley line. Not sure what track still exists in that area or whether it still connects to the former Lehigh Valley through Bethlehem and Allentown. Edit: apparently the line was severed between Alpha and Phillipsburg due to the construction of I-78 as they did not want to build an underpass.

Well then there are two options you can take the old Lehigh Valley line which Amtrak25 mentioned. But that is an incredibly busy line because that's the mainline from the Port of New York to both Chicago and the southern USA. Or you could alternatively take the former Lackawanna branch that went to Phillipsburg that becomes NJT at Hacketstown. It would add some serious time to the timetable however.

The best option is to reactivate that shoe fly track and put the money into reactivating it as a passenger only right of way.

I do think because Amtrak wants to connect both places from the NEC though it makes more sense as a thru Harrisburg-New York service instead of two branch lines off the NEC from either New York or Philly.
 
Even if one want to run on the RVL, the only practical usable crossover to LV is at Bound Brook which is east of Somerville.

Also to note is that the trackage beyond Raritan is never going to be exactly trunk passenger route speed anymore.

The Lackawanna Branch mentioned is the Washington Secondary. That route will never be able to compare favorably with driving times to Allentown. It will be a typically be what I like to call a "hobby passenger route", one that can be used to claim something was done and then be a perpetual money sink, and this even in the middle of a densely populated area.
I do think because Amtrak wants to connect both places from the NEC though it makes more sense as a thru Harrisburg-New York service instead of two branch lines off the NEC from either New York or Philly.
A quarter of a billion here, a quarter of a billion there and soon we are talking real money :D
 
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The whole former DL&W Washington Secondary has no sidings and is currently at 10MPH.

The shoe fly track merely puts passenger trains onto the NS(LV) from Musconetcong to P-Burg. It would have to be a second track, whether for their own use, or as a NS double track ROW . From P-Burg to Harrisburg, you are talking a couple of hundred of million dollars in capacity demands from NS on a route that has not seen a passenger train since the 1960's, if not 1950's.
 
Something I've always wanted to see studied in the state of Pennsylvania is running up the old Reading/Central Railroad of New Jersey from Harrisburg to New York via Allentown and Bethlehem. Could throw the second Pennsylvanian on that along with a few Keystones. I know I'm dreaming but still a good route.

There would be a huge demand for any train service from the Lehigh Valley into New York. The people in power need to make this happen.
 
I don't think so. There was an O&D study of that for I-78 about 10 years ago. Just 4% of the Delaware River vehicle crossings are headed for Manhattan. Most of the traffic turns over across central New Jersey.

Most of the commuters are on Trans Bridge buses, and most of that vanished with the pandemic, with some tele-commuting for such distances likely to be permanent. I-78 is not I-80.

Amtrak is not in the commuter business. This has no place in the Connect US plan.
 
I don't think so. There was an O&D study of that for I-78 about 10 years ago. Just 4% of the Delaware River vehicle crossings are headed for Manhattan. Most of the traffic turns over across central New Jersey.

Most of the commuters are on Trans Bridge buses, and most of that vanished with the pandemic, with some tele-commuting for such distances likely to be permanent. I-78 is not I-80.

Amtrak is not in the commuter business. This has no place in the Connect US plan.
You are correct. Unfortunately it is only us who have lived through all the situation on the ground for West NJ and Northeast PA have a clearer understanding of who goes where for what in the area. Those who look at populations of MPOs and connect the dots appear to miss the ground realities obtained.

People too often project I-80 onto I-78 vis a vis traffic towards New York.
 
Going in the other direction, having lived east of the Hudson until 30 years ago, New Yorkers and Long Islanders know of New Jersey as the Turnpike and I-80, since it is a continuation of the Belt Parkway and Cross Bronx Expressway. They know nothing of I-78 since it feeds the Holland Tunnel and lower Manhattan, and they have no desire to go to the Lehigh Valley, only the Catskills, Poconos, and down the NEC.
 
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