Allentown Service

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,452
On a technical note, shouldn't this be in the commuter forum? This was never really Amtrak's project.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,141
On a technical note, shouldn't this be in the commuter forum? This was never really Amtrak's project.
I think it is linked to Amtrak, because of Amtrak's direct involvement and Amtrak offering to do an initial feasibility or "excursion" trip using its Amtrak Viewliner inspection car.

The only time this became commuter related, is when this thread took a tangent, and we speculated that it might be better if it was a commuter rail, than something run by Amtrak. And with the tangent of commuter rail, we went further off into NJT and SEPTA.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
Eventual operation if it comes to pass will most likely not be Amtrak. It will most likely be NJT under contract using commuter equipment of some sort, most likely running into Hoboken.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,752
Jis is very right that Pennsylvania's focus -- mindshare -- is on Harrisburg-Pittsburgh. I googled newspaper articles and found a lot of push from the state and local governments for 3-a-day Harrisburg-Pittsburgh, and the state of PA won't work on Allentown or Scranton until that's done or they give up on it.
 

fairviewroad

Conductor
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,353
On the one hand, I wish PA would focus on the low-hanging fruit (whatever that is), but I do understand the prioritization of Harrisburg-PIT, (which is effectively PHL-PIT). It makes a ton of sense to link the state's two largest cities (via the state capital). And, the PA Turnpike is congested and just crazy.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
Pedantically speaking PIT is Pittsburgh Airport. The Amtrak station is PGH. :)
 

fairviewroad

Conductor
Joined
Jan 13, 2011
Messages
3,353
Pedantically speaking PIT is Pittsburgh Airport. The Amtrak station is PGH. :)
WELL MAYBE THEY WANT TO BUILD A TRAIN TO THE AIRPORT

:p

[i should have known better than to confuse the two codes....d'oh!]
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,141
It makes a ton of sense to link the state's two largest cities (via the state capital).
Just to note, Allentown is its 3rd largest city, and has no rail service to anywhere (NYC or Philly). A lot of smaller PA cities and even rural towns, have a functioning passenger station.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

Conductor
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
2,004
It makes a ton of sense to link the state's two largest cities (via the state capital).
Just to note, Allentown is its 3rd largest city, and has no rail service to anywhere (NYC or Philly). A lot of smaller PA cities and even rural towns, have a functioning passenger station.
It's simple geography. The "main" route is between PGH and PHL. If you're on the way, they could stop. If you're not like Allentown or Scranton, it would have to be a separate train (or a huge diversion).
 

Thirdrail7

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 9, 2014
Messages
4,452
It makes a ton of sense to link the state's two largest cities (via the state capital).
Just to note, Allentown is its 3rd largest city, and has no rail service to anywhere (NYC or Philly). A lot of smaller PA cities and even rural towns, have a functioning passenger station.
Judging by NS's position (who is the dominant host in the area) this will not occur without millions of dollars flowing to the coffers. PA is likely saving its money and political capital for the "best" route with the "best" chances of occurring.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,752
Once there's better Philadelphia-Pittsburgh service, the agitation for Allentown service will probably get some traction.

It's *way* easier to restore service from Phildadelphia to Allentown -- SEPTA owns nearly the entire route, they've just allowed a stupid trail to be put on top of it -- and the state might be convinced to pay for it if the locals made an effort.
 

AlanB

Conductor
Honored Member
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Messages
28,406
A lot of the problem locally, is when anyone speaks of passenger rail service with Allentown, they automatically envision using the now shuttered station on the corner of Hamilton and the American Parkway. They problem is that the American Parkway itself was built on the rail right-of-way, and that option is really permanently gone. IMHO, that station could never be used for rail service again (unless someone picks it up and moves it).

I mention that, because as noted above, there are other options for a terminus point in the local area (Bethlehem, Emmaus, Eason, even P'Burg in NJ). The "locals" just don't want to think along those lines.
I was out visiting my sister this weekend in Allentown and on our way back from watching a band festival, since I wasn't driving, I took a good look at things. While it would probably not be possible to restore through service to the Allentown station; there would be no major problem restoring service to the station from the east, the topic of this discussion While there are currently no tracks next to the station, NS still has an active line only a few hundred feet away from the station. Yes, they'd have to put in a new switch and build a few hundred feet of track to reach the station, and perhaps remove part of a parking lot. But it really wouldn't be a big deal to restore service from the Allentown station running east to NY City.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
Agree. Also it is far easier to achieve than Allentown, notwithstanding the fact that SEPTA notionally owns a hiking trail which could be converted to rail. I hope I live to see one of those reverse conversions take place ever.

But PennDOT is currently compltetely fixated on HBG - PGH to the extent that is paying any attention to any non-SEPTA route at all.
 

neroden

Conductor
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
7,752
I have toyed with the idea of a fairly-rich locality getting together enough funding to permanently endow a passenger rail route which is currently "temporarily" used for a trail, and then walking up to the STB and saying "We want to operate it. Get the trail out of our way." The actual rails-to-trails law says the STB has to remove the trail and put the rail in if someone walks up with a credible, fully funded company which has a business plan to provide rail service, *freight or passenger*. I haven't found a billionaire passenger rail supporter to back this yet. :)
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
Some that have kids don't leave it all to them, but instead, the bulk to charities...Mr Warren Buffet comes to mind.

And he does like owning railroads... :)
Specially ones that make money. :)
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,681
I have toyed with the idea of a fairly-rich locality getting together enough funding to permanently endow a passenger rail route which is currently "temporarily" used for a trail, and then walking up to the STB and saying "We want to operate it. Get the trail out of our way." The actual rails-to-trails law says the STB has to remove the trail and put the rail in if someone walks up with a credible, fully funded company which has a business plan to provide rail service, *freight or passenger*. I haven't found a billionaire passenger rail supporter to back this yet. :)
Wouldn't it be something, if they could restore the Poughkeepsie Bridge from trail back to rail? :)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Palmetto

Conductor
Joined
May 12, 2014
Messages
1,931
I don't really see the need for that. Freight traffic in New England has been traditionally weak. The New Haven Railroad made a good go of it thru Danbury, but railroads seem to be doing okay running things up to Springfield, then west or east from there on the B&A.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
25,617
Notwithstanding the smiley, it is worth looking at why this would be a costly and useless exercise. Any freight bound to New England now goes to Schenectady or Selkirk and then across on the B&M (Guilford/NS) or B&A (CSX). There is not much capacity to get a lot of freight to Campbell Hall anymore to get it to the Poughkeepsie Bridge from the west, even assuming that the non-existent trackage could be restored. It would mostly be a fool's errand, specially considering that the bridge also would have to substantially rebuilt for carrying rail traffic. It was repaired sufficiently to carry walking humans, bikes and go carts, not trains.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,681
It is my understanding that they just did rebuild it to accommodate the trail, although probably only for that light traffic, not heavy trains, like it once carried....

I was always fascinated by that bridge, and its place in history, as the first all-rail through route, from Washington to Boston, when it carried the Federal Express in the years prior to the opening of the Hell Gate Bridge...
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
2,141
Wouldn't it be something, if they could restore the Poughkeepsie Bridge from trail back to rail? :)
That would be one heck of a detour, but if routing the new service over the POK Bridge, gets us service from NYC to Allentown, then I am all for it. :D

I guess we could throw in using the Turbo Liners to sweeten the pot.
 
2
Top