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Date: 10/16/20 13:37
Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: twropr

Amtrak did not win Bennett Levin's favor a few years ago when they raised costs that made it uneconomical for him to continue running his classic PRR E8s on charter trains.
I think the issue was requirement for installation of ACSES but cannot remember for sure.
Anyway, Mr Levin had testified before the PA Transportation Committee last Dec. to propose that the Commonwealth take over the Phila-Harrisburg Line.  The attached link announces a US Congressman's legislation which could bring about the transfer, if approved.  I wonder what the timeframe on something like this would be?
https://smucker.house.gov/media/press-releases/smucker-introduces-keystone-line-commonwealth-act
Andy



Date: 10/16/20 14:27
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: PRR1361

It was much more than that.  They would not permit him to attach/detach his cars on the rear of 43/42 during the Philadelphia layover. Instead they told him he would have to ferry the cars to SSY (and back) to get them on the rear.  The charge to do so would have cost as much again as the round trip to PIT. They claimed too much delay at Philly, also did not want to do the necessary switching.



Date: 10/16/20 14:34
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: joemvcnj

Amtrak was being unreasonable. Pennsylvanian is in 30th Street for nearly a half hour changing ends and changing engines. Regardless of his motivation, there is this 1,000 year mortgage that Amtrak has on everything from Penn Central. What to do about that ? 



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/16/20 14:36 by joemvcnj.



Date: 10/16/20 14:35
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: njmidland

Also, he was going to run a pre-PTC "farewell" trip that Amtrak declined to allow to operate at the last minute.



Date: 10/16/20 15:14
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: mt-king

A "Can't Do Attitude" is a great way to grow a business, negate the great appreciation Bennett has shown to wounded veterans and to endear your organization  to politicians.



Date: 10/16/20 15:40
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: PRSL-recall

This is an exciting and developing story to which we add our cheers. Amtrak needs to be pounced on plenty from all sides to wake them up from self-serving to passenger-serving. Being subjected to increased financial oversight will probably make them scream. Interesting in this story to see how PA sees itself as being distanced from the NE Corridor in spite of the fact they have the western electric/catenary spur also from the Pennsylvania Railroad. 



Date: 10/16/20 16:11
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: another_view

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Amtrak was being unreasonable. Pennsylvanian is in
> 30th Street for nearly a half hour changing ends
> and changing engines. Regardless of his
> motivation, there is this 1,000 year mortgage that
> Amtrak has on everything from Penn Central. What
> to do about that ? 

What relevance does the mortgage have on anything? It’s a mortgage in name only, supposedly to protect the federal interest, it requires no payments, doesn’t hinder Amtrak in any way, and is not payable for another 960 years.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 10/16/20 16:52
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: pennsy3750

What makes anyone think PennDOT can manage nay better than Amtrak can?  They're not exactly a paragon of efficiency.



Date: 10/16/20 16:58
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: jp1822

So there's the proprosal, but absent has been how operations would work under a PA take over. 

1) Is it SEPTA equipment that's operating from Philly to Harrisburg.
2) Presumably through service to NYC would end. 
3) How would the Pennsylvanian interact - is that still a contracted servcice with Amtrak

Financially, the Commonwealth would be solely responsible for infrastructure, which they've paid the improvements on. But operations would be the responsibility of SEPTA, or is the Commonwealth oursourcing that back to Amtrak?                                                                                                                                                   



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/17/20 02:18 by jp1822.



Date: 10/16/20 20:26
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: prr60

Sounds a little like a just-before-the-election PR move.

It''s a simple calendar issue. The 116th Congress adjourns in January, but absent some lame duck action, work will end in mid-December. That is two months from now.  Any bills still in the works when congress adjourns are dead.  They do not carry over to the new congress. The reality is that the bill has no chance of even being considered by the committee, much less passed by the committee, passed by the full House, passed by the Senate (without change), then signed into law by the President  - all in two months.  Given the difficulty of having this congress take on actual important stuff (stimulus anyone?), this bill will die a quiet death, as I suspect was the basic plan. The product was the press release, not the bill.

If the congressman is serious, the bill would have to be re-introduced in January when the 117th Congress convenes. I suspect the congressman hopes he is a member.



Date: 10/16/20 22:44
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: PHall

Does the state of Pennsylvania even want this line. Rail lines like this tend to be money pits!



Date: 10/17/20 05:26
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: RGTower

I recall reading Amtrak’s Harrisburg Line collects more money in trackage rights fees from SEPTA and NS, than revenues collected from Amtrak patrons. And Pennsylvania subsidizes ticket sales on the Philadelphia-Harrisburg trains.

Through SEPTA, the state has spent hundreds of millions over the years remodeling and rebuilding the stations between Philadelphia and Paoli.

At the very least, (operationally and fiscally), it makes more sense to give SEPTA ownership and control of the line from Paoli to Zoo and charge Amtrak a trackage rights fee.

Pennsylvania subsidized the re-electrification from Lancaster to Harrisburg.

Pennsylvania subsidized the track infrastructure upgrades to 110mph service

Pennsylvania subsidized the ticket sales.

Pennsylvania is paying to remodel all the stations.

Pennsylvania is paying a fortune to subsidize trackage rights for SEPTA.

On the surface, it seems like there would be cost savings taking Amtrak out of the equation. With the pandemic affecting tax revenue inflows, government should be looking everywhere to cut expenses to prevent tax hikes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/17/20 05:35 by RGTower.



Date: 10/17/20 05:59
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: Lackawanna484

Expanding Septa's charter to include operations in Lancaster and Dauphin counties would open a can of worms.

These counties would have to create funding, and you reopen the ever present Philadelphia city bus versus suburban train uproar.

Posted from Android



Date: 10/17/20 07:49
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: dreese_us

Makes me wonder if Septa is gearing up to take over operations on the Harrisburg Line with their latest equipment purchase. 15 ASC-64's to replace 7 AEM 7's and 1 ALP 44, plus 45 double-decker railcars from CRRC with an option for ten more. Septa would have to change their policy regarding restrooms since they don't currently don't provide them on current equipment.
 



Date: 10/17/20 08:12
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: Lackawanna484

If the state pushed this takeover, and there is no evidence this is true, they would face a demand for service to Reading, Allentown, Scranton. etc

My guess is it vanishes by late evening of November 3

Posted from Android



Date: 10/17/20 12:35
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: abyler

jp1822 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> 1) Is it SEPTA equipment that's operating from
> Philly to Harrisburg.

Probably.  They could easily modify some of the SEPTA equipment with different seats to be more comfortable.

> 2) Presumably through service to NYC would end. 

That already happened. Amtrak is basically back to only running two through trains to NYC - the Pennsylvanian, and what used to be called "The Big Apple", and which back in PRR days was 'The General".

> 3) How would the Pennsylvanian interact - is that
> still a contracted servcice with Amtrak

Pennsylvania would still be free to contract with Amtrak to operate this service in part or in whole, which they would be foolish not to do considering how much Pennsylvanian ridership is to/from NYC/NJ.

> Financially, the Commonwealth would be solely
> responsible for infrastructure, which they've paid
> the improvements on. But operations would be the

SEPTA's maintenance costs are a known quantity, the Commonwealth can easily project what it would cost if they took over 240 more miles of track

> responsibility of SEPTA, or is the Commonwealth
> oursourcing that back to Amtrak?           

The point of the proposal was to get Amtrak out of the operations and infrastructure.  What would be interesting is seeing what happens to the transmission line ifnrastructure from Safe Harbor dam down the old A&S.

If Pennsylvania did take over operations it would lead to irresistable political pressure to also provide long desired service to Reading, Scranton, Allentown, and other locales around the state. The Philadelphia area counties, Lancaster, and Daupin are not even 5 million people in a state of nearly 13 million.



Date: 10/17/20 12:40
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: abyler

dreese_us Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Septa would have to change their policy regarding
> restrooms since they don't currently don't provide
> them on current equipment.

It's not a "policy", SEPTA does not have railway car retention toilet tank cleaning equipment in its layover yards.

Not sure why you think there would need to be a change. The Harrisburg to Philadelphia run is about the same amount of time as Doylestown to Philadelphia or Newark, DE to Philadelphia (90 minutes each of those). Go to the bathroom before you get on the train.



Date: 10/17/20 17:57
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: rkennedy2

Is the entire former Pennsy electrical infrastructure owned by Amtrak?  Even the overhead transmission along the old Bala line to the substation with the Trenton cutoff?  If so how could you seperate the Keystone line portion for an entirely integrated system?  Just curious.



Date: 10/17/20 19:42
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: RuleG

I have yet to read anything about PennDOT being interested in becoming the owner of the Harrisburg Line or SEPTA expanding the geographic coverage of its regional rail network to include Harrisburg.



Date: 10/18/20 05:45
Re: Proposal for PA Takeover of Harrisburg Line
Author: Passfanatic

I hope that even with this changeover, the Keystones are still operated with Amtrak equipment and crew. Traveling a little over 100 miles is a long distance to be riding in Septa equipment. I don't think many people who are starting their trips in NYC, NWK, and TRE and heading to stations along the Keystone Corridor would want to change trains at Philadelphia. They would have to go up walk up from the basement at 30th Street through the station concourse and then up to the Septa level. By having the Keystones to continue using Amtrak equipment and an Amtrak crew, it's a matter of remaining a one seat ride for those passengers beginning their trips in NYP, NWK, and TRE heading to destinations like Lancaster and Harrisburg. In pre-covid times, there was a three hour gap on Saturday afternoons between eastbound Amtrak trains on the Keystone Corridor and it would be nice to have that gap closed.



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