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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak, Pennsylvania ready to resume Keystone Corridor plan


Yesterday, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell and Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer David Gunn unveiled a revised plan designed to increase train service and speed along the 104-mile Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

The plan includes increasing the number of roundtrip trains from nine to 13 and completing $100 million worth of improvements through 2006 to bring the line to a state of good repair after years of deferred maintenance, Gunn said in a prepared statement. Improvements include replacing track and ties, electronic traction cables, communications equipment and bridges.

Travel times between Philadelphia and Harrisburg will be cut from 120 minutes to 105 minutes; express trains will make the trip in 90 minutes.

The $145.5 million Keystone Corridor project was set to begin in 2001, but was put on hold later that year because of Amtrak’s financial situation. In 2002, the national passenger railroad approved a $20 million capital plan for the corridor. Amtrak and the state will split project costs.

Under a separate agreement between Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the railroad will begin closing three public grade crossings in Lancaster County in 2006.

Amtrak also plans to renovate three stations along the corridor. Officials in Lancaster and Elizabethtown, Pa., currently are completing design work and financing for the stations, and the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority is reviewing final design plans and awaiting environmental reports before improvements can begin at the Harrisburg Transportation Center.