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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Western Pennsylvania needs more passenger-rail service, Shuster says


Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) is encouraging Pennsylvania officials to take advantage of the new funding opportunities available for intercity passenger rail.

During a congressional field hearing held in Pittsburgh on Monday, the House Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee ranking Republican member emphasized the need to improve and expand passenger-rail service in western Pennsylvania — a region that's "sorely under-served by intercity passenger rail," Shuster said during the hearing.

Amtrak currently provides one daily round trip between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh on its Pennsylvanian route, with trains making the 250-mile trek in five hours. In addition, there are a number of under-served communities between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, including Altoona, Johnstown and State College, Shuster said.

The state should use the Keystone Corridor as an example for expanding and improving intercity passenger rail, he said. In 2006, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, in partnership with Amtrak, completed $145 million worth of improvements to the 104-mile corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. The project enabled Amtrak to operate 110 mph trains and travel between the two cities in 90 minutes. The railroad currently operates 14 daily round trips on the Keystone Corridor.

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More News from 6/24/2009