• Amtrak service proposed: Reading, PA to Philadelphia and NYC

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by rcthompson04
 
I did a pretty detailed breakdown on the more generic expansion thread that can be found here. post1578788.html#p1578788

I don't think this is an "infrastructure" heavy project and might be an easy one to accomplish as a lot of the infrastructure is already in place seeing most of the stations are already there and have amble parking (except King of Prussia which is a new station build). My biggest concern is how do they intend to run passenger service between the Zoo and Bridgeport. I am not sure passenger service has ever ran on that line and there are some potential bottlenecks (specifically the CSX section from Zoo to NS Harrisburg Line).
  by 93r8g7
 
Not Amtrak's job to provide service to Reading. More federal over-reach by an completely incompetent agency. SEPTA is to provide any and all expansion in PA, as it's a de-facto State Agency. The way SEPTA always seems to have it's paws out for more federal dollars is back-stabbingly disgusting. Harrisburg appropriates a certain level of dollars to SEPTA and it can't seem to just make due, cut exec pay, or challenge the goons for the far left; the unions. The Berks County COC and this Weidenhammer guy are goons for Amtrak over-reach as well. We are run by fools. The system hasn't been expanded in over 30 years and that's 100 percent the fault of slow-walking, styming, and foot-dragging at 1234 Market, being as they want to run a bus company. All these people need to be fired. But that won't happen without greater oversight from Harrisburg.

Again, not Amtrak's job to provide this service. Nor is it the fed's position to insert themselves in the business of individuals simply looking to get to their state capitol, or up to Reading. Once you hand those keys to the feds it's near impossible to claw it back to where it rightfully belongs - local control.
  by mcgrath618
 
While I won't dispute that 1234 Market has historically been unkind to Regional Rail, and while I completely agree that places like Reading and Quakertown are within SEPTA's purview and should be served as such, I disagree that the solution here is handing more control to Harrisburg. They have, for several decades now, short changed SEPTA and refused to allocate dedicated funding from year to year. When Act 89 turned into a pumpkin SEPTA had to threaten to cancel all but select services in order to get their funding. I agree that we are run by fools -- fools who were democratically elected to the state government who could give less of a damn about Philadelphia (despite its immense population, influence, and economic impact within and out of the state).

It is also not impossible to, as you've said, claw back local control of these institutions. The ACL was an Amtrak-run service until the 90s, when it was turned over to NJT.

SEPTA cannot provide service to New York anymore. It has not been able to since 1981. Certainly, this is an advantage of Amtrak service to Reading, no? A one seat ride to New York from Reading is a blessing. I certainly assume that most riders will be getting off at Philadelphia, but that one seat ride alone is a major selling point.

Another benefit of Amtrak service is that barely any extra infrastructure is required. They have the facilities and crews to run and maintain diesel locomotives, something SEPTA is without. SEPTA returning to Reading would require either putting up wire (LOL) or using dual-mode locomotives.

SEPTA is still set to return to Phoenixville before the end of the decade. It will be dual-modes to start, with the idea being that if service is popular enough, wire will be put up the short distance from Norristown to Phoenixville. Should Reading tack onto this service? Maybe, but they weren't willing to pony up when Phoenixville originally asked.
  by zebrasepta
 
There is nothing set in stone about SEPTA returning service to Phoenixville at all. I don't know where you got your delusional information from but stop spreading false information.
  by mcgrath618
 
zebrasepta wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 12:57 pm There is nothing set in stone about SEPTA returning service to Phoenixville at all. I don't know where you got your delusional information from but stop spreading false information.
Set in stone? No. But for about two years now Phoenixville has been funding its own studies and pilot plans:

https://patch.com/pennsylvania/phoenixv ... enger-rail

I haven't heard anything about it since this article came out (to be fair, I don't subscribe to PATCH and only read these articles as they are sent to me), but the plans as they were laid out to me by both personnel at SEPTA and from reading articles indicated that there would be three round-trip trains on a pilot program, funded by a combination of contributions from Phoenixville and other public sources. SEPTA was, as far as I was aware of the facts, "set" to return there in the coming ten years.

Please don't accuse me of being delusional. I didn't just make this up. Did you take my comments personally?

A more constructive way to respond could have been, if these are the facts, to say "This was shelved in favor of Amtrak's plan to run to Reading via Phoenixville and the other interim stops originally proposed by the city of Phoenixville."
  by rcthompson04
 
mcgrath618 wrote: Wed Sep 22, 2021 1:15 pm A more constructive way to respond could have been, if these are the facts, to say "This was shelved in favor of Amtrak's plan to run to Reading via Phoenixville and the other interim stops originally proposed by the city of Phoenixville."
I suspect Amtrak going to Reading (including stops at KOP and Phoenixville) makes a commuter service to Phoenixville far more possible as the infrastructure would be built. Building a station at King of Prussia and revamping the Phoenixville station are to big expenses related to any service expansion. Two users for the most expensive infrastructure components seems like a reason to move forward.
  by barciur
 
That would be a great springboard for additional SEPTA service and creating more stations, as is in the PennDot's study - as Amtrak would not stop at, say, Birdsboro, but if Amtrak starts going there, there may just be enough motivation and push forward to build those stations, upgrade infrastructure and have Septa start commuter service to Reading as well, to augment the Amtrak 3x daily trips.
  by jp1822
 
Until the early 1980s SEPTA had a reach to not only Reading but even north of that that Pottsville, PA. Even if it was a one or two round trips a day at the end north of Reading, SEPTA provided the service.

Until the early 1980s SEPTA had a reach to Quakertown and beyond all the way to Bethlehem (cutback from Allentown).

This should all still be SEPTA territory. SEPTA has trackage rights and, in my opinion had an obligation to preserve the ROW's - especially north of Quakertown. It's only been in the last 20 years that the ROW north of Quakertown was compromised. There was no future planning.

Sure there are plenty of folks that would more easily want to drive between Reading/Lehigh Valley and center city Philadelphia via the PA Turnpike (Northeast Extension - which we are seeing being expanded with lanes), and the corridor to Reading with the King of Prussia bottleneck, let alone the I-76 bottleneck on into center city Philly.

There's also a LOT of people in these areas - Reading and Lehigh Valley - that would look towards a cheaper and public transit option. College towns galore in the Lehigh Valley. If the Downeaster made it from Boston to Portland, I can't see how a corridor from Philly to Reading/Lehigh Valley wouldn't equally work.

But this is SEPTA domain. It's commuter rail territory. It's not Amtrak Corridor rail. It would appear, that this is just being added to Amtrak's US Connect map for political support. Remember the first few years Amtrak partners to conqueror the infrastructure expense cost, but by year 5, the State pays for the US Connect corridors.

Many of the corridors on the "US Amtrak Connect" seem to be more commuter based corridors than something that advances more meaningful travel. Does Amtrak need a minimum requirement for a particular corridor development? For example, anything under 100 miles or 150 miles is strictly the responsibility of commuter rail. Not sure. There's likely some exceptions that need to be made to that rule (if the 150 miles extends between two states then it can be an Amtrak service etc.).

As far as a one-seat ride from Reading to NYP - that could never be implemented unless you get the new tunnels into NYP. There's already the Harrisburg-NYP one-seat ride, and plenty of other NJT lines that are vying for the one-seat ride. A train from PA is going to get priority over say a NJT NJ Coast Line train that used to have a one-seat ride to NYP? Tough sell I think.

And if PA is not going to pick up the costs for a second frequency west of Harrisburg (waiting for how many years now?), Amtrak is going to expect the State of PA to pickup the costs of the Reading to Philly/NYP corridor, Scranton to NYP corridor, etc.? Don't see it - especially with the penny-pinching done with SEPTA every year.

And again, is Amtrak thinking big enough - should the service to Scranton end in Scranton or perhaps be a back door entrance to Binghamton? Service to Reading - should it really stop at Reading or continue on up to Pottsville/Hazelton....
  by STrRedWolf
 
I think that's the kicker there -- the Hudson tunnels are at capacity, essentially. You need more tunnels to lighten that load for the new services. That goes for Scranton as well.
  by rcthompson04
 
Some saying this is commuter territory are ignoring the fact that Amtrak is already running quasi-commuter services in Pennsylvania with the Keystone Service that the state seems to have no problem subsidizing. The state continues to pour money into station infrastructure along the line including commuter style parking. Getting the "Reading Service" off the ground with infrastructure spending is probably the biggest obstacle. The operating subsidy is probably the easiest part of the equation.
  by NotYou
 
93r8g7 wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:52 pm Not Amtrak's job to provide service to Reading. More federal over-reach by an completely incompetent agency. SEPTA is to provide any and all expansion in PA, as it's a de-facto State Agency. The way SEPTA always seems to have it's paws out for more federal dollars is back-stabbingly disgusting. Harrisburg appropriates a certain level of dollars to SEPTA and it can't seem to just make due, cut exec pay, or challenge the goons for the far left; the unions. The Berks County COC and this Weidenhammer guy are goons for Amtrak over-reach as well. We are run by fools. The system hasn't been expanded in over 30 years and that's 100 percent the fault of slow-walking, styming, and foot-dragging at 1234 Market, being as they want to run a bus company. All these people need to be fired. But that won't happen without greater oversight from Harrisburg.

Again, not Amtrak's job to provide this service. Nor is it the fed's position to insert themselves in the business of individuals simply looking to get to their state capitol, or up to Reading. Once you hand those keys to the feds it's near impossible to claw it back to where it rightfully belongs - local control.
Going to disagree w/ SEPTA being a de-facto state agency. The state appoints 5 of the 15 board members, the rest being the 5 counties in the SEPTA area. SEPTA is not under PennDOT. Reading to PHL is technically inter-city and the state hiring Amtrak to run the service makes the most sense. Amtrak already has relationships w/ NS and the state. Amtrak also has the diesel equipment SEPTA doesn't. I don't see Berks county being too anxious to join SEPTA.