The Pennsylvanian lives

Late breaking news tonight, that the Amtrak Pennsylvanian, which serves New York, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and intermediate points, will continue to run past October of this year.  That is when PRIIA ’08 mandates that all Amtrak routes shorter than 750 miles either receive state support, or be removed from the national network.  The only two routes that America’s Railroad had yet to find funding agreements for were the Pennsylvanian and the Hoosier State between Chicago and Indianapolis; all indications out of Indiana are that the state government is implacably hostile to any support of Amtrak, and that the Hoosier State will die.  

The Pennsylvanian is the only Amtrak train that serves the cities of western Pennsylvania between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, including Altoona and Johnstown, along the former main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

No details of the agreement are available, (only a laconic press release from Amtrak CEO Joseph Boardman), but given that the state funding formula is fixed., we can only presume that the Governor and his Transportation Secretary have agreed to include a Pennsylvanian line item in the PennDOT budgeting process.  I’ll update here with the details as they become available.

In the first 24 hours, news venues are only saying that the Corbett administration is promising to include $3.8 million of the $5.7 million Amtrak was asking in the next budget, but are giving no details as to how this is adequate for Amtrak. I am going to continue to keep an eye on this, and hopefully further details will emerge.

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