Officials at Drexel University, Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust and other city and West Philly institutions have been sitting down with developers in recent days to review proposals to build over the tracks at 30th Street Station and link the grandiose proposed Drexel Innovation Neighborhood and its high-rise, Rockefeller Center-like “Superblock” at 33rd and Market — whose 6.5 milllion sq ft, by itself, would be more than four times larger than the proposed new Comcast office tower — and other new Drexel-area construction to Center City, highways, the airport, Penn, and, you know, the rest of the world.
Amtrak’s two routes with Pittsburgh stops saw ridership increases in the past fiscal year, according to ridership data the railroad announced this morning.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced in March that the state would commit $3.8 million to keep the service operating in the coming year.
Lancaster’s Amtrak station is finally getting a much-needed facelift.
Scaffolding reaches the ceiling in the main hall, and workers from Lobar, Inc., are repairing and patching the ornate plaster to prepare for the final paint job.
Meanwhile, members of the Lancaster Train Station Advisory Committee were told Wednesday, Amtrak workers are in the process of finishing plaster work on the west side of the concourse leading to the train platforms and putting the final coat of paint on the eastern concourse walls.
Work on the ceiling is being postponed until after a new heating/ventilating/air conditioning system is installed on the concourse roof.
Amid state and federal wrangling over transportation funding, transit leaders meeting in Center City said growing public support should mean more money for trains, buses, and subways.
“The people of the nation are way ahead of some of their elected leaders,” Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff said Monday, citing a new survey for the American Public Transportation Association that showed 74 percent of respondents supported using tax dollars to “create, expand and improve public transportation.” That was up from 69 percent last year.
In Washington and Harrisburg, lawmakers are debating how to pay for mass transit as well as highways and bridges. Transit agencies, which typically get at least half of their budgets from taxpayers, are lobbying for increases to replace outdated equipment and vehicles and to bring derelict systems into a state of good repair.
A vote is expected this week in the Pennsylvania state Senate on a transportation-funding bill that would increase the gas tax on wholesalers (who likely would pass it on to motorists at the pump), and raise most vehicle fees and fines for traffic violations. The measure would produce about $2.5 billion in additional transportation funding after three years, according to its sponsor, Senate transportation chairman John Rafferty (R., Montgomery).
Lititz Pike motorists will soon be forced to learn some new tricks.
On Wednesday, May 29, PennDOT is implementing the first set of road closings and altered traffic patterns necessitated by construction of a new Route 501 bridge over the Amtrak and Norfolk Southern train tracks.
That means drivers who have been using Route 222/501 for years to enter and exit the city will encounter some major changes in their routine.
McGovern Avenue will be closed from the Lititz Pike to Queen Street. Consequently, southbound drivers unable to make the right turn onto McGovern Avenue will continue straight, to a new intersection at Liberty Street.
Amtrak has 13 trains each weekday stopping at the Lancaster, Mount Joy and Elizabethtown stations on the Keystone line and nine weekend trains. The Keystone line carries passengers between Harrisburg and Philadelphia.
The Keystone carried 723,461 passengers in the first half of the fiscal year, compared to 687,860 during the same period last year.
The Obama administration will weigh 15 alternatives for improved passenger rail service between Boston and Washington, ranging from modest upgrades to a new high-speed Northeast Corridor that would allow trips between Philadelphia and New York City in about 40 minutes.
The 15 “preliminary alternatives” were unveiled Tuesday by the Federal Railroad Administration.
The FRA plans to come up with a single “preferred alternative” by mid-2015, complete with cost estimates and possible construction schedules.
The goal is to lay out a feasible plan for investing in the nation’s busiest rail corridor through 2040, with proposals for updated equipment, more trains, new stations and possible new routes.
It’s 8:30 a.m., and Amanda McCoy and Kim Christen are living it up in the cafe car. On the table are boxes of a Polish pastry called paczki, orange juice and a bottle of Barefoot Bubbly.
It’s mimosa time.
Ms. McCoy, of Indiana Township, and Ms. Christen, of West View, also have bread, garlic bologna, lettuce, tomato and a travel Scrabble set for the long ride. “We’re veterans,” Ms. McCoy says. “We know how to do it.”
Like many others aboard the train, they swear by it, and recoil at the possibility that the one daily Amtrak train serving Pittsburgh and Harrisburg will be eliminated in October.
For the third time in 18 months, Amtrak recently increased its monthly fares for commuters.
The increase affects only Amtrak’s Keystone line between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Lancaster is the busiest station between those two points.
The 15 percent reduction on tickets on Amtrak’s Keystone line is an effort to get more people to ride the rails rather than drive.
Amtrak and the state Transportation Department — Amtrak’s partner in the Keystone line — hope to build more leisure travel on the 104-mile line between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Toby Fauver, deputy secretary for local and area transportation, said.
WEST CHESTER, PA — A father of four who struggles with a heroin addiction told a Common Pleas Court judge that he planned to pay back thousands of dollars he owes Amtrak for stealing copper wire from the railroad’s Philadelphia to Harrisburg line, but he did not say how.
William James Stauffer, 29, of Honey Brook pleaded guilty on Tuesday to charges of theft by unlawful taking and criminal mischief for the December 2010 theft about 800 pounds of copper electrical wire. In addition to a prison term of six to 23 months in Chester County prison and three years of probation, he was ordered to pay $28,650 to the railroad for the cost of the wire and the considerable disruption its loss caused operations along the line.
“As soon as I get back home, I’d like to get back to work,” Stauffer told Jude William Mahon, who accepted the plea agreement between the prosecution and Stauffer’s attorney. “I want to give it 100 percent to pay my restitution, and to keep my nose clean.
This is a classic example of why competition is necessary in an economy. Southwest Airlines is ending their Philadelphia to Pittsburgh nonstop service on January 8th. Starting January 9th, US Airways will be the only carrier with nonstop flights between Pennsylvania‘s two largest cities.
Today, a nonrefundable round-trip ticket will set you back $118.00 before taxes. After Southwest ends their nonstop service, the same ticket, for the same flight, will cost you $698.00 on US Airways.
Taking a flight with one connecting stop makes flying almost equivalent to driving across the state. Amtrak and Megabus are also not options for business travelers who need to make same-day round-trips.
Just another example of corporate greed.
Capital Area Transit services will resume on Monday.
Linda Thompson, Harrisburg‘s Mayor, is ending the curfew and state of emergency tonight at 9 p.m. The mayor said she was pleased with Harriburg’s overall condition.
Amtrak service between Harrisburg and Lancaster is still out of commission today. Still no word on train travel between the two cities for Monday.
City Island Parking is closed on Monday.
Things have not returned to normal after Irene. Amtrak service between Philadelphia and Boston was halted due to high water that flooded the Trenton Station and tracks, making train travel north of Trenton impossible.
SEPTA had seventeen cars stranded at Trenton when water from a nearby creek overflowed over the tracks. The water is not expected to recede until Monday evening and then the damage will be assessed before a timeline to re-establish train service can be determined. SEPTA still has four train lines without service: Trenton, Paoli/Thorndale, Norristown and Cynwyd.
NJ Transit trains are only operating on the Atlantic City Line.
Amtrak service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg is expected to resume about 3 p.m today.