Amtrak Route Scrapbooks

Pennsylvanian

amtk_route_Pennsylvanian The Pennsylvanian is a 444-mile daytime Amtrak train numbered 42/43 running between New York and Pittsburgh via Philadelphia. The train travels across the Appalachian mountains, through Pennsylvania's capital of Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Amish region, suburban and central Philadelphia, and finally New Jersey before terminating in New York's Penn Station. Trains run once daily in each direction. The entire train ride takes about 9 hours total. The Pennsylvanian is a once a day replacement of the Keystone service between New York and Harrisburg. Prior to Amtrak, the route was known as the Duquesne, named after Fort Duquesne in Pittsburgh, operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad. The Pennsylvanian began in 1980 as a state-supported daylight train between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with connecting service to New York. Amtrak would later extend the train to serve New York directly. On its inauguration the Pennsylvanian used Amfleet equipment and continues to be so equipped. A typical consist west of Philadelphia includes one Genesis locomotive, one cafe/lounge car, and 5-6 coaches. East of Philadelphia, an electric locomotive is used on the Northeast Corridor portion of the run.

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The daily Pennsylvanian (New York-Philadelphia-Pittsburgh) covers a 444-mile route that crosses over the Rockville Bridge -- the oldest stone masonry arch railroad viaduct in the world -- and famed Horseshoe Curve and passes through Pennsylvania Dutch Country and the Appalachian Mountains. As the days grow shorter and the air crisp, the train offers generous views of colorful fall foliage, especially through the mountains of western Pennsylvania.

Today, the Pennsylvanian is again state-supported, financed primarily through funds made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. In fiscal year 2015, nearly 232,000 customers rode the train. Between FY 2010 and FY 2015, ridership increased by 14 percent. Norfolk Southern owns the tracks west of Harrisburg, while Amtrak owns the railroad east to Philadelphia, where the train can reach top speeds of 110 mph, and the Northeast Corridor from Philadelphia to New York City where maximum speed is 125 mph.

Amtrak

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Pennsylvanian route map / web

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1966 Pennsylvania timetable

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10th Anniversary

A framed collage hangs on the wall in the lobby of the Pittsburgh Amtrak station, commemorating the 10th anniversary of the state-sponsored Pennsylvanian service -- an event held on April 27, 1990.

all photos above Pittsburgh, Pa / Aug 2017 / RWH
Click to see Pittsburgh's Amtrak station plotted on a Google Maps page
Click to see this railfan location plotted on a Google Maps page
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Pittsburgh, Pa / Aug 2017 / RWH

tag_spot Gallitzin Tunnels

journal_rwh
April 2016

Not even a month after my second visit to the Gallitzin tunnels park area, I had to go to Philadelphia for business. Naturally, I booked tickets on Amtrak's Pennsylvanian -- one of the loveliest regional rides you can find in the mid-Atlantic region. This was my second ride on numbers 42/43, my family having ridden the entire route a few years ago for a holiday celebration in New York City. For this trip, I only rode from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, and then returned a few days later. The eastbound 42 is a great ride, coming down the mountain on the former Pennsylvania main and over the river to Harrisburg, where electrics replace diesels and speeds jump up to 100 - 110 mph on the Keystone Corridor that runs through Amish farmland and finally plays out in downtown Philly. But the westbound return is my favorite, leaving Altoona and climbing up and around the Horseshoe Curve and then through the Gallitzin double-track bore. The 3-track mainline between the Curve and over through the Tunnel is full of interesting crossovers, Pennsy-era signal bridges, and cutaways and S-curves. I made my way to the rear of #43 and shot some video from just west of the Curve all the over the crest of grade, through the return wye, and on to the reunion of the 3-track main on the Johnstown side of the tunnels. 42/43 are modest trains from an equipment standpoint, but what they lack in length or lashups they make up for in right-of-way.

Apr 2016 / RWH

See also our Horseshoe Curve and Gallitzin Tunnel Lagniappe collections

Amtrak #180

  • builder:General Electric
  • model:P42DC
  • type:B-B passenger unit
  • built:Summer 2001, GE #53036
  • series:321 produced 1992-2001
  • engine:GE 7FDL16 (16 cyl, 4250 hp)
  • notes:
  • 1 of 207 Genesis units at top of roster
  • builder

    tag_pinAltoona

    See also our Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum collection for more Altoona photos
    Click to see the Altoona Transportation Center area plotted on a Google Maps page
    journal_rwh
    November 2016

    altoona28 Regional church meetings are often taking me to State College, Pennsylvania in the middle of the Keystone State, and return trips have allowed me to explore the greater Altoona area. Recently I timed my meeting departure to put me in Tyrone and Altoona in advance of the morning Pennsylvanian arrival. Number 42 is a reliable mover, always leaving Pittsburgh on time and usually keeping pace across the NS main on its run toward the Keystone Corridor. Sure enough: She was right on time into Altoona. Eastbound passengers poured out onto the platform as the familiar Genesis profile appears under the pedestrian bridge. Altoona is a NS speedway; just before #42 rolled in, several freights came rumbling by ... each one threatening my photo lineups with unwelcomed morning shadows on the platform track. But everything cleared out by the time Amtrak arrived, and the stop was long enough for the engineer to climb down for a stretch break and an SD40E helper set to scoot by on yet another run back to the Altoona yards. Two blasts on the horn and the diminutive 42 was off and running for the Coast.

    Amtrak #96

  • builder:General Electric
  • model:P42DC
  • type:B-B passenger unit
  • built:Jun 1997, GE #49634
  • series:321 produced 1992-2001
  • engine:GE 7FDL16 (16 cyl, 4250 hp)
  • notes:
  • 1 of 207 Genesis units at top of roster
  • builder

    tag_pinTyrone

    Click to see the Tyrone depot area plotted on a Google Maps page

    tag_pinHarrisburg

    Amtrak #626

  • builder:Siemens Mobility
  • model:ACS-64 "Sprinter"
  • type:B-B electric passenger unit
  • built:2014
  • series:83 produced 2012-16
  • power:12.5 to 25 kV 60 Hz AC, Catenary
  • notes:
  • 1 of 70 in Amtrak roster
    manufactured at Siemens in Florin, Ca
  • builder
    Click to see Harrisburg station platform area plotted on a Google Maps page
    journal_rwh
    April 2016

    penn_lagn4 The ride on Amtrak's #42 eastbound out of Pittsburgh is a meandering climb up the old Pennsy main, twisting and curving through cuts and river valleys until the climb up the Alleghenies finally breaks at Gallitzin and you start to roll downhill through the Curve and down through Altoona. This stretch is good running, especially in the fall. But the fun really starts after Harrisburg, when the electrics are tacked on the front, the freight traffic goes away, and the speed limits climb into the triple digits. The Keystone Corridor is a race for the coast, and suddenly a modest Number 42 is a string a chariots behind a slick, new "Sprinter." Catenary posts blur by as Amish countryside gives way to suburban Philadelphia. I check the speed app on my iPhone: 110mph running. The Amfleets show their age these speeds, squeaky draft gear and awkward wheel running. Even so, this feels like a different train than the one that left Pittsburgh earlier in the morning. This is the Keystone sprint.

    Snapshots

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    Links / Sources

    This page was updated on 2017-08-03