(Harrisburg, Pa.) Governor Tom Wolf today announced that PennDOT and Norfolk Southern Corporation have reached an agreement to expand passenger rail access in western Pennsylvania. The milestone follows a February 2022 announcement that the parties would jointly examine opportunities to eliminate chokepoints and improve Pennsylvania’s rail system to better permit freight and passenger trains to operate together.
Currently, the Pennsylvanian Amtrak service travels roundtrip between New York City and Pittsburgh via Harrisburg once daily. The agreement that Norfolk Southern and PennDOT developed anticipates increasing those Pennsylvanian passenger services to twice a day. Eastbound service would depart Pittsburgh at 7:00 AM and 12:30 PM and westbound service would depart Harrisburg at 9:41 AM and 4:40 PM.
To support these expanded passenger operations, the commonwealth will invest more than $200 million in infrastructure and safety improvements that will be constructed and maintained by Norfolk Southern. The future improvements and construction will stem from a previously released Norfolk Southern operational feasibility study and includes upgraded rail lines, passenger platforms, sidings, and necessary communications signals infrastructure.
PennDOT will redirect state Multimodal Transportation Fund dollars to fund the project, as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s (BIL) funding is intended to replace train sets on the Amtrak passenger-rail network.