Amtrak Cuts Keystone Service (Updated)

Written by David Peter Alan, Contributing Editor
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Jim Blaze photo

Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) on Dec. 16 slashed service on the Philadelphia-Harrisburg Keystone Corridor nearly 50%. Thirteen weekday one-way runs were suspended, along with three on weekends. Despite the trains coming out of the system in December, no media advisory was issued until Jan. 4.

The modified schedule contains seven round-trips on weekdays and six on weekends. There is one service enhancement, however: one additional round-trip has been extended to New York, compared to the previous schedule. It is not readily accessible on the Amtrak website, except by using the “trip planning” function. Reserved seating has been implemented on all Keystone Corridor trains.

The previous schedule, which included 13 round trips on weekdays, was restored last June, after the first wave of the COVID-19 virus triggered service reductions on many transit lines and Amtrak corridors last spring. So was the Pennsylvanian itself, as announced in an Amtrak news release issued June 1.

On weekdays, trains now leave Harrisburg for Philadelphia at 5:00, 6:40 and 8:59 AM and 12:05, 3:05, 4:30 and 8:35 PM. The 5:00, 8:59 and 3:05 trains continue to New York Penn Station (now referred to as “Moynihan Train Hall” on the Amtrak website), while other trains still require a transfer at Philadelphia. The Pennsylvanian, which leaves Harrisburg at 1:00 and makes fewer stops, also runs through to New York. Trains leave Philadelphia for Harrisburg at 5:20, 6:20, and 8:45 AM and 1:35, 3:45, 5:35 and 6:42 PM. Three, the 7:17 AM and 4:03 and 5:10 PM, run directly from New York, as does the Pennsylvanian, which leaves New York at 10:52 AM and Philadelphia at 12:42 PM.

The weekend schedule is different, with trains leaving Harrisburg for Philadelphia at 7:20, 9:30, and 11:35 AM and 2:05, 5:05 and 7:05 PM. The 7:20, 9:30 and 2:05 trains run through to New York, as does the Pennsylvanian at 1:00. From Philadelphia to Harrisburg, trains leave at 7:25, 8:30 and 10:50  AM and 2:45, 4:55 and 6:55 PM. Trains leave New York for Harrisburg at 9:09 AM and 1:05 and 5:17 PM, along with the Pennsylvanian at 10:52 AM. The latter train also leaves Philadelphia at 12:42 PM.

Amtrak operates the service in cooperation with PennDOT, and they jointly announced the service reductions on Jan. 4.

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