What is the route of the Pennsylvanian?
The once-daily Pennsylvanian travels between Pittsburgh and New York via Johnstown, Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia, among additional intermediate points. Also serving Pennsylvania are the Keystone Service trains (Harrisburg-Philadelphia/New York), Capitol Limited (Washington-Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Chicago) and Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston-Buffalo-Erie-Cleveland-Chicago.
Who manages the Pennsylvanian?
The Pennsylvanian and Keystone Service trains are state-supported services managed and financially supported by PennDOT. The trains are operated by Amtrak through a contract with PennDOT.
What are the differences between the Pittsburgh to Harrisburg portion of the route and the section from Harrisburg to New York?
Between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, the Pennsylvanian travels on Norfolk Southern (NS) tracks over mountainous terrain and is powered by diesel locomotives. Between Harrisburg and New York, the train travels on Amtrak tracks, including a portion of the high-speed Northeast Corridor, over flat terrain and is powered by electric engines.
Is the Pennsylvanian a heavily used train?
Yes. The train averages approximately 215,000 - 220,000 annual riders (pre-COVID). It has regularly placed among the highest capacity-used ridership percentages for all of Amtrak's routes. In many of the communities the Pennsylvanian serves, it is among the few, if not the only, available choices of public intercity transportation.
Is checked baggage service available?
Yes, at stations that have ticket agents. For the Pennsylvanian, those stations are Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Trenton, Newark and New York. Checked baggage is not handled either at Connellsville (Capitol Limited) or Erie (Lake Shore limited). Information about stations that do handle checked baggage on those routes is available through the Travel Info page.
Can you bring a bicycle on the train?
Yes, though the method of transporting a bicycle depends on the specific train. On the Pennsylvanian, trainside checked bicycle service is available at stations that have ticket agents. Trainside checked bicycle service on the Lake Shore Limited is not available at Erie. On the Capitol Limited and Keystone Service trains, carry-on bicycle service is available at all stations. There is a $20 charge for bicycle service on all of these routes.
Are there plans for additional service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg?
Yes. In June 2022, PennDOT and Norfolk Southern announced they reached an agreement to fund and implement infrastructure improvements along the NS Pittsburgh line that will enable the operation of a second daily Pennsylvanian. The targeted date for the second train after the completion of the Early Action improvements is 2026.
How do you contact Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail (WPPR) if you want information or to join the WPPR email list?
You can reach us through the Contact page on the WPPR website. Information contained within the website can answer many of your other questions.