Pennsylvanian (train)

The Pennsylvanian is a 444-mile (715 km) daily daytime Amtrak train running between New York and Pittsburgh via Philadelphia. The trains travel across the Appalachian Mountains, through Pennsylvania's capital Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania Dutch Country, suburban and central Philadelphia, and New Jersey en route to New York. The entire train ride takes about 9 hours total: 1.5 hours between New York and Philadelphia, 2 hours between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, and 5.5 hours between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh.

Amtrak Pennsylvanian approaching Altoona, August 2021.jpg
The Pennsylvanian in Altoona, Pennsylvania in 2021
Service typeInter-city rail
First serviceApril 27, 1980
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Annual ridership176,130 (FY22) Increase 37.1%[a][1]
TerminiNew York City, New York
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Distance travelled444 miles (715 km)
Average journey time
  • 9 hours, 15 minutes (westbound)
  • 9 hours, 20 minutes (eastbound)[2]
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)42, 43
On-board services
Class(es)Coach Class
Business Class
Disabled accessAll cars, most stations
Catering facilitiesCafé
Baggage facilitiesOverhead racks, checked baggage available at selected stations
Rolling stockAmfleet cars
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
ElectrificationOverhead line, 12 kV AC at 25 Hz (New York–Philadelphia)
Operating speed
  • 48 mph (77 km/h) (avg.)
  • 110 mph (180 km/h) (top, Keystone Corridor)[3]
  • 125 mph (201 km/h) (top, Northeast Corridor)
Track owner(s)Amtrak, NS

The Pennsylvanian uses the same Amtrak-owned Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line as the Keystone Service trains, but continues further west via the Pittsburgh Line through Altoona and the Allegheny Mountains, eventually terminating its run in Pittsburgh. The Main Line and Pittsburgh Line collectively make up the Keystone Corridor, a federally-designated corridor for high-speed rail service.


Prior to Amtrak, the Pennsylvanian route was covered by the Duquesne, named after Fort Duquesne in Pittsburgh, and by the Juniata, both trains operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad and from 1968 to 1971 by the PRR's successor, the Penn Central.[4] The Duquesne had a long history, finally becoming a daily New York–Pittsburgh train on October 25, 1959, numbered 16 eastbound and 25 westbound. When the Pennsylvania Railroad's successor, Penn Central, was formed in 1968, it continued to operate the Duquesne and the Juniata.[5]

With the start of Amtrak operations on May 1, 1971, the Duquesne was renamed the Keystone and renumbered 42 westbound and 43 eastbound with the first Amtrak timetable on November 14, 1971. The Keystone was discontinued on April 30, 1972.[6]

The immediate impetus for the Pennsylvanian was the discontinuance of the National Limited, a New York–Kansas City train which had provided service over the corridor. That train, in turn, was the successor of the famed Spirit of St Louis. [7]: 75  The Pennsylvanian began on April 27, 1980, as a state-supported daylight train between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with connecting service to New York via the Philadelphian (a Clocker) westbound and the Montrealer eastbound.

First eastbound run of the Pennsylvanian at Latrobe, Pennsylvania, April 28, 1980.

At the time the Pennsylvanian was inaugurated, the Broadway Limited was departing Pittsburgh at an inconvenient early morning hour. The new train ran with Amfleet equipment, including a cafe car.[8][9] Pennsylvania agreed to pay 20% of the train's costs for the first year, or $580,000, with the state and Amtrak eventually splitting the costs 50/50 by the third year.[10]

Between 1981 and 1983, Pennsylvanian equipment was turned every night to operate a second state-supported train, the Fort Pitt, which ran from Pittsburgh to Altoona.[11] Amtrak withdrew this train in early 1983 after the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) declined to continue subsidizing the increased operation. At the time the Fort Pitt carried 30 passengers per day.[12] On October 30, 1983, the Pennsylvanian was extended to New York City, eliminating the transfer at Philadelphia.[13]

Genesis powered Amtrak Pennsylvanian passing Rosemont, Pennsylvania

After significant ridership gains in 1984, PennDOT proposed that a second train be added to the route. PennDOT and Amtrak would have split the costs evenly. Amtrak officials were favorable, but budget problems stalled the plan.[14]

In the late 1980s passenger-rail groups urged Amtrak to extend the Pennsylvanian to Cleveland, Ohio. Proposals included new stations in Sewickley and Beaver Falls.[15] Pressure increased in 1989 when Amtrak announced the re-routing of the Broadway Limited and Capitol Limited over that same route as part of a restructuring of routes in Indiana. As part of this change, the Capitol Limited began serving the Cleveland–Pittsburgh route, albeit in the middle of the night.[16] Amtrak and PennDOT considered two routes for an extended Pennsylvanian: one via Alliance, Ohio (following the route of the Capitol Limited) and one via Youngstown, Ohio (partially following the Broadway Limited) with a new stop in New Castle, Pennsylvania.[17]

On November 7, 1998, Amtrak extended the Pennsylvanian through to Chicago along the route of the Capitol Limited via Toledo, finally bringing a daylight connection to Cleveland. The Three Rivers continued to run over a different schedule via Akron and Fostoria. As part of the change Amtrak truncated the eastern end to Philadelphia, enabling the train to complete the run within a single day.[18][19] The change was driven by Amtrak's growing mail and express business; Pittsburgh–Philadelphia ridership suffered.[20] Amtrak returned the Pennsylvanian to the New York–Pittsburgh route on January 27, 2003, citing low ridership and Amtrak's withdrawal from the express freight business.[21] On November 1, 2004, Amtrak merged the Pennsylvanian and Three Rivers, keeping the latter name with a western terminus in Chicago. Amtrak had sought $2.5 million in assistance from Pennsylvania to keep both trains running. On March 8, 2005, Amtrak truncated service to Pittsburgh–New York and restored the Pennsylvanian name to the route.[22][23]

The train has been primarily financed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation since October 1, 2013, when the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 took effect.[24] This federal law eliminated federal subsidies for Amtrak routes less than 750 miles (1,210 km) in length.[25][26] In late 2019, the train began operating with a baggage car for checked baggage and bicycle handling at New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Altoona, Johnstown and Pittsburgh.[27] In March 2020, service on the Pennsylvanian was suspended as part of a round of service reduction in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.[28] Service resumed on June 1, 2020.[29]



The eastbound Pennsylvanian passes through Cassandra, Pennsylvania

Most Pennsylvanian trains consist of six cars hauled by a locomotive.[30]

The passenger cars are the Amfleet series built by the Budd Company in the mid 1970s to early-1980s. Most trains include an Amfleet club car which has a combination of Business Class seating with a Café (food service/lounge) and four Coach Class cars. The train also carries a Viewliner series baggage car for checked baggage service.[30]

Between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, trains are pulled by a GE Genesis diesel locomotive at speeds up to 110 mph (177 km/h). Between Philadelphia and New York, the service operates over the Northeast Corridor which has overhead electric wires and trains are pulled by Siemens ACS-64 electric locomotives at speeds up to 125 mph (201 km/h)

In the coming years all equipment will be replaced with Amtrak Airo trainsets, the railroad's branding of its combination of Siemens Venture passenger cars and a Siemens Charger diesel-electric locomotive.[31] The trainsets for the Pennsylvanian will have six passenger cars, which will include a food service area and a mix of 2x2 Coach Class and 2x1 Business Class seating.[32] The car closest to the locomotive will be a specialized "Auxiliary Power Vehicle" which will include a pantograph to collect power from overhead lines and will feed it to four traction motors in the car, and via a DC link cable, to the four traction motors in the locomotive.[33] The arrangement will offer a near seamless transition between power sources at Philadelphia, a process that currently requires a time-consuming locomotive change.

Classes of serviceEdit

All classes of service include complimentary WiFi, an electric outlet (120 V, 60 Hz AC) at each seat, reading lamps, fold-out tray tables. Reservations are required on all trains, tickets may be purchased online, from an agent at some stations, a ticketing machine at most stations, or, at a higher cost, from the conductor on the train.[34]

  • Coach Class: 2x2 seating. Passengers self-select seats on a first-come, first-served basis.[35]
  • Business Class: 2x1 seating with more legroom than coach. Passengers receive complimentary soft drinks.


Over fiscal years 2009–2016, ridership grew from 199,484 to 223,114, an increase of 10.6%. Ridership peaked at 231,720 in FY 2015. Ticket revenue grew from $7,819,404 to $11,555,451, an increase of 47.8%.[b]

  •   Annual ridership
  •   Annual revenue


The route of the Pennsylvanian (interactive map)

The Pennsylvanian follows the Pennsylvania Railroad's Main Line over the following trackage:[43]

Station stopsEdit

State Town/City Station Connections
NY New York City Penn Station   Amtrak (long-distance): Adirondack, Cardinal, Crescent, Lake Shore Limited, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star
  Amtrak (intercity): Acela, Berkshire Flyer, Carolinian, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, Keystone Service, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
  Long Island Rail Road:  Main Line,  Port Washington Branch
  NJ Transit:  North Jersey Coast Line,  Northeast Corridor Line,  Gladstone Branch,  Montclair-Boonton Line,  Morristown Line
  NYC Subway:       
  PATH: HOB-33 JSQ-33 JSQ-33 (via HOB)
  Local bus: MTA Bus
NJ Newark Newark Penn Station   Amtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
  Newark Light Rail
  NJ Transit:  North Jersey Coast Line,  Northeast Corridor Line,  Raritan Valley Line
  Local bus: NJ Transit Bus
  Intercity bus:   Greyhound, Coach USA, Fullington Trailways
Trenton Trenton   Amtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Vermonter
  NJ Transit:  Northeast Corridor Line,  River Line
  SEPTA Regional Rail:  Trenton Line
  Local bus: SEPTA Suburban Bus, NJ Transit Bus
PA Philadelphia 30th Street Station   Amtrak: Acela, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
  SEPTA Regional Rail: all lines
  NJ Transit:  Atlantic City Line
  SEPTA City Transit: Market-Frankford Subway-Surface
  Local bus: SEPTA City Bus, SEPTA Suburban Bus, NJ Transit Bus
  Intercity bus:   Megabus, Martz Trailways
Paoli Paoli   Amtrak: Keystone Service
  SEPTA Regional Rail:  Paoli/​Thorndale Line
  Local bus: SEPTA Suburban Bus
Exton Exton   Amtrak: Keystone Service
  SEPTA Regional Rail:  Paoli/​Thorndale Line
  Local bus: SEPTA Suburban Bus, West Chester University shuttle
Lancaster Lancaster   Amtrak: Keystone Service
  Local bus: Red Rose Transit Authority
Elizabethtown Elizabethtown   Amtrak: Keystone Service
  Local bus: Red Rose Transit Authority
Harrisburg Harrisburg Transportation Center   Amtrak: Keystone Service
  Local bus: Capital Area Transit, rabbittransit
  Intercity bus:   Greyhound, Fullington Trailways
Lewistown Lewistown
Huntingdon Huntingdon
Tyrone Tyrone   Intercity bus:   Greyhound
Altoona Altoona Transportation Center   Local bus: AMTRAN
  Intercity bus:   Greyhound
Johnstown Johnstown   Local bus: CamTran
  Intercity bus:   Greyhound
Latrobe Latrobe   Local bus: Westmoreland County Transit Authority
Greensburg Greensburg   Local bus: Westmoreland County Transit Authority
Pittsburgh Union Station   Amtrak: Capitol Limited
  Local bus: Pittsburgh Regional Transit
  Intercity bus:   Greyhound, Fullington Trailways


There is currently no through service west of Pittsburgh, though the Capitol Limited continues to provide service to Chicago. As part of its federally mandated analysis of the worst-performing long-distance routes, Amtrak determined that reinstating a through-car connection with the Pennsylvanian would result in the highest gain in monetary and customer service measurements of possible options.[44] To implement this, Amtrak plans to operate a Viewliner sleeper car, an Amfleet cafe car and two Amfleet coaches between Chicago and New York approximating the historic Broadway Limited, via the Capitol Limited and Pennsylvanian. This would begin when funding and equipment is available.[44] On January 28, 2011, it was announced that Pennsylvania had received a $750,000 grant from the federal government to study expanding service westwards from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh along the route of the Pennsylvanian, including higher speeds and additional frequencies.[45]

The Pennsylvania State Rail Plan 2020 calls for a second round-trip Amtrak train between Pittsburgh and New York City with one trip beginning and terminating in Cleveland. The second trip was then projected to begin during the fiscal year running from October 2023 to September 2024. The feasibility, schedule, and cost of adding a second train are underway.[46] In June 2022, the state and Norfolk Southern announced an agreement for a $200 million capacity improvement, with a second Pennsylvanian round trip added by 2025.[47]


  1. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2022 Ridership" (PDF). Amtrak. November 29, 2022. Retrieved December 6, 2022.
  2. ^ "Pennsylvanian Timetable" (PDF). Amtrak. January 8, 2018. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Cupper, Dan. "Amtrak aims to add routes, frequencies; raise speeds in Pennsylvania". Trains. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  4. ^ Pennsylvania timetable, August 1950, Table 39
  5. ^ Penn Central East-West timetable, October 1968
  6. ^ Goldberg, Bruce (1981). Amtrak--the first decade. Silver Spring, MD: Alan Books. OCLC 7925036.
  7. ^ Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-34705-3.
  8. ^ Fisher, Ken (April 28, 1980). "Amtrak Train Begins Daylight State Crossing". Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  9. ^ Amtrak (August 3, 1980). "National Train Timetable". Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  10. ^ McCann, Tom (April 23, 1980). "Amtrak, PennDOT expand service". Daily Collegian. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  11. ^ McCann, Tom (April 15, 1981). "Amtrak expands service: Western Pa. to get Three full runs". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  12. ^ "Train serving Latrobe, Greensburg finished". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 24, 1982. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
  13. ^ National Train Timetables. Amtrak. October 30, 1983. p. 34 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  14. ^ Fisher, Ken (January 7, 1986). "Second train to New York put on hold". Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  15. ^ Sterling, Joe (March 15, 1989). "Amtrak may OK area stop for route". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  16. ^ Utterback, Debra (November 14, 1989). "Amtrak train heads for Beaver Falls, but it won't be stopping". The Beaver County Times. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  17. ^ Moore, Lori (September 28, 1990). "Group continues call for trains stop". The Beaver County Times. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  18. ^ "All Aboard: Amtrak schedule changes are what it has to do". Post-Gazette. September 9, 1998. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  19. ^ Amtrak (October 25, 1998). "National Timetable". Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  20. ^ Johnston, Bob (May 2000). "Under a new strategy, Amtrak to add trains, routes". Trains. Vol. 60, no. 5. p. 16.  – via EBSCO's Academic Search Complete (subscription required)
  21. ^ Patch, David (December 11, 2002). "Amtrak trims Toledo service". Toledo Blade. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  22. ^ Ritchie, Jim (October 1, 2004). "PennDOT won't chip in for cross-state train". Tribune-Review. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  23. ^ Ritchie, Jim (March 6, 2005). "Pittsburgh to be end of the line for train". Tribune-Review. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  24. ^ Bumsted, Brad (August 30, 2013). "State, Amtrak hope to fast-track passenger rail service deal". TribLive. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  25. ^ Vock, Daniel C. (June 24, 2015). "States Take Larger Role in Passenger Rail". Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  26. ^ "North Carolina and Amtrak Reach Agreement to Continue Passenger Rail Service" (Press release). Amtrak. September 27, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  27. ^ "Amtrak Launches Bicycle Service and Baggage Check on Pennsylvanian Trains". Amtrak Media. October 14, 2019. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
  28. ^ "Service Adjustments Due to Coronavirus" (Press release). Amtrak. March 24, 2020. Archived from the original on March 25, 2020. Retrieved March 25, 2020.
  29. ^ "Amtrak announces re-opening of some Pa. service, with new safety guidelines". The Patriot-News (PennLive). May 21, 2020. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  30. ^ a b "Amtrak – Pennsylvanian". TrainWeb. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  31. ^ "Introducing Our New Trains: Amtrak Airo". Amtrak. December 15, 2022. Retrieved December 15, 2022.
  32. ^ "Amtrak FY 2022–2027 Asset Line Plan" (PDF). Amtrak. p. 132. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  33. ^ Worrell, Carolina (December 19, 2022). "First Look: Amtrak Airo". Railway Age. Retrieved December 21, 2022.
  34. ^ "Travel Guide to Train Fares". Amtrak. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  35. ^ "Reserved Coach Class Seat". Amtrak. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  36. ^ "Amtrak FY16 Ridership and Revenue Fact Sheet" (PDF). Amtrak. April 17, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2018.
  37. ^ "Amtrak FY15 Ridership & Revenue" (PDF) (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  38. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2014 Ridership and Revenue" (PDF) (PDF). Amtrak. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 10, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  39. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2013 Ridership and Revenue" (PDF) (PDF). Amtrak. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  40. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2012 Ridership and Revenue" (PDF) (PDF). Amtrak. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 10, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  41. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2011 Ridership and Revenue" (PDF) (PDF). Amtrak. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 10, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  42. ^ "Amtrak Fiscal Year 2010 Ridership and Revenue" (PDF) (PDF). Amtrak. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 10, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2018.
  43. ^ Amtrak (June 2, 2013). "Pennsylvanian On-Time Performance". Retrieved June 2, 2013.
  44. ^ a b "PRIIA Section 210 FY10 Performance Improvement Plan Capitol Limited". Trains Magazine. Amtrak. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  45. ^ "Feds pledge $750G for rail study". Johnstown Tribune Democrat. January 28, 2011. Retrieved January 29, 2011.
  46. ^ Napsha, Joe (November 16, 2020). "State seeks to add Pittsburgh-to-New York City Amtrak train". TribLive. Retrieved November 21, 2020.
  47. ^ "Governor Wolf Announces Commonwealth, Norfolk Southern Operating Agreement to Expand Western Pa. Passenger-Rail Access" (Press release). Office of Governor Tom Wolf. June 27, 2022. Retrieved June 27, 2022.


  1. ^ Amtrak's Fiscal Year (FY) runs from October 1 of the prior year to September 30 of the named year.
  2. ^ Compiled from Amtrak's annual ridership and revenue reports.[36][37][38][39][40][41][42]

External linksEdit

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata