News & Reviews News Wire Keystone Corridor service resumes

Keystone Corridor service resumes

By Wayne Laepple | April 3, 2023

Downed catenary is repaired after storm damage

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blue and silver passenger train passes brick tower
Amtrak Keystone Service train 609 is passes the ex-PRR tower in Bryn Mawr, Pa., on July 7, 2018. Keystone Service has been restored after a storm-related outage. Steve Glischinski

LANCASTER, Pa.— Amtrak and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train services on the Keystone Line, annulled on Sunday due to storm damage, was resumed late this morning after having been shut down Sunday.

Early-morning Amtrak operations between Philadelphia and Harrisburg were annulled earlier today, as was service on SEPTA’s Thorndale and Paoli routes. Service was restored shortly before noon EDT.

The heavy storm that roared through the region on Saturday night downed a tree near Radnor, Pa., bringing down catenary [see “‘City of New Orleans,’ ‘Texas Eagle’ recover …,” Trains News Wire, April 2, 2023].  Amtrak crews worked through the night to repair the damaged lines.

At 12:20 p.m. on Sunday, Amtrak announced cancellation of all services on the Philadelphia-Harrisburg segment, including diesel-hauled Pennsylvanians. The westbound train ran from New York to Philadelphia, and the eastbound was turned at Harrisburg, according to reports. A bus bridge transported passengers between those points.

10 thoughts on “Keystone Corridor service resumes

  1. This is an ongoing problem on this line. It is time to do some proper tree trimming or removal where necessary to help preserve ongoing service. As mentioned when service becomes unreliable ridership will decline. Both SEPTA and Amtrak have many customers use the service to get to or from work.

  2. FYI, ALL of Amtrak’s road diesels are HEP equipped, and there are stand-by units at both ends.

  3. Based on the above photo it appears that large trees are allowed to grow too close to the railroad.

  4. A similar situation happened in the early 2000’s. A tree fell down near St. David’s and took out the wires, Number 4 track was open for traffic. Amtrak was running diesels on the Keystones at the time and was able to run a train through. Westbound was easy as the track is signalled that direction, eastbound trains ran with no signals. I am a bus driver in the area and on a Sunday drivers might not be a problem, but Monday morning we had to drive the kids to school.

  5. 500 idle school buses- yes. What about 500 drivers? Who do they work for? Private transportation companies! Local governments? Are they ready to come in on no notice to support Amtrak or SEPTA. Most these places can’t find enough drivers to get their kids to school during the week.

    1. It calls for planning. You need a phone tree of bus companies that may be able to help. Cruisers first, then transit, then school.

      Out of 500 drivers, they should be able to find enough willing to work on a week-end.

      Yes, Krapf Bus in West Chester is looking for drivers; SEPTA is looking for vehicle operators (bus and light rail; also train conductors) and has some routes missing trips due to operator unavailability. You don’t need a CDL going in; they’ll train you.

  6. Yeh. If you leave people stuck with no way of getting where they’re going, they’re not coming back and neither are their friends.

    As to SEPTA, the schedulled bus service already has its regular riders. There’s no way it can handle the displaced rail riders and Paoli-Thorndale is SEPTA’s busiest rail line. Work-at-home sounds better, eh?

  7. That would be the obvious reason. Glad to see they were able to bus passengers as opposed to several other recent incidents.

    1. They only bussed passengers from one train, the NY-Pittsburgh Daily Pennsylvanian each way. Passengers for other trains had to drive instead, which most plan to do in the first place. SEPTA passengers had at least the schedulled local bus service if you knew where to change vehicles.

      If the RR doesn’t run and provides no substitute service, potential riders won’t go near it the next time they’re travelling. On a Sunday there must be at least 500 idle school buses between Phila and Hbg.

      As to running diesels, neither Philadelphia nor Harrisburg has HEP-equipped diesels available; moreover, the wire had fallen on the tracks and the ET’s could work on the wire faster without traffic.

  8. And why can’t you run a diesel powered train with downed catenary? Was no one able to clear the wires in time?

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