Resolution Calling for Study of Pittsburgh-Harrisburg Rail Service Adopted


A measure introduced by Senator Randy Vulakovich calling for a comprehensive review of passenger rail service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg  received final legislative approval on June 6, 2017. Senate Resolution 76 directs the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to study the feasibility of increasing passenger rail service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.

“I believe the existing one train a day between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh does not meet the transportation needs of residents in the western communities along the line and the many who depend upon passenger rail service to travel,” said Senator Vulakovich. “The residents of western Pennsylvania deserve the same consideration and opportunity for increased frequency of service on this existing line as residents of Pennsylvania in other parts of the state along the Keystone line.”

Western Pennsylvania has historically had a high level of passenger rail service with 12 daily trains as recently as the 1960s and two daily passenger trains in 2004 serving the Keystone corridor west of Harrisburg.

In January 2015 The Keystone West High-Speed Rail Study: Feasibility Report & Preliminary Service Development Plan, prepared for PENNDOT and the Federal Railroad Administration, evaluated the feasibility of options to reduce rail travel times and increase trip frequency on Amtrak’s Keystone West portion of the Pennsylvanian service and identified incremental improvements that would make the line compatible for both freight and passenger rail service.

“My Resolution directs the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to conduct a study of the feasibility of providing an additional two passenger rail trains a day to the existing one daily train between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg including what federal money can be identified to support such a service,” said Senator Vulakovich. “The study should also determine what improvements to the rail infrastructure between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg are necessary in order to make the additional passenger rail service compatible with the existing freight service.”

The Resolution was amended in the Transportation Committee to include the identification of existing and proposed Keystone West round trips that could be feasibly extended west of Pittsburgh to Cleveland and Chicago through grants from the Federal FAST Act.  This section of the study is due in 12 months from the adoption of the SR 76, the rest of the study is due nine months from the date of the adoption. 

Floor Remarks Video:


Contact:         Charlie O’Neill            (717) 787-6538