how come only Californians think that Americans love their cars

So this from the east…. notice not a word about how Americans love their cars so much that they would never get out to take a train… especially a train that easily beats the car!

Published Tuesday, September 12, 2006, by PA Office of the Governor

Governor Rendell, Amtrak Announce $145 Million Upgrade of Keystone Passenger Rail Service

90-minute, 110 mph Express Starts Oct. 30

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Edward G. Rendell today joined with Amtrak in announcing the completion of a $145 million upgrade of the Keystone Corridor that will bring 110 mph service to the Philadelphia-to-Harrisburg passenger rail line.

The enhanced service, which begins Oct. 30, will feature 90-minute express trains between Harrisburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia, a 30-minute improvement over the current two-hour trip. Local service will also improve to 105 minutes between Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Amtrak is adding three Monday-through- Friday roundtrips and one on Saturday and Sunday to the lineup of 67 roundtrips.

“Throughout the past three-and-a-half years, we have made investments to significantly improve Pennsylvania’s transportation system,” Governor Rendell said. “A quality transportation system is essential for economic development and growth as well as improving the quality of life for our residents. Upgrading the Keystone Corridor is an example of the positive investments we are making.”

“Given the right service frequencies and equipment, this route easily draws a million riders a year,” Governor Rendell said. “This faster service should attract even more riders and marks a significant step forward for rail transportation in Pennsylvania.”

“How we use transportation will be crucial to addressing how we manage fuel consumption in an era of rising prices and uncertain supply sources,” Governor Rendell added. “Our experience with the Keystone Corridor in Pennsylvania shows that passenger rail is far from being relegated to our museums. Passenger rail is viable and can help America work towards energy independence.”

The 104-mile Keystone Corridor is one of Amtrak’s most popular routes.

“Over the past several years, more and more Pennsylvanians have chosen to take Amtrak when traveling across the state. Just last year we saw a 14- percent increase in ridership on our trains along the Keystone Corridor,” said David M. Laney, Amtrak chairman. “To respond to this demand, Amtrak and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania worked together to develop a partnership to improve rail service at the local level. This new service will provide much-needed additional rail service between Harrisburg, Philadelphia and New York.”

Completion of the upgrade, which included new rail, track bed, signals and rebuilt rail cars, caps a long effort by the commonwealth and Amtrak on the corridor. Governor Rendell and Amtrak announced in July 2004 an amended agreement that expedited the project. Funding was split among the commonwealth, Amtrak and the Federal Transit Administration. The upgrade also marks a return of all electric service to the line. The 110-mph service will be the fastest outside Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

Among the upgrades being added to the corridor:

* Push-pull electric train sets, which will eliminate the need to turn the train around in Harrisburg or switch engines in Philadelphia.

* Installation of approximately 200 miles of continuous welded rail, which provides for a smoother ride.

* Installation of 216,000 concrete ties, 48,000 wooden ties and 52 new switches.

* Upgrading of signal and electrification systems, including two dozen signal instrument houses.

This is the first upgrade of these systems in 70 years on the line, which once was part of the Pennsylvania Railroad and has had passenger trains running on it since 1834.

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