The Keystone Corridor is the rail corridor across Pennsylvania from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. This 353 mile-long corridor was developed in the late 1800s by the Pennsylvania Railroad and continues to carry both passenger and freight traffic. The western portion between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg is known as Keystone West, and the track is owned by Norfolk Southern Corporation. Keystone East is the eastern portion between Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and the track is owned by Amtrak.
Both freight and passenger rail help to remove truck and personal vehicle traffic from Pennsylvania’s local and interstate highway routes. With fewer vehicles on roadways, highway capacity is increased.
Switching to rail transport lowers accident risk and is safer than driving. In 2018, PennDOT reported 98.3% fewer injuries and over 99.5% fewer fatalities for passenger rail compared to roadway driving per 2020 PA State Rail Plan data.
Freight and passenger rail connect PA’s economic centers. It helps to create useful transportation alternatives for shippers and an efficient travel network for travelers, boosting the local economy in both shipping and tourism.
The effects of efficient land use planning from passenger rail are long-term, positive, and have station-area and wider regional impacts, including support of vibrant communities multimodal connectivity, and creation of a memorable place of identity and character.
Rail is one of the most fuel-efficient modes for both freight and passenger travel, reducing the carbon footprint for both travelers and shippers who opt to use rail.
Passenger rail supports increased mobility for those with limited transportation options, such as the elderly or low-income residents. Passenger rail supports alternative transportation modes, which have been shown to improve psychological well-being.
Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian Service on the Keystone West corridor between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg (and on to Philadelphia and New York City) currently offers one train in each direction per day. PennDOT is currently partnering with Norfolk Southern Corporation (owner of the rail) to construct improvements to the corridor to facilitate an additional daily Pennsylvanian train.
Advancing PA Rail is managed by PennDOT and highlights station improvements along the rail line between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Train schedules and ticket information are available directly from the service providers.
Enjoy your trip!
Intercity passenger rail is operated by AMTRAK (800-872-7245).
Many stations are also served by local and intercity buses—please contact the bus company directly for service details.