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Lehigh Valley Passenger Rail Feasibility Analysis

The Lehigh Valley Passenger Rail Feasibility Analysis is the initial study to investigate and define the critical path necessary for restoring passenger rail service to Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, with connections to existing or planned rail services in the Newark/New York, Philadelphia, and Reading market areas. This report summarizes the various previous efforts to restore rail service, identifies the key infrastructure and institutional challenges, estimates costs, defines the necessary approvals and operational requirements, and highlights key steps for both a technical and non-technical audience.

Lehigh Valley Passenger Rail Feasibility Analysis Report (4MB pdf)

2020 Pennsylvania State Rail Plan

The 2020 PA State Rail Plan was formally accepted by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in June 2021. The plan outlines existing conditions and trends and identifies proposed freight and passenger rail investments into 2045.

Pennsylvania State Rail Plan Files

Public and stakeholder involvement is an important element of the plan update to ensure plan strategies, actions, and investments help meet passenger and freight rail needs in the Commonwealth. A virtual major stakeholder meeting was held in April 2020.

Two virtual online public meetings were held in November 2020. The meetings included a presentation and a question-and-answer session. A 30-day public comment period was also held for the draft 2020 PA State Rail Plan and concluded on December 2, 2020. The presentation, questions, and answers from both public meetings are available below.

Click to view public meeting PowerPoint presentation (4MB pdf)

Click to view Q&A summary from the November 16 public meeting (132KB pdf)

Click to view Q&A summary from the November 17 public meeting (117KB pdf)

Reading-Philadelphia Study

PennDOT initiated the Reading to Philadelphia Passenger Rail Analysis to examine the critical path necessary to restore passenger rail service between Philadelphia and Reading along the historical rail corridor connecting Norristown to Reading. The analysis, completed in December 2020, explored feasible service alternatives, capital improvements, and the next steps required to initiate service.

Reading to Philadelphia Passenger Rail Analysis Final Report (5.1MB pdf)

Altoona-Pittsburgh Study

Over the last two decades, there have been several studies examining the potential for increased passenger rail service west of Harrisburg. These studies have varied from extending the existing Keystone Service to Pittsburgh, to implementing commuter rail service between Pittsburgh and Latrobe, to adding another daily Pennsylvanian train. Most recently, the 2019 Altoona–Pittsburgh Passenger Rail Study was an effort by PennDOT to explore the feasibility of additional passenger rail service commuter service on the 117-mile corridor between Altoona, PA, and Pittsburgh, PA.

The study identified capital cost estimates ranging from $1.2 billion to $3.7 billion (with the addition of a third track) to support passenger rail start-up service for a forecasted 531 to 840 daily one-way riders. The capital cost estimates do not include right-of-way acquisition, environmental remediation, or Norfolk Southern-related costs for access or liability.

Altoona–Pittsburgh Passenger Rail Study Final Report (3.6MB pdf)