As Amtrak Train 43 chugged past Johnstown, lengthening shadows cast a melancholy pall over the town’s redbrick buildings, remnants of industrialization. Then the train plunged back into forest, where glimpses of the Conemaugh River peeked through the trees.
Final destination, Pittsburgh, was still almost two hours away.
It’s nearly 7½ hours on 350 miles of rail from Philadelphia to Pennsylvania’s big city in the west. It’s slower than an hour-and-15-minute flight or five-hour drive, and, at $47, comparable to the cost of tolls and gas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian, which connects Pittsburgh with New York City for about 230,000 passengers a year, also leaves little room for flexibility.
One train a day leaves 30th Street Station for Pittsburgh, at 12:42 p.m. There’s only one return trip, at 7:30 a.m.
Better train service would mean fewer cars on the turnpike, economic development for towns on the route, and more…