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Increasing Passenger Rail Service from Pittsburgh Would Be Costly, Studies Show

Transportation advocates are calling for expanded rail service to the east, but studies indicate the needed infrastructure improvements would be pricey.
September 17, 2019, 7am PDT | Camille Fink
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BeyondDC

Ed Blazina reports on the possibility of expanding passenger rail service from Pittsburgh. "Over the years, efforts to increase service from Pittsburgh have ebbed and flowed with studies from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and other groups periodically estimating the cost of more train service. But little has actually happened."

PennDOT is negotiating a new study with Norfolk Southern, notes Blazina. Prior studies have shown that service expansions would come with a hefty price tag. For example, a study completed in June looking at increasing service from Pittsburgh to Altoona to the east would require $1.2 billion for track and station improvements and an additional $3.7 billion if a third track is part of the plan. 

Transportation advocates say the projected figures are too high and additional service could be put into place for much less. They also argue that service expansions should focus on broader service areas and connections between large job centers, such as Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

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Published on Monday, August 26, 2019 in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
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