Issue One: Keep Amtrak's Pennsylvanian
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Foolish rail move
Why would the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation consider the elimination of the Pennsylvanian? This would be like California cutting passenger rail service between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Or Florida cutting rail service between Jacksonville and Miami.
As a regular rail user from Pittsburgh to Lancaster, I would be forced to use the turnpike. At 79 years of age, that's not easy. Keep the Pennsylvanian!
Being moderately tall, I find there are times I can't put my knees straight in front of me on airplanes because the seats are so close together. If I do, I have to be careful and watch when the person in front starts to lean back, or else I get a rather severe pain as my knees are squashed. A few times I wasn't able to shift fast enough and let out a yell as my knees were crushed.
This is one more reason why I infinitely prefer a train to an airplane. And if you have to do a transfer or a stop, which you are likely to do if you are flying to Philadelphia unless you want to pay $600, the train is faster. Even with the $600 nonstop flight to Philly on US Airways, there will be one hour of pure agony in the air if you are lucky, one hour of waiting in the airport if you are lucky, another hour at each end to get to and from the city if you are lucky vs. seven hours of comfort sipping wine and watching the beautiful scenery on the train. Plus after seven hours of sipping wine you feel great.
The best possible time on the plane nonstop, for those who can't do the math -- and I assume anyone choosing to fly on US Airways to Philly can't do math -- is four hours city to city if you are lucky. Factoring in the three extra hours on the train plus a $54 train ticket, if you make less than $182 per hour, the train is a bargain. I didn't include parking at the airport or taking a cab to and from the airports, because I don't believe in rubbing salt into the wound. If you are dumb enough to take a more economical $250 to $300 one-stop flight, you are not only spending more, but it also will take you longer than the train ... and your knees may require medical attention.
I wish to join the many others who have written in favor of keeping our Amtrak service between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg and points beyond. I have used it many times and would miss the pleasant experience. I always enjoyed my adventures. All the staff, including the food service, was tops! Oh, that PennDOT would reconsider.
First Published March 17, 2013 12:00 am