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United Way of Lancaster County


Amtrak to serve Lancaster-Harrisburg line with buses during track renovation

An Amtrak train stops at the Elizabethtown train station. (Source: Amtrak)

Amtrak has begun a major track upgrade project on the segment of the Keystone line between Lancaster and Harrisburg.

The agency said it is spending $122 million on the project, which got under way earlier this month. Among other things, it is replacing wood ties with concrete ties, which have a lifespan of 60 years versus 25 years for wood.

In all, Amtrak says it is replacing 43 track-miles of rail, installing 113,000 ties and refreshing 226,500 feet of gravel track bed. The work, it said, will provide smoother rides and improve service reliability.

The project will entail “significant track outages” between April 8 and Nov. 21. During that period, Amtrak will use chartered buses to serve the Lancaster-Harrisburg corridor. They will replace Keystone trains from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Amtrak estimates the change will affect fewer than 450 customers a day.

The rail service’s midday Pennsylvanian trains, operating between Pittsburgh and New York City, will continue to pass through the project area and will have additional seating.

The project is expected to wrap up toward the end of the year, Amtrak said.