Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line

Last updated
Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line
Amtrak Keystone Corridor Rosemont Curve.jpg
Amtrak and SEPTA Regional Rail service share operations over the Main Line grade between Philadelphia and Thorndale.
Type Higher-speed rail, commuter rail
Locale Pennsylvania
Termini Suburban Station (historic)
30th Street Station (current service)
Harrisburg Transportation Center
Services Keystone Service, Pennsylvanian, Paoli/Thorndale Line
Owner Amtrak
Operator(s) Amtrak (also SEPTA)
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Operating speed110 mph (180 km/h)
Route map


BSicon tCONTg.svg
BSicon tBHF.svg
Suburban Station
BSicon tSTRe.svg
BSicon hKRZWae.svg
BSicon STR.svg
BSicon dSTR+l.svg
BSicon CONTfq.svg
BSicon dSTR+l.svg
BSicon TBHF.svg
BSicon dSTRr.svg
30th Street Station
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg SEPTA.svg
BSicon dSTRl.svg
BSicon ABZg+r.svg
BSicon dCONTgq.svg
BSicon ABZgr.svg
BSicon CONTgq.svg
BSicon ABZgr.svg
Cynwyd Line (Valley Junction)
BSicon YRD.svg
Overbrook Yard
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon BHF.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg SEPTA.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
Bryn Mawr
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
St. Davids
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon BHF.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg SEPTA.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon dCONTg.svg
BSicon STR.svg
BSicon dSTR.svg
BSicon YRD.svg
Frazer Yard
BSicon dSTRl.svg
BSicon ABZg+r.svg
Glen Junction
BSicon BHF.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg SEPTA.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon BHF.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg SEPTA.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon eHST.svg
Paradise (planned)
BSicon ABZgl.svg
BSicon CONTfq.svg
Leaman Junction (Strasburg Rail Road)
BSicon CONTgq.svg
BSicon ABZgr.svg
Holland Junction (New Holland Industrial)
BSicon CONTgq.svg
BSicon ABZgr.svg
Conestoga Junction
BSicon BHF.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon ABZgl.svg
BSicon CONTfq.svg
Cork Junction (Columbia Secondary)
BSicon CONTgq.svg
BSicon ABZgr.svg
Lititz Junction (Lititz Secondary)
BSicon HST.svg
Mount Joy
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon ABZg+l.svg
BSicon CONTfq.svg
Roy Junction (Royalton Branch)
BSicon HST.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon CONTgq.svg
BSicon ABZgr.svg
State Junction (Harrisburg Line)
BSicon BHF.svg
Harrisburg Transportation Center
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon CONTf.svg

The Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line is a rail line owned and operated by Amtrak in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. This is the only electrified Amtrak service in the United States outside of the main line of the Northeast Corridor. The line runs from Philadelphia, where it meets the Northeast Corridor at Zoo interlocking (milepost 1.9), west to Harrisburg (MP 104.6), where electrification ends. It is part of the longer Keystone Corridor, which continues west to Pittsburgh along the Norfolk Southern Railway's Pittsburgh Line. [1] This section is sometimes referred to as "Keystone East" [2] and is part of Amtrak's Keystone Service.

Philadelphia's Suburban Station was the original start of the line – as well as the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Railroad – and is milepost zero for the line. However, current service patterns dictate that all passenger rail service on the line begins 1 mile (1.6 km) west at 30th Street Station.


The line runs along the route of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Main Line and passes through the Philadelphia Main Line, the suburban region named for it. The Pennsylvania Railroad had originally electrified this line in the 1930s, but it fell into disuse in the 1980s under Amtrak. [3] [4]

Amtrak and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation restored electrical service in October, 2006. [5] This allows speeds up to 110 miles per hour. [6]

The line received about $26 million from the 2009 Federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act that was used to eliminate the last three grade crossings, which will advance the goal of 125-mph operations, reduce overall trip times, and improve service reliability. The grade crossings were located in Lancaster County and the last was closed in 2014. [7] [8] [9] [10]

In the 2000s, there was discussion of commuter rail from Lancaster to Harrisburg (the Capital Red Rose Corridor), but the proposal has subsequently been abandoned. [11]

Current rail services

Amtrak's Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian operate over the entire line. SEPTA Regional Rail Paoli/Thorndale Line trains operate east of Thorndale, with the rights to continue revenue service west to Parkesburg and to run west to Cork Interlocking (just east of Amtrak's Lancaster station) to reverse direction. [1]

Freight trackage rights over the whole line are assigned to the Norfolk Southern Railway. The Canadian Pacific Railway also has rights over a small piece near Harrisburg, from the west end to Roy Interlocking in Royalton, to allow CP trains to get from the end of their Sunbury Line or Allentown to Perryville, Maryland. [1]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides the subsidies for Amtrak for the Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian passenger routes that operate on this line.


Signal bridge (#592) and former grade crossing in Leacock Township, east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania Amtk Keystone Corr signals 01.jpg
Signal bridge (#592) and former grade crossing in Leacock Township, east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania

All stations are located in Pennsylvania.

Milepost (km) StationLocationCurrent station
0.0 mi (0 km) Suburban Station Philadelphia September 28, 1930 SEPTA Regional Rail: all lines
SEPTA City Transit: Broad Street Line (at City Hall), Market–Frankford Line and subway–surface trolley lines (at 15th Street)
SEPTA City Bus: 2, 4, 16, 17, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 44, 48, 62
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 124, 125
1.0 mi (1.6 km) 30th Street Station 1933 [12] Amtrak: Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
SEPTA Regional Rail: all lines
NJ Transit Rail: Atlantic City Line
SEPTA City Transit: Market–Frankford Line and subway–surface trolley lines (at 30th Street)
SEPTA City Bus: 9, 12, 21, 30, 31, 42, 44, 49, 62, LUCY
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 124, 125
5.4 mi (8.7 km) Overbrook 1860SEPTA City Bus: 65, G
6.0 mi (9.7 km) Merion Lower Merion 1914
6.8 mi (10.9 km) Narberth Narberth September 11, 1915 [13] SEPTA City Bus: 44
7.4 mi (11.9 km) Wynnewood Wynnewood 1870 [14] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 105
8.5 mi (13.7 km) Ardmore Ardmore 1870 [14] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 103, 105, 106
9.1 mi (14.6 km) Haverford Haverford 1880 [14] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 105, 106
10.1 mi (16.3 km) Bryn Mawr Bryn Mawr 1869 [14] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 105, 106
10.9 mi (17.5 km) Rosemont Rosemont 1871SEPTA Suburban Bus: 105, 106
12.0 mi (19.3 km) Villanova Radnor 1890 [15] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106
13.0 mi (20.9 km) Radnor 1872 [16] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106
13.7 mi (22.0 km) St. Davids 1890 [15] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106
14.5 mi (23.3 km) Wayne 1884SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106
15.4 mi (24.8 km) Strafford Tredyffrin 1876
16.4 mi (26.4 km) Devon Easttown 1890 [17] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106
17.5 mi (28.2 km) Berwyn 1884 [17] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106
18.6 mi (29.9 km) Daylesford Tredyffrin SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106
19.9 mi (32.0 km) Paoli Paoli 1893 [18] SEPTA Suburban Bus: 92, 106, 204, 205, 206
21.6 mi (34.8 km) Malvern Malvern 1900SEPTA Suburban Bus: 92
27.5 mi (44.3 km) Exton Exton 1981Eastbound Pennsylvanians only
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 92
Krapf's Transit: A
WCU Shuttle
28.3 mi (45.5 km) Whitford 1880
32.4 mi (52.1 km) Downingtown Downingtown Krapf's Transit: A
TMACC: Evening Link
35.5 mi (57.1 km) Thorndale Thorndale November 22, 1999 [19] Krapf's Transit: A
TMACC: Evening Link
38.4 mi (61.8 km) Coatesville Coatesville 1868 [18] Krapf's Transit: A
TMACC: Evening Link, Coatesville Link
44.2 mi (71.1 km) Parkesburg Parkesburg 1905 [18] TMACC: Coatesville Link
68.0 mi (109.4 km) Lancaster Lancaster 1929 [18] Red Rose Transit Authority: 3, 6, 10, 11, 19
80.1 mi (128.9 km) Mount Joy Mount Joy Red Rose Transit Authority: 18
86.8 mi (139.7 km) Elizabethtown Elizabethtown 1915Red Rose Transit Authority: 18
94.7 mi (152.4 km) Middletown Middletown 1990 [18] Capital Area Transit: 7
104.6 mi (168.3 km) Harrisburg Transportation Center Harrisburg 1887 [18] Capital Area Transit
Rabbit Transit
Greyhound Lines, Fullington Trailways

Related Research Articles

Northeast Corridor electrified railway line in the USA

The Northeast Corridor (NEC) is an electrified railroad line in the Northeast megalopolis of the United States and the busiest rail corridor in the Western Hemisphere. Owned primarily by Amtrak, it runs from Boston through Providence, New Haven, New York City, Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore to Washington, D.C. The NEC closely parallels Interstate 95 for most of its length, and is the busiest passenger rail line in the United States both by ridership and by service frequency as of 2013. The NEC carries more than 2,200 trains daily. Branches to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Springfield, Massachusetts, and various points in Virginia are not considered part of the Northeast Corridor, despite frequent service from routes that run largely on the corridor.

<i>Keystone Service</i> rail transport

Amtrak's 195-mile (314 km) Keystone Service provides frequent regional passenger train service between the Harrisburg Transportation Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, running along the Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line. Most trains continue along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to Pennsylvania Station in New York.

Keystone Corridor railway line

The Keystone Corridor is a 349-mile (562 km) railroad corridor between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that consists of two rail lines: Amtrak's Philadelphia-to-Harrisburg main line, which also hosts SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line commuter rail service; and the Norfolk Southern Pittsburgh Line. The corridor was originally the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Overbrook station SEPTA Regional Rail station

Overbrook station is a SEPTA Regional Rail station on the Paoli/Thorndale Line, located near 63rd Street and City Line Avenue in the Overbrook neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It serves many of the residents of Overbrook Farms and the suburban neighborhoods across City Avenue in neighboring Montgomery County, as well as Saint Joseph's University and Talmudical Yeshiva of Philadelphia.

Ardmore station (Pennsylvania) train station in Pennsylvania

Ardmore station is a train station in Ardmore, Pennsylvania served by Amtrak and SEPTA Regional Rail. It is on Amtrak's Keystone Corridor Main Line and serves most Keystone Service trains, as well as most SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line trains. One Sunday eastbound Pennsylvanian trip formerly stopped in Ardmore, but this service ended on November 7, 2011, with the consolidation of the Monday-Saturday and Sunday eastbound Pennsylvanian trip into a daily trip. It is located at Station Road and Anderson Avenue in Ardmore and serves the western suburbs of Philadelphia. The station is a one-story brick building with a flat roof built in the 1950s, which replaced an 1870 building that burned down. There are plans to build a new transit-oriented development in the area, including a new station building.

Bryn Mawr station (SEPTA Regional Rail) train station in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr station is a SEPTA Regional Rail station in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It is located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia at Morris and Bryn Mawr Avenues. It is served by most Paoli/Thorndale Line trains with the exception of a few "limited" and express trains.

Radnor station (SEPTA Regional Rail) SEPTA Regional Rail station

Radnor station is a SEPTA Regional Rail station in Radnor, Pennsylvania. It is served by most Paoli/Thorndale Line trains.

Paoli station train station in Paoli, Pennsylvania

Paoli station is a passenger rail station located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia at 13 Lancaster Avenue, Paoli, Pennsylvania. It is served by Amtrak's Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian trains, and most SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line trains. The station has Amtrak and SEPTA ticket offices, a waiting room, vending machines, restrooms, and a coffee shop. The one-story tan brick building was constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1953 at a cost of $140,000; it replaced an earlier Victorian depot built in 1893.

Malvern station (SEPTA) commuter rail station located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia

Malvern station is a SEPTA Regional Rail and a former Amtrak station in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Located at West King Road and North Warren Avenue, it serves most Paoli/Thorndale Line trains. Until 1998, some Keystone Service trains stopped here as well.

Exton station (Pennsylvania) railway station in Pennsylvania

Exton station is a train station in Exton, West Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania, in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. It is served by most Amtrak Keystone Service trains and one daily eastbound Pennsylvanian trip, as well as SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line. The station is located close to the former Whiteland station served by the former Pennsylvania Railroad.

Whitford station train station in West Whiteland Township, Pennsylvania

Whitford station is a commuter rail and former intercity passenger rail station located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia at South Whitford Road and Spackman Lane, Exton, Pennsylvania. It is served by most SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line trains and until 1998 some of Amtrak'sKeystone Service trains.

Downingtown station rail station in Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Downingtown station is a commuter and intercity passenger rail station located in the western suburbs of Philadelphia at West Lancaster Avenue & Stuart Avenue in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. It is served by most Amtrak Keystone Service and SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line trains, and until November 7, 2011, the eastbound Amtrak Pennsylvanian on Sundays only.

Thorndale station (SEPTA) rail station in Caln Township, Pennsylvania

Thorndale station is a SEPTA Regional Rail station in Thorndale, Pennsylvania. Located on South Bailey Road and East Lincoln Highway, it serves the Paoli/Thorndale Line. While Thorndale station is the terminus of SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line service, the tracks continue, to points west, including Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and beyond.

Capital Red Rose Corridor, formerly known as Corridor One, is a commuter rail system proposed in South Central Pennsylvania, United States which will link Harrisburg and Lancaster. Future corridors are being planned to extend commuter rail service to Carlisle, Hershey, Lebanon, York, and communities in the upper Susquehanna Valley. In mid-2008, the official name of the project was changed to the Capital Red Rose Corridor, after a successful write in campaign was launched resulting in over 800 submissions.

Harrisburg Transportation Center intermodal station in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The Harrisburg Transportation Center is a large railway station and transportation hub in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It is located on the eastern edge of Downtown Harrisburg between the intersections of Aberdeen and Market Streets and 4th and Chestnut Streets. The well-situated station is the primary hub for passenger rail and intercity bus services in the Harrisburg metropolitan area and South Central Pennsylvania.

Coatesville station railway station in Pennsylvania, United States

Coatesville is an Amtrak rail station located in the far western suburbs of Philadelphia at Third Avenue and Fleetwood Street in Coatesville, Pennsylvania. It is served by most Amtrak Keystone Service trains. An old railroad station building exists at the stop, but is not currently used. There is no ticket office at this station. Coatesville is one of the least-used stations on the Keystone Corridor east of Harrisburg. This may be due to a lack of parking as well as its proximity to Thorndale Station on the SEPTA Paoli/Thorndale Line. SEPTA once served this station from 1990 to 1996 when the agency was forced to close a $75 million gap and has since truncated its service.

Elizabethtown station Amtrak station in Pennsylvania

Elizabethtown is an Amtrak railroad station on the Keystone Corridor in Elizabethtown, Lancaster County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The station is served by Amtrak's Keystone Service between New York City and Harrisburg, and by the Pennsylvanian between New York and Pittsburgh. The station was built in 1915 by the Pennsylvania Railroad to replace another that had been built in 1900. The station building was closed in 1977 by Amtrak. The title to the building was transferred to the borough of Elizabethtown in 1998, and it was leased back to Amtrak. From 2009 to 2011, the station underwent a 21-month renovation to make it handicapped-accessible.

Main Line (Pennsylvania Railroad) Pennsylvania Railroad line from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad was a rail line in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, connecting Philadelphia with Pittsburgh via Harrisburg. The rail line was split into two rail lines and now all of its right of way is now a cross-state corridor, composed of Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line and the Norfolk Southern Railway's Pittsburgh Line.

Paoli/Thorndale Line SEPTA Regional Rail line travelling from Philadelphia to Thorndale

The Paoli/Thorndale Line, formerly known as the R5, is a SEPTA Regional Rail service running from Center City Philadelphia to Thorndale in Chester County on Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line which is part of the Keystone Corridor which in turn was once the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Trenton Cutoff

The Trenton Cutoff is a 48-mile (77 km) rail corridor in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania that runs from Morrisville to Glenloch. Today used by Norfolk Southern, it consists of two rail lines: the Morrisville Line, which runs between Morrisville and Earnest, and the Dale Secondary between Earnest and Glenloch.


  1. 1 2 3 Federal Railway Administration, "Appendix A: Ownership, Operating Rights and Agreements" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-09-27. (18.0  KiB)
  2. "Frequently-Asked Questions". Plan the Keystone. PennDOT. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  3. Michael, Froio (May 18, 2012). "The Pennsylvania Railroad's Harrisburg Terminal : A Historical Overview" . Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  4. Tom, Belden (January 18, 1998). "Orphan Rail Line Scorned No More Penndot And A Startup Company Have Both Made Proposals For Upgrading Amtrak's Keystone Route". Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  5. "Amtrak's Northeast Corridor: FY 2010" (PDF). Amtrak. May 2011. p. 5. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  6. "Northeast Corridor State of Good Repair Spend Plan" (PDF). Amtrak. April 15, 2009. p. 7. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  7. "NEC Projects - The Keystone Corridor". Amtrak. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  8. "The Congressional Bicameral High - Speed & Intercity Passenger Rail Caucus" (PDF). Federal Briefing. WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff. August 14, 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  10. Harris, Bernard (July 20, 2014). "New PennDOT bridge could mean faster trains on tracks below" (PDF). Plan the Keystone. Lancaster Online. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  11. "Southcentral PA's Multi-Modal Transportation Efforts". Modern Transit Partnership. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  12. Teitelman, Edward & Longstreth, Richard W. (1981), Architecture in Philadelphia: A Guide, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, ISBN   0262700212 :186
  13. Tatnall, Frank (Fall 2015). "A Century of Catenary". Classic Trains. 16 (3): 26.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Existing Stations in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania
  15. 1 2 Existing Railroad Stations in Delaware County, Pennsylvania Archived October 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. Morgan's Corner P&C RR station, 1856 (Existing Railroad Stations in Delaware County, Pennsylvania)
  17. 1 2 Existing Railroad Stations in Chester County, Pennsylvania Archived 2008-12-09 at the Wayback Machine
  18. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Building Great American Stations". Amtrak . Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  19. Schogol, Marc (November 21, 1999). "SEPTA extends the R5 line to Thorndale". The Philadelphia Inquirer . p. 31. Retrieved February 22, 2019 via