For many commuters, there's no better way to travel than by train. Not only is rail a better value than driving, but it's also more relaxing, safer and better for the environment.
Rail is one of the most energy-efficient ways to travel, consuming about a fifth of the energy per passenger-mile as automobile travel. Electric-powered rail, common in regional commuter rail service, is most efficient, producing minimal air and noise pollution. Passenger rail is also a very safe mode of transportation. Travel on Amtrak, for example, is more than 26 times safer than travel by automobile.
Commuter rail benefits not only the people who use it, but the community as a whole. Cities with rail systems tend to have significantly higher public transit ridership, lower vehicle ownership, less traffic congestion, lower traffic death rates, and on average, people spend less money on transportation overall.
Regional rail systems link nearby towns and cities and are a popular way for people to commute between the suburbs and metropolitan areas. There are three providers of regional rail services in Pennsylvania: the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), the Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) and the Port Authority Transit Corp. (PATCO).
Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) provides public transportation services in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, along with selected rail service to New Jersey and Delaware. In addition to regional rail, SEPTA services include bus, subway and trolley transportation.
Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC)
Port Authority of Allegheny County (PAAC) provides public transportation services to a vast area of western Pennsylvania, including the City of Pittsburgh and all of Allegheny County. Transportation services include light rail, bus and mini-bus. Port Authority also sponsors ACCESS, the nation's largest paratransit program of its kind for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.
Port Authority Transit Corp.
The Port Authority Transit Corp. is owned and operated by the Delaware River Port Authority. It is a heavy rail subway/elevated line operating between Center City Philadelphia and Camden, N.J., and continuing to Lindenwold, N.J. It is one of only a few rapid transit lines in the world that operates a 24-hour service.
Keystone and Pennsylvanian Services
Amtrak's Keystone Service, supported by PennDOT, runs between New York City and Harrisburg by way of Philadelphia. The service provides frequent daily service, affordable fares, competitive trip times, comfortable seating and more. Learn about the stations along the Keystone Line and what PennDOT is doing to improve them and the communities they serve.
The Pennsylvanian Service runs between New York City and Pittsburgh by way of Philadelphia.
To see schedule times and purchase tickets, visit Amtrak's website and search for the station from which you want to depart.
Other Amtrak Rail Services
Amtrak also operates approximately 120 daily trains through Pennsylvania, including Acela Express, Keystone and regional service. In addition, Amtrak operates the following long-distance trains through Pennsylvania:
- The Capitol Limited (daily Washington-Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Chicago)
- The Cardinal (tri-weekly New York-Washington-Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago)
- The Crescent (daily New York-Atlanta-New Orleans)
- The Lake Shore Limited (daily New York/Boston-Albany-Chicago)
- The Palmetto (daily New York-Philadelphia-Savannah)
- The Silver Meteor (daily New York-Philadelphia-Miami)
- The Silver Star (daily New York-Philadelphia-Tampa-Miami)
Amtrak also operates the following shorter-distance trains through Pennsylvania:
- The Carolinian (daily New York-Raleigh-Charlotte)
- The Vermonter (daily Washington, D.C.-St. Albans, Vermont)
Commute by Rail
Get on board with the benefits of commuting to work by train.
Get Rewarded for Every Ride
Enroll in Amtrak Guest Rewards and get points for every trip you take by rail. The more you use the train to travel for business or leisure, the more points you earn for free Amtrak travel, upgrades, hotel stays and more.
In addition to Amtrak's intercity services, SEPTA and New Jersey Transit operate commuter services over the Amtrak-owned and operated Northeast Corridor and, in the case of SEPTA, over a portion of Amtrak's Harrisburg Line from Philadelphia to Harrisburg. Amtrak provides electric traction power for SEPTA's operations over the Northeast Corridor and other lines owned by SEPTA.