Digest: Pennsylvania plan calls for second daily Pittsburgh-New York train

News Wire Digest third section for Nov. 16: Metra budget includes new single-day weekend passes; work begins on second international bridge in Laredo
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More Monday morning rail news:

Pennsylvania rail plan calls for second Pittsburgh-New York train

The draft version of a new Pennsylvania state rail plan includes a goal of adding a second daily train between Pittsburgh and New York City, beginning in the 2023-24 fiscal year. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports the feasibility of the plan and its projected costs are under consideration by Norfolk Southern, whose tracks the train would use between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, Pa. The report projects ridership on the route would increase from 215,000 in the 2018-19 fiscal year to 378,000 by 2025. The public comment period for the rail plan is underway and includes online hearings today from 4-5 p.m. EST and Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. EDT. Details of the plan and meetings are available here.

Metra to introduce new $7 day passes for Saturdays, Sundays
The budget approved by Metra’s board of directors on Friday includes a new $7 Saturday or Sunday day pass, to be available beginning Feb. 1. Metra's press release says the new pass is an effort to entice more families and discretionary riders to use its system. The Saturday or Sunday pass is in addition to the existing $10 two-day weekend pass, which will be offered only through the Ventra smartphone app. Both the day and weekend pass will be valid for 14 days from time of purchase, a change from the current 90-day validity of the weekend pass.

Preliminary work begins on second international rail bridge in Laredo
Initial engineering work has begun on a second railroad bridge connecting the U.S. and Mexico in Laredo, Texas. KGNS-TV reports contractors for Kansas City Southern were working in the area of the existing International Bridge late last week on the project. KCS representative Doniele Carlson told the station the project has not yet been finalized, although it held a symbolic groundbreaking in February and received permit approval from President Donald Trump in July [see “Digest: CN announces record year of grain movement …,” Trains News Wire, July 31, 2020]. The project is expected to take 2½ years.

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