Lancaster City One of the Ten Fastest Growing Passenger Rail Hubs
The Lancaster Train Station was built in 1929 by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It is currently owned by Amtrak.
Anyone who has tried to secure a train ticket from Lancaster to Philadelphia and back knows that they are becoming harder and harder to come by. And, it is not unusual when picking someone up at the station to see the passenger drop-off turn into a parking lot full of idling vehicles.
Since 1997, the ridership at the Lancaster Station has grown 257 percent, rising from 207,073 riders then to 740,587 last year. This growth has begun to garner the attention of politicians and think tanks who have been looking at the role of public transportation. Lancaster City now finds itself among the ten fastest growing passenger rail hubs in America. Incidentally, Harrisburg finds itself on the same list, making this spur from Philadelphia of particular interest to planners.
In March 2013, the Brookings Institution weighed in with a paper that discusses whether rail service as it currently exists can continue to meet soaring demand. As the paper notes, sixty-nine of America's 75 metro areas that had rail service in 1997 have experienced increases in ridership. Twenty of those have seen their traffic double. And of those, eight, including Lancaster and Harrisburg have seen their ridership triple.
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