The recent announcement that Amtrak, the national passenger railroad, may restart passenger service from Allentown to New York has spawned rumors that passenger trains could once again run through Lebanon on the existing Norfolk Southern tracks.

Passenger trains last rolled through the city in 1963, and Amtrak says a resumption is not in the cards.

Shortly after President Biden’s massive infrastructure proposal was announced, Amtrak released its 2035 plan to expand passenger rail service nationwide, with a focus on the northeast U.S., including reviving passenger service between Allentown and New York.

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Rumors, apparently originating with Norfolk Southern employees, have since been circulating that a passenger run through Lebanon could be coming back, too.

Amtrak spokeswoman Beth Toll told LebTown yesterday that it’s not going to happen.

“[O]ur corridor vision plan does not currently feature any new train service through Lebanon, PA. The closest service is the Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian, with stops in Lancaster and Harrisburg. The Pennsylvanian connects in Pittsburgh with the Capitol Limited that serves Chicago. The corridor vision keeps that service in place. Other new proposed services near Lebanon are Reading and Allentown with trips to New York City.”

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An email to Norfolk Southern had not been answered by publication time.

Amtrak currently has three passenger stations – Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Elizabethown – that are about an hour or less drive from Lebanon. Those stations offer passenger service and connections to points up and down the east coast, and west to Chicago.


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