Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Capital Red Rose Corridor

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Type  Commuter rail
Opened  TBD
Owner  Capital Area Transit
Stations  6
Line length  57,936 m
Electrification  Overhead line
Locale  South Central Pennsylvania
Services  along the Keystone Corridor
Track gauge  4 ft 8 ⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Terminis  Harrisburg Transportation Center, Lancaster station

Capital Red Rose Corridor, formerly known as Corridor One (corporately styled CORRIDORone), 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.


Project background

The Capital Red Rose Corridor project seeks to implement regional rail service along existing rail facilities within the lower Susquehanna Valley, linking Lancaster with Harrisburg. Original planning of the corridor would have extended service along a 54-mile stretch between Lancaster, Harrisburg and Carlisle, Cumberland County; however, the Harrisburg to Carlisle segment was dropped from the proposal in 2005.

Capital Area Transit (CAT) and the Modern Transit Partnership (MTP) are working together to provide the region with a true multi-modal transportation system; a way to connect bus routes, local roads, highways and other means of transportation. A major component of this system is regional rail service along Corridor One . Planning and analysis activities related to the proposed Corridor One regional rail system have been ongoing since 1993. Five studies were conducted:

  • Phase I Transit Alternatives Study, 1993.
  • Phase II Regional Transit Alternatives Study, 1996.
  • Transportation Investment Study, 1998.
  • Federal Transit Administration New Starts Application, 2001.
  • Transitional Analysis, 2002.
  • The result of these studies was the identification of a regional rail service known as Corridor One, that would be constructed from Lancaster to Harrisburg, and serve as the locally preferred alternative for improving mobility and accessibility in the greater Harrisburg area. The locally preferred alternative assumes the development of regional rail service within the Corridor One area as an alternative to automotive passenger vehicle travel to reach major employment centers, such as downtown Harrisburg, as well and other destinations within the corridor.


    The project would use existing Amtrak rail line within the Keystone Corridor to provide passenger service to Lancaster. This service would utilize the existing passenger stations in place at:

  • Harrisburg Transportation Center, connection to CAT buses
  • Harrisburg International Airport (proposed, not yet constructed)
  • Middletown
  • Elizabethtown
  • Mount Joy
  • Lancaster, connection to Red Rose Transit Authority buses
  • No major physical changes to the existing stations east of Harrisburg are envisioned for the project.

    Corridor alignment

    In 1999, the Keystone Corridor was formally recognized as a "designated high speed corridor" by the Federal Railroad Administration, as part of the TEA-21 transportation bill. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will fund half of the project's costs, and Amtrak will fund the other half. Once the project is completed, and regional commuter rail is fully operational between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Amtrak plans to cease servicing smaller stations along the corridor which will be supplemented by Corridor One and SEPTA trains. This will allow for:

  • 90-minute travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on express trains
  • 105-minute travel time on normal trains
  • Raising track speed to 110 mph (180 km/h) where possible
  • Increasing the number of daily round trips from 11 to 14
  • Replacing diesel trains with electric on Keystone service
  • Project schedule

    The planned phases as originally planned were:

  • Preliminary engineering and environmental studies phase – completed August 2006
  • Final engineering design phase – est. 2009
  • Construction phase – complete late 2010 (est.)
  • Lancaster to Harrisburg service – operational late 2010 (est.)
  • However, in 2011, following numerous studies and the passage of a number of years, the Modern Transit Partnership determined that there was neither the political will nor adequate funding to implement that first leg at that time. No further study of commuter rail is planned.

    Project details

    In early 2005, the MTP ratified an agreement with the Cumberland County Commissioners to terminate service in Harrisburg—as opposed to continuing across the river into Cumberland County—at their request. In the future, with support from Cumberland County, Corridor One will most likely extend to the west shore of the Susquehanna River, where a large segment of the commuting base for the region resides. Corridor One will not be a light rail system; Corridor One will employ commuter rail trainsets, similar to those used by SEPTA's regional rail network, as Federal Railroad Administration regulations prohibit light rail vehicles from routinely sharing tracks with conventional Amtrak, commuter rail, and freight trains. The Amtrak stations at Harrisburg and Lancaster have high level platforms which are at the same level as the floor of rail cars to facilitate quick boarding and alighting of passengers.


    Capital Red Rose Corridor Wikipedia