Amtrak to run Autumn Express passenger train through Lehigh Valley for first time

First passenger train through Allentown,Pa. since 1967.

The mayors of Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, and Phillipsburg have joined forces and are trying to bring passenger train service to the Lehigh Valley.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski is inviting the public to join him this Saturday at 10:30am to show support for restoring passenger rail service to Allentown and the Lehigh Valley.
Amtrak’s Autumn Express will leave from New York City on Saturday and Sunday and accept passengers in Newark proceeding west through the Lehigh Valley to Harrisburg and then to Philadelphia before returning to Newark and NYC.
Pawlowski invites train enthusiasts to come to the intersection of Basin Street and Auburn Street by the railroad crossing in the city (map follows) and bring signs and posters or just be there to cheer and clap the first passenger train in decades to pass through Allentown.
According to Pawlowski, “the Autumn Express is a test run to evaluate the tracks and equipment. It is the first step in an effort to restore regular passenger rail service to the area, but it is a step in the right direction. Please join me on Saturday by the rail crossing along the tracks to greet the passengers and the train and show your support for the return of passenger rail to the region.”

Turns out there will be a train from New York into Allentown.

Less than a month after a Norfolk Southern official crushed the hopes of rail fans by flatly saying no to any chance that Amtrak could use its freight tracks for a commuter train from the Lehigh Valley to New York, Amtrak has scheduled two daylong excursion trains from New York into the Lehigh Valley, Oct. 29 and Oct. 30.

But before anyone runs out to book tickets for their daily commute into the Big Apple, they should know this train will be moving relatively slowly, will take hours to reach the Lehigh Valley and won’t even stop here.

Amtrak on Wednesday announced that its Autumn Express excursion train will pass through the Lehigh Valley for the first time. Yes, it will carry those willing to part with 9 over tracks that haven’t been traversed by passengers since the 1980s, and yes it will give rail enthusiasts a scenic experience of a past when trains rumbled through the Lehigh Valley daily.