The Mirror's editorial in support of increased passenger train service for Altoona and other communities in western Pennsylvania ("Consider additional train trip," Oct. 22) is right to stress the potential benefits of more trains.
Connecting the cities and towns between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg with additional passenger rail will provide more and better choices for business and leisure passengers.
It will also provide an economic stimulus to communities that have lost many of their travel options over the last fifty years.
The Mirror is also right to remind its readers that we must continue to stress the value of the one train (Amtrak's Pennsylvanian) that currently serves the Pittsburgh-Harrisburg-Philadelphia-New York City route.
The commonwealth has recently begun supporting this train for the 12-month period that began on Oct. 1.
As the editorial notes, we need to be vigilant to make sure that the necessary funding continues in future years.
Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail (www.wpprrail.org) is advocating for not just the two trains that you suggest, but three trains in each direction on the route between Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and New York City.
We believe that economies of scale with three trains will result in a more efficient use of existing infrastructure than with just one train.
Amtrak ridership increased nationwide last year by 1.0 percent, and passenger revenues by 4.2 percent.
The Pennsylvanian is a special success story.
Ridership on it went up 3.3 percent, and revenues by 12.4 percent.
Passenger rail is the safe, convenient and green travel option for the future.
Michael C. Alexander
President, Western Pennsylvanians for Passenger Rail