|Service type||Commuter rail|
|First service||March 3, 1981|
|Last service||November 13, 1981|
|Service frequency||Two daily round-trips on weekdays|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm)|
The Parkway Limited was a short-lived commuter train operated by PennDOT and Conrail between Pittsburgh and Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 1981. The train was created in response to construction work on the section of Interstate 376 known as Parkway East. The train was funded by $2 million of a $10 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration.
The service had two departures daily in each direction: early morning inbound runs from Greensburg and Pitcairn, with corresponding outbound returns in the late afternoon. To operate the service PennDOT and Conrail acquired ten refurbished coaches from Amtrak, the national passenger railroad operator. Amtrak itself had acquired the ten coaches in 1971 when it took over most private-sector long-haul passenger services. The ten coaches had been built by Budd and Pullman-Standard between 1940 and 1954. Amtrak declared the cars surplus after it switched from steam heating to head end power. The trains used Penn Station in downtown Pittsburgh, becoming the first commuter rail service there since 1964.
The new service began running on March 3, 1981. Initial patronage was good, with the first trains standing-room only, but by summer ridership had dwindled. The second inbound trip from Pitcairn, which carried at times as few as five passengers, was dropped. To compensate Amtrak began stopping the Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh—Altoona) at Pitcairn (the train already stopped at Greensburg). Service at Manor in was discontinued in favor of Irwin, 2.4 miles (3.9 km) closer to Pittsburgh. In addition, a move to mainline trackage in Westmoreland County shaved 12 minutes off the schedule.
PennDOT canceled the train in November, citing insufficient ridership. From a high of 600 at the train's launch daily ridership had dropped below 200.
- Fisher, Ken (March 3, 1981). "Commuters gear up for Parkway work". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-09-08.
- Grata, Joe (February 26, 1981). "Vintage Equipment Set To Go On PennDOT 'Parkway Limited'". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "'Parkway Limited' Races Against Time". Pittsburgh Press. March 1, 1981. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Fisher, Ken (March 2, 1981). "Commuter train rolls into town". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Grata, Joe (March 3, 1981). "Parkway Alternates Do The Job". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- "Commuter train to start new schedule". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 29, 1981. Retrieved 2010-09-10.
- Bowman, Lee (November 14, 1981). "Riders Bid Farewell To 'Parkway Limited'". Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved 2010-09-10.