Lancaster, PA (LNC)
A popular stop on the Keystone Service, Lancaster station is also the gateway to beautiful Amish Country. A recent renovation ensures the building is ready to serve future generations.
53 McGovern Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17602
Annual Station Ridership (2016): 560,257
- Facility Ownership: Amtrak
- Parking Lot Ownership: Amtrak
- Platform Ownership: Amtrak
- Track Ownership: Amtrak
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).
The Lancaster station, built by the Pennsylvania Railroad, opened in 1929 in the northern section of the city, about a mile from downtown. Constructed of red brick, the classical revival building features a center block flanked by recessed wings. The center block includes the main entrance at the ground level, which is covered by a glass and metal marquee to protect passengers from inclement weather. On the second level, concrete columns frame three tall, rounded windows, while the parapet above showcases a clock.
Inside, the main waiting room features high ceilings, hanging Art Deco light fixtures and a skylight that allows natural light to flood the space. Antique wooden benches line the lobby, while a staircase leads passengers down to the platform level. In recognition of its contributions to the city’s development and its intact historic fabric, the station is listed as a contributing resource to the Lancaster City National Register Historic District.
Efforts to renovate and redevelop the station were ongoing for more than a decade and stemmed from the 1998 Lancaster Regional Transportation Station Master Plan, which called for numerous interior and exterior repairs and enhancements. Five years later, Lancaster County hired design firm Cooper-Cary to draft a plan that included the creation of additional parking, a separate waiting area for bus passengers, commercial spaces and new Amtrak offices, as well as upgrades to the station’s heating system, installation of an air conditioning system and the realignment of the station’s driveway to meet North Duke Street.
Following design review and permitting, PennDOT and the Lancaster County Transportation Coordinating Committee approved $12 million in federal, state and county funding for the project, and construction kicked off in summer 2009. As the project neared completion in 2013, Amtrak, PennDOT, the Lancaster County Planning Commission and the Lancaster County Transportation Authority launched the “Capstone” project to address the much anticipated rehabilitation of the passenger areas and improvements to the exterior stairways and platforms.
In the waiting room and concourse, the marble wainscot, terrazzo floors and vintage light fixtures were cleaned, while plaster surfaces were repaired and painted in accordance with the station’s historic color scheme. More than a dozen wood benches in the waiting room were refurbished to restore their original luster. Lancaster-based Brent L. Miller Jewelers generously donated six new vintage-style clocks for installation on the platforms, pedestrian concourse and at the station entrance. The gift was made in memory of the company’s founder and namesake, who often rode the train on business trips between Lancaster and New York. Outside, the bus turning area from McGovern Avenue was also modified to provide easier access to the bus canopy.
Federal grants supported many of the station improvements, which all together cost approximately $17.7 million. The Federal Transit Administration’s Bus and Bus Facilities program, which advances intermodalism, provided $3 million. An additional $7.2 million, matched with $1.4 million in local funds, came from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation Enhancements program, which promotes the rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities. Lancaster County, Amtrak and PennDOT also contributed significant funding towards the multi-year project.
In November 2014, the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County recognized Amtrak and its project partners with a C. Emlen Urban Preservation Award for excellence in historic preservation for their effort to rehabilitate the station. Among the additional award recipients were the Lancaster County Commissioners, Lancaster County Transportation Authority and architectural firm Cooper Carry, Inc.
Lancaster’s history is as interesting and grand as its train station. The city began as Hickorytown, a small crossroads village, in the early 1700s. Early in the colonies’ history, it was the largest inland city, and now has one of the largest National Register Historic Districts in the country, including the train station. The city served as the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799 until 1812, and even as the capital of the American colonies for one day on September 27th, 1777, when the Continental Congress fled the captured Philadelphia, and before they moved on to York.
The city, named for Lancaster in England, takes its symbol from the House of Lancaster – the red rose. Locals take this history to heart, and even built their county prison in the 1850s to resemble Lancaster Castle.
Lancaster has always been a travel hub. In its earlier days, the city sat on the edge of the American frontier, and its hardware store was one of the last supply stops for pioneers traveling westward. Both the Conestoga wagon and the Pennsylvania rifle, two staples of the westward expansion, were made in Lancaster County. Likewise, the city was the terminating point of the country’s first long-distance, paved road, 1795’s Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike.
The city has also made many other eclectic contributions to American culture. Milton Hershey began his career in chocolate in Lancaster, where he perfected his skills before founding his eponymous chocolate company. Frank W. Woolworth, similarly, opened his first five-and-dime store on Queen Street, and although his company closed in 1998, it was an icon of American life for an entire century.
The Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian are financed primarily through funds made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Station Building (with waiting room)
- 30 Short Term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park for the day only not overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Accessible Payphones
- Accessible Platform
Accessible platform is a barrier-free path from the drop-off area outside the station to the station platform.
- Accessible Restrooms
- Accessible Ticket Office
- Accessible Waiting Room
- Accessible Water Fountain
- Baggage Storage
Baggage storage is an area where passengers may store their bags equivalent to 'left luggage' in Europe. A storage fee may apply.
- Bike Boxes
- Checked Baggage
- Dedicated Parking
- Enclosed Waiting Area
- Help With Luggage
- High Platform
A high platform is a platform at the level of the vestibule of the train with the exception of Superliners.
Self-service lockers are available in select stations for passenger baggage storage
- Long-term Parking Spaces
Number of spaces available for Amtrak passengers to park overnight. Parking fees may apply.
- Parking Attendant
- Pay Phones
- Shipping Boxes
- Ski Bags
- Wheelchair Lift
Wheelchair lift is a platform-mounted lift for loading passengers from low platforms onto trains that do not have onboard ramps.