30th Street Station, Philadelphia
When I visit Philly, I love getting there by train. About an hour from Manhattan, so even worth the day trip. The station in Philly is very close to the center, so a short ride with a cab or a nice walk and you're here!
In my previous review of 30th Street Station, I noted how to get from the main concourse to the Market-Frankford Subway Line, and to the Mega & the Bolt Bus Line. In this review I'll discuss parking and regional rail.
Taxi service from the main concourse is found upon exiting at the 29th Street (east) side of the station. This area is also the place for passenger drop-off & pick-up, as well as short-term parking.
30th Street Station is located at the corner of Market Street and 29th Street, the latter being just west of the Schuylkill River. If you turn north from Market Street (or Chestnut Street or Walnut Street or JFK Blvd), get in the far left lane, and soon you'll see the Amtrak sign shown in the photo below. The entrance for pick-up, drop-off, and short term parking is at the sign, but it's clearly obscure on this point -- thus I include arrows to make the correct turn more precise. Check rates before choosing a place to park, as long-term may NOT be a less expensive option.
After entering this drive, you can turn to the right for short term parking, or to the left for pick-up & drop-off. If you turn left for the latter, you then veer to the left for places to stop for a few minutes. There are USUALLY empty parking spots -- all with meters -- near the entrance, so just pick one and plug the meter. There are no free spots solely for passenger drop-off, but you MIGHT be able to do this if the driver stays with the car and doesn't stop for too long. If doing a quick pick-up, it might be best to tell the person in the station to stand by the angel statue (IMPOSSIBLE to miss), and then plug a meter for five minutes while you go inside. And do pay the meter - you do NOT want a parking ticket in Philadelphia!
There are three Septa stations for regional rail in Center City Philadelphia: 30th Street, Suburban, and Market East. All are located along Market Street, and the last two are at (respectively) 17th Street and 11th Street. Traveling between any of these stations and any of the outer stations of Septa Regional Rail (see link) is the same; the only question is where in Center City you want to start or end your trip. If you arrive on Amtrak, you can use your Amtrak ticket for a free ride to either of the Center City Rail Stations. Note that this is NOT the same as riding the Market-Frankford Subway Line.
The corridor to the tracks for Regional Rail is found in the northwest corner of the main concourse, to the left of exit labelled '9' and the rental car office. The sign (see photo) is pretty clear. Just up this corridor are information displays, a ticket office, and the stairs up to the rail tracks. There is also a vending machine for NJ Transit Rail -- one can ride Septa to Trenton, transfer to the NE Corridor towards New York City, and then get to almost anywhere in New Jersey.
It would be nice if Philadelphia had a fully centralized transportation center, at which you could get on board an Amtrak train, or a commuter train, or an inter-city bus, or a subway, or a trolley, or a city bus -- and always have a roof over your head as you do so.
The closest thing that Philly has to such a situation is the Amtrak 30th Street Station, where all Amtrak trains arrive at & depart from, where all regional rail lines go through, and where subways, trolleys, several city buses, and a couple of inter-city bus lines (but NOT Greyhound) are close by. Although signage is pretty good, and I've never had a problem getting between these various transport modes, I've found it never hurts to have descriptions AND photos of what a visitor will experience when going between one type of travel and another.
For ease of description, I'll presume the visitor is starting at the main concourse of this place, built in the classical revival architectural style, with an extremely high ceiling and an information desk in the center. The building is just north of Market Street, and set between 29th Street (east) and 30th Street (west). The east side has a large monument to railroad workers killed in World War Two -- this bronze statue of an angel holding up a deceased man makes a convenient way to know which exit goes to 29th Street on the east.
Both the north and the south sides have numbered exits that go down to their respective tracks -- odd numbered on the north side, even on the south. Which train is leaving out of which track is stated on a multitude of signs. Note that, although the train from Philly to Atlantic City is operated by NJ Transit, it departs on an Amtrak line.
Innumerable restaurants and shops are just south of the main concourse. You find restrooms and Club Acela by going to the North Concourse (no longer used for much of anything) through the exit labelled '5'.
You would THINK that Amtrak 30th Street Station would have a direct connection to the Septa subway stop called "30th Street." No such luck -- but it isn't that far from the main concourse. The exit on the far right of the south side (in effect, #10) states (see photo) that this is the way to "Subway Trolleys Buses." Exit here, go through a corridor with a variety of food places, and, at the end, you'll see a sign showing which door to exit for the subway (see photo). As you exit this door (see photo), you'll see the entrance to the Septa station with both the Market-Frankford Subway, as well as several trolley lines. When you get to this entrance (see photo), you'll find info at a kiosk and a desk, as well as a sign stating the location of the Mega Bus and Bolt Bus.
What if you want to get to the latter two? Just exit the main concourse directly onto 30th Street (ie, the west side, ie, the side without the angel statue) and you'll see signs stating you are at the campus of Drexel University (see photo). Walk down this street towards the Drexel signs and, on the right, you'll find the departure sites for these bus lines. Note that these spots are NOT indoors.
The 30th Street Exit is also the place to get to the bus stop for over a dozen city bus lines.
At 30th Street you will find Philadelphia's main train station. Providing SEPTA services for Philadelphia and its wider conurbation, it is also home to AMTRAK services to Baltimore, New York, Washington DC and all over the United States. NJ Transit services link this station to New Jersey, including Atlantic City.
It has a wide selection of services and shops so you can pick up something to eat and drink for your train journey and a large, enclosed waiting area.
Dominating the main concourse of the station is the Angel of Resurrection; this sculpture depicts an angel lifting a fallen soldier and is a memorial to 1,307 railroad employees who lost their lives during World War II. This stunning artwork is by Walker Hancock and stands more than 36 feet high.
TICKET OFFICE HOURS :
Monday to Friday : 06:00 - 22:00
Saturday : 08:00 - 20:00
Sunday : 08:00 - 19:00
We took the Amtrak in from Lancaster PA into Philly. 30th St Station was right in the heart of Philadelphia and when we arrived we were right where we needed to be to see it all. 30th ST station has outlets into many surrounding cities and states.
It's also a pretty cool looking place, reminded me of big city train stations I see on TV :)
Even if you fly in- hop in and check out the cool architecture!
This fine, elegant train station was built in 1934. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. No mere historical relic, it serves over 20,000 commuters and travellers daily. The shops are generally open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm. Located at 30th and Market Streets, on the west bank of the Schuylkill River.
30th Street Station, located at 30th and Market, was built between 1929 and 1933 and was part of a city overhaul known as The Philadelphia Improvements. Currently (2005), they are building a grand skyscraper directly adjacent to the station designed by an Italian architect that seems to twist at the top of the structure. This building will house various offices, but the lower levels will be for Amtrak. 30th Street Station itself is no quitet quite Grand Central Station in terms of impressive architecture, but it's very nice.
It's only $24 roundtrip to New York City.
You can catch Amtrak trains to various parts of the country from here and Septa trains to the suburbs.
The public pransportation in Philadelphia is pretty good but a little confusing in some places. It is that it is not as interconnected as it could be and by national standards its expensive. For a tourist it may be confusing to figure out which subway lines connect with which buses and commuter lines (trains that start with R are the regional commuter lines to the suburbs). Especially problematic is getting to and from the Amtrak 30th Street Station, so most people just take a cab or the "Market-Frankford" line of the subway and then have to figure out whre to make a connection. The 30th Street Station is a little isolated so you can't easily walk there.
Have a bite to eat while you're at 30th Street- there's some really good food kiosks. I recommend Delilah's Southern Cuisine. Open 7 days 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. The black eyed peas and candied yams are delicious and authentic! A platter with 2 sides will run you about $10. If you're on the train and have to make a quick connection, call your order ahead from your cell- 215-243-2440.
If you go to Philadelphia, travel in a civilised way and go by train. You'll arrive in the grand 30th street station, where you can admire this magnificent bas-relief.
There are frequent connections to New York and Washington with both Amtrak (fast services) and SEPTA (local services), also to Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and beyond.
It's relatively easy to get from NYC to Philly by train. You just have to change trains once. From Penn Station in NYC you take a train into Trenton, NJ, and from there you switch onto a train that takes you to several stations within the city of Philadelphia. The trip takes about two hours each way and is quite costly at about $30 roundtrip.
Amtrak runs their new high speed stuff to 30th Street station, which is right downtown and is worth seeing in itself. Buses (cheap) drop off at the Convention Centre in Chinatown. If you drive, leave the car in a garage and break out the wallet.
Feet if you are staying downtown. Ah yes, here they don't drive the car to the mailbox on the corner. SEPTA is Philadelphia's much maligned mass transit system which is actually quite decent.
You can rent a car right at the airport, or , if arriving in another city (NY or Washington) take the train NY - Washington, which stops in Philadelphia...beautiful Union Station
We arrived by train into 30th Street Station. This is a beautiful old style railway station. Worth a visit even if you're not traveling by train.
Philadelphia is a good city for walking.