Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia 30th Street Station’

Biden to Help Amtrak Celebrate 50 Years

April 29, 2021

President Joseph Biden will participate in a ceremony on Saturday to mark Amtrak’s 50th anniversary.

The White House said the event will be held at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station where Biden also is expected to promote his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.

Biden became known as “Amtrak Joe” during his time as a senator when he commuted on Amtrak between Wilmington, Delaware, and Washington on a near-daily basis.

As vice president under Barack Obama Biden continued to sometimes ride Amtrak

Amtrak is expected to showcase some of its special livery locomotives during the Philadelphia event, including the Salute to Veterans ACS-46 and two P42DC locomotives that have received 50th-anniversary inspired liveries.

The latter includes the Midnight Blue No. 100 and No. 46, which has the current livery with a large 50th anniversary herald.

Other locomotives are slated to receive heritage and/or specially designed schemes, but those units have yet to be released for revenue service.

The Midnight Blue unit was released from the Beech Grove Shops near Indianapolis last weekend and was the trailing unit on Monday night’s Capitol Limited that departed Chicago en route to Washington.

In a related development, Amtrak said Thursday it is selling 50 percent off tickets to mark its anniversary.

The fares are available on select routes and come with a maximum fare of $50 per segment.

Reservations must be booked between April 28 and May 5 for travel between June 2 and Nov. 14.

More details and bookings can be done at Amtrak.com. Terms and conditions apply.

Bus Schedules Change in North Carolina; Buses Replace Trains to Atlantic City

October 22, 2020

Eastern North Carolina Thruway Service changed on Oct. 20 at certain cities with the changes in effect through Aug. 20, 2021.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said buses 6089 and 6090 are suspended while Buses 6189 and 6190 are canceled on Tuesdays.

Bus service is suspended at Goldsboro, Kinston, Havelock, Morehead City and Swansboro.

Bus service will continue at Wilmington, Jacksonville, New Bern, Greenville and Wilson.

In an unrelated development New Jersey Transit will substitute buses for trains on weekends between Philadelaphia (30th Street Station) and Atlantic City, New Jersey.

The bus substitutions will continue through Dec. 18 due to work on the Delair Bridge. The work will affect rail service between 4 a.m. on Saturdays and 6:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Passengers boarding at 30th Street station will board the bus on JFK Boulevard across from the station’s 30th Street entrance. The bus will depart at the scheduled train time.

Those traveling on a bus to 30th Street Station will disembark on  the driveway on the 30th Street side of the station right outside the doors.

Philly Station Project Gets Leader

June 23, 2020

Amtrak said it has selected the North American affiliate of Australia infrastructure investment firm the Plenary Group to lead the project to develop Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.

The passenger carrier said the Plenary team, which also includes Gilbane Building Co. of Rhode Island, was chosen based on its proposal and it record of project delivery, extensive experience with complex mixed-use properties and adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

Officials are still talking about financial terms for the project, which is part of the 30th Street Station District Plan involving long-term redevelopment of 175 acres around the terminal.

More Station Waiting Rooms Closed

April 28, 2020

More Amtrak station waiting room closing and other adjustments have been made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The waiting room in Independence, Missouri, has been closed until further notice.

Amtrak’s Missouri River Runner trains will continue to stop and passengers will have access to the boarding platforms.

In Philadelphia, the William H Gray, III 30th Street station has a reduced number of entrances and modified station hours

Acess to the station is limited to a single entrance in the 30th Street Portico, the SEPTA concourse from 30th street and through the parking garage.

The station will be closed between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to all non-Amtrak personnel while workers clean and disinfect the facility.

In California, changes have been made to station operations along the Pacific Surfliner corridor.

Closed stations include San Juan Capistrano and Solana Beach although trains will continue to stop there.

The Anaheim and Irvine station waiting areas are open, but the Amtrak ticket window is closed, until further notice.

Stations in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Oxnard, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, Fullerton, Santa Ana, Oceanside and San Diego Downtown (Santa Fe Depot) are operating with modified hours.

Los Angeles Union Station is only open to ticketed passengers.

Sign Placed Renaming 30th Street Station

July 5, 2019

Signs are going up noting that Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station has been renamed for the late William H. Gray III.

Gray, was a member of Congress from Philadelphia between 1979 and 1991.

The first sign at the station honoring Gray was installed on June 27 and a second will soon be placed.

A 2014 act of Congress renamed the facility as the William H Gray III 30th Street Station.

Plans also include the installation of  a statue of Gray and a memorial plaque.

Officials have not determined yet where those will be placed.

Gray, who was the first African American to chair the House Budget Committee and serve as majority whip, the third-ranking position in the House, died six years ago at age 71.

He helped raise millions of dollars to renovate 30th Street Station in the 1980s.

Philly 30th Street Interior Added to Historic Register

April 23, 2019

The Philadelphia Historical Commission has placed the interior of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station to its local historic register.

The station is just the fourth interior space to be named to the register in the city and the designation will protect it from modification.

The nomination of the station was recommended by a consultant to the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia in consultation with Amtrak.

The nomination cited the interior’s historical and architectural significance, and its status as one of Philadelphia’s “most iconic and trafficked public spaces.”

The station was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad between 1929 and 1933.

It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Amtrak is planning to update the station as well as develop the area around it.

Atlantic City Service Suspended Through May 24

April 4, 2019

Rail service to Atlantic City, New Jersey, is expected to remain suspended through May 24 as host railroad New Jersey Transit installs positive train control on the route.

Although Amtrak does not provide its own service to Atlantic City, it does sell tickets for passengers wishing to connect to trains headed there.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said it would resume selling tickets to Atlantic City once service resumes next month.

Amtrak passengers said passengers on Acela Express or Northeast Regional trains can still reach Atlantic City by disembarking at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia and going to the upper level of the station where SEPTA service is located.

Passengers should take a SEPTA train to the Jefferson Station and then disembark. They should walk across the street to the Greyhound station and board Bus 551, which travels to Atlantic City

SEPTA will honor Amtrak tickets to Atlantic City via this route during the NJ Transit service suspension.

Another alternative would be for passengers to take the SEPTA Market/Frankford subway service, located across 30th street from Amtrak 30th Street Station, to the 8th and Market Street Station.

From there, passengers will ride the PATCO rapid transit train service to Lindenwold Station for the Route 554 bus to Atlantic City and intermediate locations.

Philly ClubAcela Lounge Being Renovated

February 10, 2019

Starting Feb. 18, the ClubAcela lounge at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station will undergo renovations during three evenings through Feb. 20.

The lounge will continue to be open for normal hours of operation: 6 a.m. to – 9 p.m. daily.

Flip-Flap Board Nostalgia Will Abate in Time

February 7, 2019

Reader Greg Knapp recently wrote to ask why some folks in Philadelphia are obsessed with the removal of the Solari board at 30th Street Station.

You might think that someone had suggested moving the Liberty Bell to Washington or New York.

Knapp wrote that given the challenges that intercity rail faces in the United States, the end of this tradition is minor. He is correct of course.

Much of this story has been driven by nostalgia and the fact that the retired Solari board was the last of its kind.

Featuring a flip-flap mechanism, it was a marvel to behold. When train times were updated the board came to life with numbers and names whirling around at a fast clip.

If you looked carefully, you might see names of trains that are gone and destinations Amtrak no longer serves from Philly.

The many news stories I’ve read quoted people as saying they would miss the sound of the flaps flipping over.

I can understand that to a point even if I’ve never lived on the East Coast nor traveled all that much in the Northeast Corridor.

I’ve come to associate the whirling flaps and the noise they made with a way of life that is long gone in the Midwest where I’ve spent most of my life.

One of my fondest memories is sitting in New York’s Penn Station on a Saturday night back in the early 1980s and watching that station’s Solari board in action while hearing the station public address announcer give train boarding announcements every few minutes.

Except in Chicago, even the large Midwestern union terminals have never had the level of train service that continues to exist in the NEC, particularly if you take the existence of commuter trains into account.

The retirement of Amtrak’s last Solari board might have gone largely unnoticed beyond a news story or two but for the efforts of a Philadelphia congressman who made an issue of its removal.

Online petitions imploring Amtrak to keep the board drew 2,500 signatures.

A Philly company chimed in to say it could design a digital train board for 30th Street that would approximate the look and sound of a flip-flap board.

Nonetheless, I would not be surprised if the passion many have for a digital flip-flap board cools off as those clamoring for it move on to other concerns.

The news media outlets that kept this story alive will move on to other stories. The loss of a tradition made for good copy for a while, but not indefinitely.

Amtrak has been noncommittal about a digital flip-flap board for 30th Street and it might quietly tell the company offering to build it one “thanks, but no thanks.”

The digital board in Philadelphia won’t have the same character of a flip-flap board, but the trains continue to run as they always have and passengers are finding their trains just fine.

Solari Board May Return to 30th Street Station

February 7, 2019

The plot surrounding the fabled Solari board at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station continues to twist and turn with the latest development being a report that Amtrak might return the board to the depot after all.

The Philadelphia news website Billy Penn reported this week that Amtrak is requiring that the Solari board be used in the station in some capacity.

That mandate is reportedly part of a request for proposals for a $37 million development project at the station, which is formally known as William H Gray III 30th Street Station.

The board was removed from the station in late January and news reports have said that it will be displayed at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Billy Penn reported that an Amtrak official told it that the developer must “utilize the Solari Board as part of the master development.”

The website also said that the Solari board that was removed last month was not the original one installed in the 1970s but a replacement board installed sometime between 1986 and 1990.

Removal of the Solari board prompted a public protest that was led by a Philadelphia congressman.

Many people waxed nostalgically about watching the flaps of the board turn over when train information was updated and how pleasing that clicking sound was.

The latest report indicated that Amtrak is unsure how it will use the Italian-made Solari board in the Neoclassical station, which was built in 1933.

The passenger carrier will apparently ask the developer for its opinion of how to best use the board, which after its removal was transported to the museum in Strasburg.

That board was the last of its kind used by Amtrak. It has been replaced with a temporary video display.

Amtrak plans to eventually employ a large “video wall” to display train information.

Workers are replacing wiring with fiber optics and once that is complete will install display screens.

After software testing and personnel training, Amtrak expected the display to be in operation by sometime in March.