If at 6 p.m. on Monday, October 13th, you suddenly find yourself surrounded by a singing ensemble of Edith Piafs as you head for the train home, don’t be alarmed. You’re simply being led to a very special performance by queer-centric performance cabaret troupe The Bearded Ladies and Philadelphia Gay Men’s Chorus (PGMC) on The Porch at 30th Street Station. Pull up a seat and let that train go by. Trust us, you’ll want to stick around for this.
It’s the easiest thing in the world to board an Amtrak train in Philly and be in New York barely an hour later. Would it be an even better process if Philadelphians could board that train in Center City?
Bob Previdi thinks so. A transit expert — and former spokesman for retired Council President Anna Verna — Previdi points out in an opinion piece for Philadelphia Business Journal there’s already a tunnel from 30th Street Station to Suburban and Market Street stations used by SEPTA. Just let a couple of Amtrak trains per hour use that tunnel, he says, and the results might be startling:
Earlier this week, we told you that United States Congressman Chaka Fattah wants to rename 30th Street Station after his barrier-breaking predecessor, William H. Gray III, making it the clunkily named William H. Gray III 30th Street Station that precisely zero people will call it. It’s a nice enough idea and not one that you’d expect people to get up in arms about. But you apparently have never met a train geek. Read more »
Congress cannot find a solution to the situation at the border, but it’s nice to know they can still agree on some things: On Monday, the bill that would rename 30th Street Station after Bill Gray passed in the House by voice vote. We told you last month about the plan to rename it William H. Gray III 30th Street Station.
Gray, who died last July, was the first African-American to serve as majority whip in the House of Representatives and the first to chair the House Budget Committee. The bill was introduced by Chaka Fattah, Gray’s successor, with the entire Pennsylvania House delegation signing on as co-sponsors.
“Renaming this historic station in Bill Gray’s honor would be a fitting tribute for a man and leader who did so much for the Philadelphia community—not only as a public servant, but as a businessman, friend, father, and minister,” Fattah said in a release last month. “His dedication to his constituency knew no bounds, but he was particularly passionate about investing resources in America’s infrastructure, and gave undue time and commitment to making 30th Street Station one of the finest train facilities in this country.”
“Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is the third-busiest Amtrak station in the U.S., trailing only New York City’s Penn Station and Washington, D.C.’s Union Station,” Technically Philly reports. More than 4 million Amtrak passengers passed through 30th Street Station last year — a number that doesn’t include additional use from SEPTA riders.
See Technically Philly’s report for a map of all Amtrak destinations and their relative busy-ness.
U.S. Rep. Chaka Fattah Wednesday introduced legislation to rename 30th Street Station after his predecessor, Bill Gray. The bill was cosponsored by every Pennsylvania House member, Democratic and Republican, because they’re politicians and politicians love naming things after themselves.
Fattah told the Inquirer he expects swift action on the bill, perhaps by August. And it’ll pass, and 30th Street Station will become William H. Gray III 30th Street Station, and everyone will still just call it 30th. It’s kind of like the N3RD Street of train stations.
As first reported by PhillyDeals, Amtrak has announced the members of the team that will, in the next two years, develop the joint master plan for the Drexel-funded development project around 30th Street Station.
The group will be led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the most influential architecture, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. They’ll work in partnership with Parsons Brinckerhoff, OLIN, and HR&A Advisors, but be guided by a “coordinating committee” consisting of representatives from (deep breath, now) Amtrak, Drexel, Brandywine Realty Trust, SEPTA, PennDOT, City of Philadelphia, New Jersey Transit, CSX Corporation, Penn, PIDC, Schuylkill River Development Corporation and University City District.
Will there be many meetings? There will be many meetings. (Feel free to send the leftover bowls of candy this way, guys.)
And just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more free outdoor fitness classes this spring, Fitness on The Porch rolled around: From now through the month of May, you’ll find a free fitness class happening on the south side of 30th Street Station every Thursday evening at 6 p.m.
Joe Biden is visiting Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station today, and Delaware’s favorite son showed up to sit in Amtrak’s new locomotive.
Veep Joe Biden sits in the front of Amtrak's new locomotive at 30th Street Station in Philly. Story upcoming. pic.twitter.com/Vb9xviCleH
— Kathy Matheson (@kmatheson) February 6, 2014
If you haven’t given up on AMTRAK or SEPTA regional rail after today’s ice storm and find yourself stranded at 30th Street Station and considering your second chalupa of the day, we’ve got a better suggestion.
JG Domestic is kicking off happy hour early today, starting at 3 p.m. Jose Garces’ restaurant attached to 30th Street Station will be offering smoked chicken wings (Apricot Chile Glaze, Whipped Rogue Creamery Smokey Blue) paired with a Sly Fox Helles for $10 or consider the JG Reuben (House corned beef, Swiss cheese, beer mustard, Sauerkraut).
JG Domestic [Foobooz]