Amtrak Announces Pope Plan: Beefed-Up Service, Reservations Required
Amtrak is beefing up its service into Philadelphia for the pope’s visit, the agency said Friday, but there will also be temporary restrictions on travel, and the ripple effect is expected to be felt throughout the Northeast Corridor between New York and Washington D.C..
Also, they’re closing the bathrooms at 30th Street Station that weekend. (Don’t worry: There’ll be some portable facilities positioned outside.)
According to Amtrak:
• Service will operate mostly normally during the week leading up to the pope’s visit — Monday, Sept. 21 through Friday, Sept. 25 — though extra coaches will be added to some trains to accommodate added passengers
• Starting Friday, September 25, through Monday, September 28, reservations will be required on all Acela Express, Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains — though Keystone Service has been entirely reserved for the weekend of Sept. 25.
• Amtrak will increase frequency of trains to and from the city, operating Philadelphia-centric “Event Extra” service on Saturday and Sunday to keep people flowing in and out of the city in relatively smooth fashion. (See the attached schedule to view when trains are running during the weekend.) Tickets for all Amtrak trains are available now at Amtrak.com, and passengers are advised to book as early as possible.
• Throughout the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak will suspend maintenance activities, pre-position rescue equipment along the heaviest-traveled routes, and continuously share real-time dispatching information with regional transit agencies like SEPTA — all to facilitate traffic flow.
30th Street station will undertake some special measures, as well.
• For security’s sake, SEPTA service to and from Levittown, Marcus Hook, Wilmington, Croydon and Cornwells Heights, will operate from the lower-level concourse where Amtrak trains usually arrive and depart. “Additional station personnel and ambassadors will be on hand to assist, but passengers should expect long lines and crowded conditions,” Amtrak said in a statement.
• Taxi service and rental cars will not be available to/from 30th Street Station Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27.
• Station restrooms will be closed to the public, but “facilities” will be available outside.
• Food court vendors will be open and accessible from the Market Street entrance.
More information can be found at Amtrak’s regularly updated Papal Visit website.
Follow @JoelMMathis on Twitter.