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Amtrak Adding Extra Trains for the Visit of Pope Francis to the United States
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Amtrak Adding Extra Trains for the Visit of Pope Francis to the United States

by Michael BeenerAugust 24, 2015

Heavy travel expected between New York, Philadelphia and Washington

PHILADELPHIA – Amtrak is taking steps to prepare for an influx of rail passengers on the Northeast Corridor during Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in September and will operate extra trains with added capacity to meet the anticipated demand. With papal events scheduled in New York, Philadelphia and Washington, Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor is uniquely suited to carry passengers to and from the various locations.

With more than a million people expected to attend an outdoor Mass and other events associated with the World Meeting of Families on September 26 and 27, the attached schedule includes additional frequencies and special stops for that weekend. As Philadelphia 30th Street Station is expected to be a focal point for regional transportation, passengers should expect large crowds and some non-typical station procedures.

While plans are subject to change, outlined below is a summary of Amtrak’s preparations for the Pope’s visit.

Operations

With some minor exceptions, operations in and around New York and Washington will be normal, although passengers should expect large crowds during the Pope’s scheduled events. Amtrak service will operate on a normal weekday schedule Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25, with extra coaches added to some trains to accommodate additional demand.

Starting Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28, reservations will be required on all Acela Express, Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains. As outlined in the attached timetable, Amtrak will operate Philadelphia-centric “Event Extra” service on Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27, in some cases utilizing equipment from our commuter partners.

To better ensure efficient train movements for all users of the NEC, Amtrak will suspend maintenance activities, pre-position rescue equipment to quickly respond to any disabled trains, and continuously share real-time dispatching information with our regional transit agency partners.

30th Street Station

To ensure public safety and aid in crowd control, some special procedures will be implemented at Philadelphia 30th Street Station during the weekend of the papal visit. In addition to Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains, SEPTA service to/from Levittown, Marcus Hook, Wilmington, Croydon and Cornwells Heights, will operate from the lower-level/main concourse. Specific boarding procedures and recommended points of entry will be announced at a later date. Additional station personnel and ambassadors will be on hand to assist, but passengers should expect long lines and crowded conditions.

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 eateries will be open and accessible from the Market Street entrance.

Tickets for all Amtrak trains are available now at Amtrak.com. Passengers are advised to book as early as possible to ensure availability. Additional announcements with more detailed information will be made in the weeks to come and posted to our custom web page, Amtrak.com/papalvisit, which will be updated regularly.

About The Author
Michael Beener
Michael Beener