Discussion relating to the PRR, up to 1968. Visit the PRR Technical & Historical Society for more information.
  by conductorbob
Before 30th St station was built in Philly, how was the north /south trains routed? Did all trains heading for Washington and west, pull and back out for their stop in Philly or was there a station where 30Th street is today? Thanks in advance. Conductorbob
  by timz
Probably all trains went to Broad St once upon a time, but that ended long before 30th St was built. In the 1920s most? all? NY-Washington trains would stop at West Philadelphia station, and most but not all? trains to the west would stop at North Philadelphia and then head west at Zoo.

In the 1920s there were three bridges across the Schuylkill. Trains out of Broad St toward Washington would take the north bridge and then curve left thru West Phila station; trains out of Broad St toward NY or the west would take the south bridge and curve right thru West Phila station.
  by ExCon90
Speaking of through trains through West Philadelphia, I have often looked through the tunnel of the former Grays Ferry Branch leading (compass) north where the suburban line curves east into the Upper Level of 30th St., and it seems that that's where the platforms for the through trains must have been, but it's hard to picture that there was enough room for platforms. It must have been claustrophobic.
  by 2nd trick op
People today tend to overlook the fact that, until Penn Station and the North River Tunnels were built, Philadelphia, rather than New York, was thought of as the Pennsy's "natural hub", and the perception did not change overnight. A number of sources show intermediate-distance passenger runs to places like Pittsburgh and Cleveland originating at Broad Street Station well into the 1920's.

I suspect that this was due in part to the development of more service to the south via Washington as Florida boomed in the Twenties; capacity to accommodate additional service from the west on the Main Line north of Philly was not all that great. And service to Buffalo always originated primarily at Washington, and was easily coordinated with the large volume of east-west service at Harrisburg. There were also two daily trains to Wilkes-Barre via the Schuylkill Branch, the last of which came off in 1941, and going waaay back, to Scranton via the Bel-Del and the DL&W.

What I would like to uncover is a plan of the Philadelphia Terminal area before the installation of the "mega-towers" at ZOO and ARSENAL. That must have been a very complicated arrangement.
  by edbear
Up until the advent of Amtrak, 30th St. Station, Philadelphia was PENNSYLVANIA STATION, just like the ones in New York, Pittsburgh and probably some other cities.
  by ExCon90
Officially, it was Pennsylvania Station (30th Street), to maintain consistency in station names from New York to Baltimore, but the locals always referred to it simply as 30th Street. My own feeling is that there would have been some public confusion with calling it just Pennsylvania Station because of the existence of Broad St., which was the flagship station in Philadelphia at the time 30th St. opened, and still thought of as such right up until 1952 (especially since its counterpart on the Reading was called Reading Terminal); I think a lot of people from out of town would assume Broad St. was meant if someone mentioned Penn Station without mentioning 30th St. Train crews called out "Pennsylvania Station, 30th Street," but that was about the only time you heard it.