• Why does Amtrak still serve North Philadelphia & Cornwells Heights?

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by NortheastTrainMan
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Sun Aug 01, 2021 7:49 am If more Amtrak's were to stop at PJC, I would probably say have mainly Keystones do that. There are some Keystone trains that layover at PHL for close to 20 minutes and I think time like that can be reduced and traded in with a stop at PJC. It would also be good to have some more NER trains stop at PJC-yes, the university contributes to decent Amtrak ridership at PJC.

As for Cornwells Heights and N. Philly, yes, it helps to have those select Amtrak trains stopping there as there are probably an good number of people who have to head to NWK and NYC to business related events. They want to be able to get a very fast ride to and from NYC from a station close by without having to backtrack to 30th Street which adds a lot of time. Temple University is very close to North Philly Station and students who are doing internships in NYC a few times a week probably can benefit from Amtrak stopping at N. Philly.

As for Aberdeen, more people probably board MARC trains than board Amtrak trains. It is not surprising that it is part of the MARC/Amtrak cross honoring agreement. Eventually, MARC is supposed to increase service north of BAL and obviously be extended to Newark and maybe even Wilmington. It would be nice for some more Amtrak trains to stop in Aberdeen. If you live in and around Aberdeen and need to get to Philly and NYC, you have very few Amtrak options. You are far enough away from driving to Baltimore that you might as well just drive to Wilmington to head north. I knew somebody who lived in Churchville who did that a lot when she took Amtrak.
North Philadelphia (PHN) is relatively close to Temple University, however the neighborhood PHN is located in is entirely different, not in a good way. Not that Temple is necessarily a safe haven, but PHN is a few notches down. Also SEPTA has has three rail stops in walking distance of Temple's campus & dorm buildings, Cecil B Moore & Susquehanna-Dauphin on the Broad Street Subway, and Temple University station on the Regional Rail line(s). All three of those stations have far more traffic than PHN, and are closer. PHN is approx 1 mile from Temple's main campus and not in the nicest neighborhood.

Moreover, of the students that may go to New York / NYC surrounding areas, it's more likely they'll head to 30th Street for intercity rail at best than go to PHN given my reasons above. Also I'm not sure how many students would be able to regularly afford intercity rail multiple times a week. Most may opt for a Mega Bus or another bus. I took Amtrak every now & then in college and I got looked at like I was crazy "why are you paying so much? Take a bus!" I would say I'm paying for peace of mind and I like trains. Plus it wasn't very frequent for me.
Perhaps in the future the area around PHN will improve, but it's not there yet.
But that's another conversation for another day. Let's not get off track (pun may or may not be intended :wink: )

Cornwells Heights, I can see developing more. It has a 1,600 space parking lot built by PennDOT and is close to a big interchange on I-95. I see potential in CWH, it could be the Philly Area Metropark. Whether or not it will be actualized is another story. I'm still baffled at the low level platforms there, but high platforms at other stations Amtrak doesn't serve.

Aside from that you made some pretty good points. I'm not too familiar with NEC south of Philly. Only went to DC via train once, but I know MARC has limited service beyond Baltimore Penn. I like your thinking of cutting down dwell time of certain Keystones and adding a stop at PJC instead.

Thanks for chiming in.
  by NortheastTrainMan
The EGE wrote: Fri Jul 30, 2021 9:11 pm For reference, FY19 annual ridership numbers of stations served only/primarily by the Northeast Regional (and Keystone Service). 37k corresponds to 100 average daily on/offs (ie, 50 daily boardings).

Kingston: 175k
Westerly: 46k
Mystic: 29k
New London: 164k
Old Saybrook: 70k
Bridgeport: 95k
New Rochelle: 96k
Newark Airport: 168k
New Brunswick: 4.4k
Princeton Junction: 32k
Cornwells Heights: 3.1k
North Philadelphia: 2.0k
Newark DE: 12k
Aberdeen: 35k

New Brunswick, Cornwells Heights, and North Philadelphia are definitely the outliers - they average less than 10 daily boardings. Newark DE averages about 18 daily, and then there's a big jump to Mystic and Aberdeen at ~50/day.

What truly surprises me is Kingston, with ~240 boardings per day. It's in a relatively rural area, with not much around but URI. There must be some strange ridership generator - perhaps there's a sizable contingent commuting from Providence for classes?
Maybe at Kingston the passengers spawn out of thin air like the people in the train simulators :P
  by njtmnrrbuff
Yes, Cornwells Heights should be a full length high level platform. I agree that that station has the potential to be like the Metropark of the Greater PHL area. CWH is obviously located along I-95 and there is a Rt. 140 very close by.

I agree that Kingston is in a semi-rural area. It is obviously extremely close to the university of RI plus other schools aren’t super far away. Newport, RI is accessible to Newport. Kingston should definitely remain an Amtrak Station but for Northeast Regionals only.
  by GooStats
as a resident of Lower Bucks, I would love to see more Amtrak trains stop at Cornwells. Its easier than going to Trenton (and free parking is a plus)
  by njtmnrrbuff
[quote="GooStats"]as a resident of Lower Bucks, I would love to see more Amtrak trains stop at Cornwells. Its easier than going to Trenton (and free parking is a plus)[/quote]

I certainly can understand that. Plus Trenton has a very high crime rate and that would worry a lot of them from driving there just to catch an Amtrak train. There are plenty of people who live in Northeast Philadelphia who would benefit from more Amtrak trains stopping at Cornwells Heights.
  by R36 Combine Coach
Might be simpler to park at CWH and pay the intermediate SEPTA local fare to Trenton for connection to a
Regional for points north.
  by STrRedWolf
daybeers wrote: Tue Aug 03, 2021 12:26 pm North Philly is one of the worst stations in the Amtrak system. It's not ADA accessible because Amtrak shut the elevators claiming too much vandalism, but they also haven't washed any graffiti or replaced any windows or lights in years. This is a good review of it.
Who's responsible for the station? Amtrak or SEPTA?
  by markhb
Stepping down the river from Philly for a moment...
NortheastTrainMan wrote: Fri Jul 30, 2021 6:18 am
rcthompson04 wrote: Thu Jul 29, 2021 11:40 pm I believe North Philadelphia has historically had some New York bound commuters connecting via the Chestnut Hill West line. Cornwells Heights is more interesting to me. Did a PRR train to New York stop in that area previously? It also strikes me as interesting the Newark Delaware and Downingtown PA are served by Amtrak trains. When Coatesville is upgraded I wonder if it makes sense to drop Downingtown especially if the station is moved further east closer to Exton.
I know Newark, DE is pretty lightly served. It looks routinely desolate. Not spooky like North Philly imo, but still quite desolate. I’ve seen videos of Downingtown but I haven’t rode a train on the Keystone Corridor yet.
I've recently looked into NRK because of knowing a young person who is considering UDelaware, and given that large college campus right next door I'm surprised that it gets so little service from Amtrak or SEPTA.

(I also looked at the Google Streetview for the North Philadelphia station and... yeah, I get it.)
  by ExCon90
The state of Delaware is responsible for all SEPTA service south of Marcus Hook, and SEPTA provides the service Delaware is willing to pay for. Delaware has gradually increased the level of service they're willing to pay for, so things may improve.
  by cle
Princeton and the surrounding area is a hugely affluent place. Yes the university, but a lot of commuting, business travel and leisure. A real mix.

If anything, it should be served more. It's roughly equidistant to Philly (v NYC, gets Philly TV etc) and has about 3 trains a day. I know people who commute to Philly, and also who need to go to DC. Morgan Lewis have a big office in all, for one. Blackrock too. Many more.

New Brunswick has the uni, a sizeable population, if less affluent, and J&J.

Princeton could do with some business specific trains, even 1-2 Acelas per day, but then hourly Keystones. New Brunswick could be more sporadic regionals.

The two do not need to be served by the same trains.

Another solution would be a highest speed category of NJT which went on to Philly from Trenton, which would add a lot of benefits, and much cheaper for Philly journeys from Princeton/NB.

North Philly / Cornwalls Heights - pointless, should be cut. Those other regional examples are largely solely served by Amtrak, excluding the Metro North ones, so ridership is of course higher. Especially Kingston - it's Newport's station!
  by rcthompson04
I would prefer if North Philadelphia and Cornwalls Heights were cut for Princeton. That would probably serve Pennsylvania better giving a means for Main Line people to commute to Princeton.
  by 7express
I think 79 (the Carolinian) makes Princeton Junction a stop in 1 direction. Aside from that train and a few Keystone service trains does anything else stop at Princeton Junction, New Brunswick, or North Philadelphia anymore?

Speaking of low service: does Newark, Delaware still only have that 1 train that services the station or did it get more??
  by njtmnrrbuff
Train # 89 stops in PJC daily and honestly, it shouldn’t be. It shouldn’t be making any of the NJ stops that see minimal ridership at all. There are lots of employment centers along Rt. 1 in Princeton Twp so that would be another reason to have more Amtrak’s stop there.