30th street PM rush boarding patterns

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30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby train2 » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:49 pm

During the afternoon rush hour at 30th street is there any predicability to what platform certain destination trains board if nothing unusual is taking place? I realize the two center tracks drop down and duck to the south. But I believe there are two tracks that head west. Of those two tracks is there any pattern such as locals on the north track and express on the next track south, etc.

And please give me primer on what tracks are numbered what way at 30th if you can.

Any help appreciated.
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby andrewjw » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:10 pm

train2 wrote:During the afternoon rush hour at 30th street is there any predicability to what platform certain destination trains board if nothing unusual is taking place? I realize the two center tracks drop down and duck to the south. But I believe there are two tracks that head west. Of those two tracks is there any pattern such as locals on the north track and express on the next track south, etc.

And please give me primer on what tracks are numbered what way at 30th if you can.

Any help appreciated.


The origin/destination of the train on the 30th St side of the system determines the track.

The inner two tracks (2 and 3) on the outer platforms drop down before ZOO and run across the Schuylkill to North Philly, so those tracks are used for trains arriving and departing the Trenton and CHW lines. The outer two tracks (1 and 4) run towards Overbrook and are used for Paoli/Thorndale trains and Cynwyd trains. The center platform does drop down and turn southwards, used for Elwyn, Wilmington, and Airport trains.

If you are boarding an east/northbound train you need to know where it came from to know what platform it will be on. If the train originates at 30th St it can come in on either direction on the middle platform or on the outer platform on the Suburban-bound side.
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby ExCon90 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:11 pm

And the two center tracks are designated 5 and 6, so the order of tracks from south to north as you walk from the main concourse are 1, 2, 5, 6, 3, 4. (I've often thought that the signs for Tracks 5 and 6 should also read "Tracks 3 and 4 Straight Ahead.")
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby train2 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:10 pm

Based on your description, the Thorndale trains, such as the Flyer, will always board on the northern most track, or against the wall in the station? I consider the north track of Septa to be the one closest to the side of the concourse that is nearest to Zoo/Jersey/NYC and not the Wilmington side. I am not talking about the Amtrak platforms here, but since the Septa crosses Amtk at 90 degrees I use their track to determine north and south side of the station.
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:23 pm

EC90 - We both remember when the upper level platforms at 30th Street used letter designations:

Platform/Stairway A - Tracks 1 and 2
Platform/Stairway B - Tracks 5 and 6
Platform/Stairway C - Tracks 3 and 4

These designations were removed by SEPTA at some point during the mid to late 1980s - likely at
the time when the Center City tunnel opened unifying the RRD system along with the R routings.

What makes the tracks at 30th Street Upper Level confusing to some is that the track numbers
are not in order - using the platform letter designations helped for directing riders to the proper
platform and to the lines serving them. This platform identification should have been retained.

T2: Which line - and which train do you plan to ride?

If you are traveling to the Reading side and you are lucky enough to take a PM Peak train that
starts at 30th Street coming out of Powelton Yard that would be the best option because you
would be guaranteed a seat and have enough time to get settled in before your train gets to
Suburban Station. This is a good option to have if it works for you.

Traveling to the Pennsy side at 30th Street could be problematic depending on which train that
you take - shorter routes such as the Airport and Cynwyd Lines do have more available seats.

I travel through CCP at times between the Trenton and Lansdale-Doylestown Lines - on those
trips I transfer at the first available CCP station to have better seating options for the second
ride - going to L-D I will transfer at 30th Street and to Trenton at Jefferson Station.

Another thing to remember is that SEPTA tries to use the same tracks for each peak train so
that commuters remember how to find them and know where to board. They will announce
specifically there is a track change when it is necessary.

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Last edited by MACTRAXX on Wed Apr 11, 2018 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:54 pm

T2: Boarding locations at 30th Street for -

Paoli/Thorndale trains board normally on Track 4 - Platform C.

Wilmington/Newark, Media/Elwyn and Airport Line trains board on Track 6 - Platform B.

If you plan to use the Great Valley Flyer the best boarding location for that train is either at
Temple University (where it begins - this train comes out of Roberts Yard or Wayne Electric)
or at Jefferson Station to again be assured of good seating. The GVF first stop is Paoli west.

With the PM Peak fare pass and ticket checks you can only change between platforms if you have
a pass - with a ticket it will be punched N for the Reading Side and S for the Pennsy Side. Once a
ticket is serviced it must be used on a train in the proper direction - if you leave the "closed" area
you will risk having to purchase another ticket to reboard meaning as example having to change
between platforms at one of the CCP stations. With a valid pass changing platforms is no problem.

If you have a ticket and only cross or stay on the same platform riding in the same direction and
not have to exit out of what is the "paid" area would also work if a transfer is needed.

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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby train2 » Wed Apr 11, 2018 6:30 pm

I am not worried about riding at this point. Lets try it this way. I am standing on a platform of 30th Street facing east toward Suburban Station, what are the tracks from left to right by number and what trains arrive on each of these tracks?
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby AlexC » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:09 am

train2 wrote:I am not worried about riding at this point. Lets try it this way. I am standing on a platform of 30th Street facing east toward Suburban Station, what are the tracks from left to right by number and what trains arrive on each of these tracks?

4, 3, 6, 5, 2, 1.

Tracks 4 & 3 will be the Paoli/Thorndale, Cynwyd and Trenton Lines. Those two tracks head depart westerly, and turn north immediately.

Track 6 is going to a Media/Elwyn or Wilmington train. This track departs westerly and dips, turning south immediately - all will stop at University City first.

Track 5 is going to be arriving from Media/Elwyn or Wilmington. It departs east and heads to Suburban Station and to the Reading side.

Tracks 2 and 1 is arriving from Paoli/Thorndale, Cynwyd and Trenton Lines. They depart east and head to Suburban station and to the Reading side.

The exact position on the platform is designated A or B. I'm sure this was done to keep the crowding down.

It's been quite some time since I was a regular 30th Street passenger, but I boarded R7 / Trenton Line trains I think from track 3, but occasionally 4 when it was pulled by an express. I think Paoli trains were generally from 4. To keep confusion down, they kept them on those tracks, but I'm pretty sure the track configuration allows boarding from either side.

Arriving on the R7 / Trenton line it was always 1 or 2. Probably favored one, but I don't remember.
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby ekt8750 » Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:57 am

AlexC wrote:The exact position on the platform is designated A or B. I'm sure this was done to keep the crowding down.


30th St doesn't have A & B sections like Suburban and Mark...errr...Jefferson does.
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Re: 30th street PM rush boarding patterns

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:07 am

ekt8750 wrote:
AlexC wrote:The exact position on the platform is designated A or B. I'm sure this was done to keep the crowding down.


30th St doesn't have A & B sections like Suburban and Mark...errr...Jefferson does.

ekt: Yes-the three platforms at 30th Street Upper have one boarding location which is near the
main staircases leading to the central corridor down below.

AC (and Everyone) - I will use the A-B-C platform designations in my added boarding descriptions:

Platform A-Tracks 1 and 2:
Trains from Trenton normally arrive on Track 2. Chestnut Hill East, Fox Chase and (originating)
Norristown trains start at the regular boarding location from Track 2. Track 1 has arrivals from
Paoli/Thorndale and Cynwyd; departures to Lansdale-Doylestown regularly use Track 1.

Some Norristown trains turn at 30th Street on Track 2 that are not thru-routed.
There are PM Peak trains that come out of Powelton Yard that begin on either Tracks 1 or 2 such
as the afternoon push-pull trains to either Warminster or West Trenton.

Platform B - Track 5 has arriving trains from Airport, Wilmington/Newark and Media/Elwyn lines
and boards trains to Warminster, West Trenton and Norristown (thru-routed from WIL or MHK).
All Airport-bound trains will board on Track 6.

Platform C-Track 3: Chestnut Hill West and Trenton trains. Track 4: To Paoli/Thorndale and Cynwyd.

All of our replies should answer most if not all questions about where SEPTA RRD trains board at
30th Street Station. MACTRAXX
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