RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.

 

Todd's Railfan Guide to
PHILADELPHIA PA
Railroad Stuff to see Around Philadelphia

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So OK, what about train stuff in Philadelphia?

Philadelphia, at least compared to Baltimore, offers much more for the railfan.  Most notable is the 30th Street station, which is rated number 3 of the tourist attractions for the whole city by one of the sites linked on the introduction page.  Then there is the ZOO wye, Norristown, and for the transit fan, the 69th Street Terminal.  There are many large and small yards.  And then when you're tired of the west side of the Delaware River, you can go over to Camden, New Jersey and spend a day.  Covering the area can easily fill up a weeks worth of railfanning to "do it right".

I guess one of the best places to start if you have limited time is the 30th Street station.  For one, you can get there by train, and secondly, a large portion of the trains coming in, out, or though Philadelphia pass thru here.

Just up the river from 30th Street, is ZOO, where a gigantic wye exists, and is the junction between the North East Corridor and the Harrisburg line.

Fairmount Park is kind of interesting spot, for since the Conrail split-up in 1999, it is the junction between NS and CSX.  This is now CSX's link to the north since the old B&O ended here in Philadelphia.   It's one exit away from ZOO on I76 (exit 341) - the Schuylkill  Expy (ZOO is exit 342).  I don't believe Amtrak, however, comes thru here.

If you're into transit, Philadelphia was one of the few fortunate cities in America to resist the GM push to "busify" all of their routes.  That was lucky for us as well as the people of Philadelphia (ya'll missed out if you weren't around in the 60's and early 70's for the transit action around here)!  You have your choice of SEPTA streetcars, subway, and commuter trains.  If you were lucky, you may have also caught the trackless trolleys, or electric busses running.  SEPTA has both updated PCC Cars and Kawasaki's running around with both poles and pantographs (the Kawasaki's were Japan's answer to the PCC).

   
Rebuilt PCC #2333 at the B&O grade crossing in Darby, and one of the pedestrian crossing gates there.

Local Philly Railroads:
-- CSX - formerly the B&O.... also took over parts of Conrail in the 1999 split-up
-- Norfolk Southern - formerly the Pennsylvania RR and the Reading in these here parts, later the Penn Central and then Conrail
-- Amtrak - has trains on the former Pennsy lines, the NEC (Northeast corridor) and the Harrisburg Line
-- SEPTA, the transit king


Stations / Depots:
-- 30th Street Station (30th St and Market St)
-- The 69th Street Transportation Center
-- The ex-Reading Terminal
(12th St and Market St)
-- North Philadelphia ex Reading Station (near Broad Street and Lehigh - less than desirable neighborhood)
-- North Philadelphia ex PRR Station
(also near Broad Street and Lehigh)

Yards:
-- CSX, NS, and Amtrak are your choices for the Philadelphia area....
---- Amtrak's yard at the 30th Street Station
----
Greenwich Yard
      Originally a Pennsy yard, it is now a shared assets yard in SE Philly
---- NS's Pavonia Yard in Camden NJ

On the "other side" of the river in New Jersey / Camden:
-- PATCO's commuter rail line to Lindenwold
-- New Jersey Transit's River Line light rail line
-- The Southern RR Company of New Jersey - based in Winslow
-- The Wilmington and Western's New Jersey operations
-- NS's Pavonia Yard in Camden NJ


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NEW 12/19/2009
Last Modified 18-May-2012