30th St. - Bah!

Posted: May 06, 1991

Here's a perfectly reasonable idea that the folks at Amtrak ought to be taking more seriously: Change the name of 30th Street Station - so lacking in grandeur, so literally pedestrian, so evocative of the dankest aspects of the Philadelphia soul - to Pennsylvania Station. After all, the building, which opened in 1933, was originally named Pennsylvania Station. At a minimum it could be called "Pennsylvania Station - 30th Street," which is indeed what the old Pennsylvania Railroad used to call it.

It's only natural that this proposal, which has the support of 60 members of the Pennsylvania House, has come up as Amtrak is completing a splendid restoration of the station. Philadelphian Charles J. Wery has written: "To continue to use 30th Street as the name is to memorialize a street where no great battle or medical discovery or military encampment took place . . . . The irony of it all is that Amtrak's New York City, Newark and Baltimore stations are all named Pennsylvania Station, while we in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, utilitize a name more appropriate for a trolley car stop than a truly superb building."

Would the name change confuse people? We don't see why. Many Philadelphians would no doubt continue calling it 30th Street Station. But even the most obtuse out-of-towner would get off at the right stop after hearing the conductor call out: "Now arriving, Penn-syl-va-nia Station, Philadelphia."

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