Future on hold for 30th Street Station

Temporary fencing marks the west end of 30th Street Station, but a $60 million restoration project has been delayed because Congress has not yet authorized the funds.
Temporary fencing marks the west end of 30th Street Station, but a $60 million restoration project has been delayed because Congress has not yet authorized the funds. (ED HILLE / Staff Photographer)
Posted: May 04, 2014

Even as grand plans proceed for development around 30th Street Station, the iconic station will remain wrapped in scaffolding and netting for lack of funds for repairs, a top Amtrak official said Friday.

A $60 million restoration project, to repair the 81-year-old station's limestone, clean its facade, and waterproof the exterior, is included in Amtrak's nationwide five-year plan for construction and repairs.

But Congress has not authorized the money, and there is no indication when - or if - it will, Amtrak's chief of Northeast Corridor planning and performance, Drew Galloway, said Friday.

"We're ever hopeful," Galloway said, after addressing a gathering of commuter and transit advocates in Old City.

Scaffolding and netting were erected around the station last year to protect pedestrians from loose stonework on the station's facade.

Some exterior pre-restoration work will get done under a contract now out for bid, but the station's full restoration must wait for congressional funding.

Meanwhile, Amtrak is creating a new master plan for developing the station and its environs that likely will include proposals for building over the sprawling Penn Coach Yards that stretch north of the station.

Amtrak is working with Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust to redevelop the station and its University City neighborhood, and proposals are expected to be unveiled within two months, Galloway said.

"We are looking for smart, tasteful development of the area," he said.

The plan will also propose better access for buses, cars, bicyclists and pedestrians.

The station, Amtrak's third-busiest, was opened in 1933 by the Pennsylvania Railroad. It handles 120 Amtrak trains, 400 SEPTA trains, and 26 NJ Transit trains each weekday, and more than eight million passengers used the station last year.

But the station is isolated by a river, two expressways, a cordon of busy streets, a wasteland of parking lots, and the train yards.

Galloway spoke at a day-long conference on rail transportation hosted by the Rail Users' Network and the SEPTA Citizens Advisory Committee.


pnussbaum@phillynews.com

215-854-4587       @nussbaumpaul

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