Pennsylvanian (coach vs business)?

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Will be taking the Pennsylvanian in August (in the opposite direction) - what is the boarding procedure at 30th Street Station, and is the Business Class car in-between baggage and cafe car (as noted elsewhere)?
 
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Will be taking the Pennsylvanian in August (in the opposite direction) - what is the boarding procedure at 30th Street Station, and is the Business Class car in-between baggage and cafe car (as noted elsewhere)?

Yes, the train's coaches are in the same order. In term of boarding, the last time I rode it a couple of months ago BC passengers had to line up with everybody else. Used to be there was a separate line at the gate which was much better than getting into that massive line. So, word to the wise: show up early.
 

Stremba

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Yes, the train's coaches are in the same order. In term of boarding, the last time I rode it a couple of months ago BC passengers had to line up with everybody else. Used to be there was a separate line at the gate which was much better than getting into that massive line. So, word to the wise: show up early.
Or have a small child or a disability. Passengers with disabilities or small children can also use the priority boarding line. I used to be able to do so, but my darn son grew up and now is 15; I don’t think we’d qualify anymore
 
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Yes, the train's coaches are in the same order. In term of boarding, the last time I rode it a couple of months ago BC passengers had to line up with everybody else. Used to be there was a separate line at the gate which was much better than getting into that massive line. So, word to the wise: show up early.
Do they still have Red Caps at PHL? That might help you avoid the line,
 

Tom Booth

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Yes, the train's coaches are in the same order. In term of boarding, the last time I rode it a couple of months ago BC passengers had to line up with everybody else. Used to be there was a separate line at the gate which was much better than getting into that massive line. So, word to the wise: show up early.
But either way, the train at Philadelphia boards quickly. And BC seats are reserved so there's little benefit in early boarding.
 

PRR 60

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But either way, the train at Philadelphia boards quickly. And BC seats are reserved so there's little benefit in early boarding.

As far as I know, Business Class on the Pennsylvanian does not have pre-assigned seat like BC on the corridor. So, while you are (in theory) guaranteed a seat, if you want a good seat, boarding early would be helpful.
 

Bob Dylan

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As far as I know, Business Class on the Pennsylvanian does not have pre-assigned seat like BC on the corridor. So, while you are (in theory) guaranteed a seat, if you want a good seat, boarding early would be helpful.
Everytime I've boarded the Pennsy @ 30th St. Station there has been a long line @ the Stairs and the Gate Dragons have been in place to keep you from skipping the Line.

Biz Class is definitely Worth it on this Route, and since you'll ride " backwards" part of the way ( NYP-PHL) or PHL West, hopefully you'll get a Seat facing forward.
 

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My last experience with a Gate Dragon in Philly is that they line people up on the opposite side of the seats alongside of the train gate. God forbid anyone at all sits down. The line went back to the men's room. In my hour wait there, I sat in a seat adjacent to the top of the stairs.

When I got up when they let us down, I was not going to head to the back of the line. One of them snapped at me "Were you in line ?" I said "I was sitting right there for an hour". She snapped back "Next time wait in line". I yelled back at her, "I'll sit right there". She came back with "Whatever".

Never submit to a bully.
 
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When I got up when they let us down, I was not going to head to the back of the line. One of them snapped at me "Were you in line ?" I said "I was sitting right there for an hour". She snapped back "Next time wait in line". I yelled back at her, "I'll sit right there". She came back with "Whatever".

Never submit to a bully.

And, make note of her name and contact Customer Service.
 

cirdan

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They will not allow you out on the platform until boarding begins, but if you want, you can wait upstairs inside the doors leading to the platform. BC will board first. Waiting upstairs will get you first crack at a seat selection.
Not being allowed on the platform may depend on who is on duty.

I once asked very politely and explained I was a railfan and wanted to get some shots of the consist and they just said, whatever, and let me go down onto the platform without any questions. They just told me to not board the train and to come back up when I'd finished whatever I was doing.

This was more than 10 years back mind you, and a very quiet day. Maybe security has tightened since then.
 
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I'm surprised by all the talk about lines and gate agents at 30th street. I've never boarded there but I usually get off and grab some food from the food court and am able to just walk back onto the train, no lines or ticketing agents involved. The board says which track it's on; I don't see why a person boarding at 30th street couldn't just go down the stairs and get on. It's there for half an hour during the engine change so it's not like time is an issue so long as you don't mind looking for an empty seat in the dark.

Have I just been insanely lucky?
 

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I'm surprised by all the talk about lines and gate agents at 30th street. I've never boarded there but I usually get off and grab some food from the food court and am able to just walk back onto the train, no lines or ticketing agents involved. The board says which track it's on; I don't see why a person boarding at 30th street couldn't just go down the stairs and get on. It's there for half an hour during the engine change so it's not like time is an issue so long as you don't mind looking for an empty seat in the dark.

Have I just been insanely lucky?

All I was doing was transferring off a Keystone from Princeton Jct onto a Regional for DC on a Sunday morning. From then on, I'd do that transfer at Trenton and avoid the Kindergarten antics of these creatures.
 
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All I was doing was transferring off a Keystone from Princeton Jct onto a Regional for DC on a Sunday morning. From then on, I'd do that transfer at Trenton and avoid the Kindergarten antics of these creatures.
Huh, maybe the engine change on the Pennsylvanian takes long enough that they get bored and go harass someone else. I never get off Regionals / Keystones at 30th street since the stops are short so I guess that's how I've dodged them.
 

Bob Dylan

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I'm surprised by all the talk about lines and gate agents at 30th street. I've never boarded there but I usually get off and grab some food from the food court and am able to just walk back onto the train, no lines or ticketing agents involved. The board says which track it's on; I don't see why a person boarding at 30th street couldn't just go down the stairs and get on. It's there for half an hour during the engine change so it's not like time is an issue so long as you don't mind looking for an empty seat in the dark.

Have I just been insanely lucky?
Yes, sometimes the Gate Dragons @ the Stairs act like they're guarding Fort Knox !😉
 

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I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. Seems to me that they're just doing their job and facilitating the boarding process. I've boarded there countless times and always observed a speedy and orderly process.
 

Bob Dylan

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I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. Seems to me that they're just doing their job and facilitating the boarding process. I've boarded there countless times and always observed a speedy and orderly process.
Lucky you, but why do they "bark " @ people and are they really necessary? ( you ride an elevator down from the Lounge @ 30th St. to the Platform without a Guide)

Most Amtrak stations don't do this Security Theater, and of course Millions of Commuters daily in Big Stations don't need them either!
 

Amtrak25

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I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. Seems to me that they're just doing their job and facilitating the boarding process. I've boarded there countless times and always observed a speedy and orderly process.

Why is it their job to line people like cattle when they can just go down and wait for the train like they always did. There is nothing to facilitate. It doesn't happen in Newark. It should not happen in Philly.
 

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I had never thought about this again in 3 years until this very minute and after reading all these posts. In October 2019 on a road trip from Georgia to the Catskills, we decided to leave the car at the the hotel in Lancaster, take Amtrak to NYP Keystone for a 2-night stay and return Amtrak to LNC to get the car and return home. I wanted to ride the Acela first class since I had not been on an Acela train in many years so I booked Acela NYP-PHL with a direct connection to the Pennsylvanian #43 PHL-LNC. Although booked as a legal connection in PHL it was very close since Acela ran late and Pennsylvanian was boarding. In our rush to find the connecting train departure, we inadvertently rushed toward "the head of the line" (I admit it) at the boarding stairway and were immediately admonished rather rudely by the "Gate Dragons". I did not know their names until now. :)
 

Amtrak709

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I had never thought about this again in 3 years until this very minute and after reading all these posts. In October 2019 on a road trip from Georgia to the Catskills, we decided to leave the car at the the hotel in Lancaster, take Amtrak to NYP Keystone for a 2-night stay and return Amtrak to LNC to get the car and return home. I wanted to ride the Acela first class since I had not been on an Acela train in many years so I booked Acela NYP-PHL with a direct connection to the Pennsylvanian #43 PHL-LNC. Although booked as a legal connection in PHL it was very close since Acela ran late and Pennsylvanian was boarding. In our rush to find the connecting train departure, we inadvertently rushed toward "the head of the line" (I admit it) at the boarding stairway and were immediately admonished rather rudely by the "Gate Dragons". I did not know their names until now. :)
P.S: It had always been our intention to use the PHL Metropolitan Lounge to wait (using the elevator directly to the platform) as I had done in the past, but the late Acela and close connection made that impossible.
 
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Yes, sometimes the Gate Dragons @ the Stairs act like they're guarding Fort Knox !

Lucky you, but why do they "bark " @ people and are they really necessary? ( you ride an elevator down from the Lounge @ 30th St. to the Platform without a Guide)

Most Amtrak stations don't do this Security Theater, and of course Millions of Commuters daily in Big Stations don't need them either!
Wonder why RPA doesn't make this an issue.
 
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I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. Seems to me that they're just doing their job and facilitating the boarding process. I've boarded there countless times and always observed a speedy and orderly process.
It's not obvious to me that the boarding process they're facilitating is even necessary in the first place - what purpose does lining up serve? I've never seen anything like it abroad, including at far busier stations than 30th Street, and SEPTA doesn't seem to have found it to be necessary at 30th street either. I'm also not aware of its ever having been used back in the Pennsylvania Railroad days, although that was well before my time.

To this naive observer it just looks like an unnecessary hassle at best, even when the people running it are in a good mood.
 
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