Philadelphia's beautifully restored 30th Street Station, at 30th and Market streets, is a major stop on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor line. The 90-minute Philadelphia to New York trip is about $49 each way, when bought in advance. Amtrak's high-speed Acela trains run frequently between Washington and Boston, always stopping in Philadelphia. You can shave 20 minutes off the Philadelphia–New York trip, but it'll cost you about $130 each way. The trains cater to business travelers and are equipped with conference tables and electrical outlets at every seat.
You can travel by train between Philadelphia and New York City on the cheap by taking the SEPTA commuter line R7 to Trenton, New Jersey, and transferring to a NJ Transit commuter line to Manhattan. Ask for the excursion rate. The trip takes an extra 30 minutes, but costs $24.25one-way.
Amtrak also serves Philadelphia from points west, including Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Chicago.
Philadelphia's fine network of commuter trains, operated by SEPTA, serves both the city and the suburbs. The famous Main Line, a cluster of affluent suburbs, got its start—and its name—from the Pennsylvania Railroad route that ran westward from Center City. All SEPTA commuter trains stop at 30th Street Station and connect to Suburban Station (16th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard, near major hotels), and Market East Station (10th and Market streets), near the historic section and beneath the Gallery at Market East shopping complex. Fares, which vary according to route and time of travel, range from $4 to $10 each way. These trains are your best bet for reaching Germantown, Chestnut Hill, Merion (site of the Barnes Foundation), and other suburbs.
PATCO (Port Authority Transit Corporation) High Speed Line trains run underground from 16th and Locust streets to Lindenwold, New Jersey. Trains stop at 13th and Locust, 9th and Locust, and 8th and Market streets, then continue across the Benjamin Franklin Bridge to Camden. It's one way to get to the Adventure Aquarium or the Susquehanna Bank Center; New Jersey Transit has a shuttle bus from the Broadway stop to the aquarium on weekends and to the center during concerts. Fares run from $1.25 to $2.70. Sit in the very front seat for a great view going across the bridge.
You can get train schedules and purchase tickets at the 30th Street, Market East, and Suburban stations or online from the SEPTA Web site. Several smaller stations are open for ticket sales in the morning. You may also purchase tickets on the train, but will pay a surcharge if you're departing from a station that sells tickets. PATCO schedules can be obtained from their station at 16th and Locust streets. Tickets for both SEPTA and PATCO train travel may be purchased with cash or a major credit card.
Although reservations are not always necessary, it's a good idea to purchase Amtrak tickets in advance, particularly for travel during peak holiday times. SEPTA and PATCO reservations are not necessary.
Amtrak (800/872–7245. www.amtrak.com.)
New Jersey Transit (973/275–5555. www.njtransit.com.)
PATCO (215/922–4600. www.ridepatco.org.)
SEPTA (215/580–7800. www.septa.org.)