Friday 26 January 2018

Planning Day 22, Summer 2018: Beauty and the Beast

In the past, we've only blogged trips on Little Rabbit's Planning. After a couple of days of migraine-inducing marathon planning for Summer 2018, I set myself a limit of 1 hour/day and decided to blog the process.

From Wikipedia: Interior of 30th Street Station

Today, I turn my attention to those fiddly connection issues that go with train journeys. On Monday July 19, Mike and I take the train from Philadelphia to Montreal. Like this.

  • 4.00 - A train departure from 30th Street Station, Philadelphia at 5.14 am means that we certainly need to be up by 4am.
  • 4.30 - And we certainly need to be on the sidewalk outside the apartment by 4.30. Probably our best bet for getting to 30th Street is to walk three blocks (in the dark) to 19th street trolley station and ride two stops to 30th. At the very best this could take 15 minutes. NOTE TO SELF: make sure to get the tokens in advance. Also, print the E-ticket for this trip.
  • 5.00 - 5am is the absolute last moment for arriving at a station you don't know and finding your platform by 5.14. Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station is beautiful, though I’m not sure we’ll be awake enough to fully appreciate it. I may drop by the day before to have a look around if I can.
  • 5.14 - Philadelphia to New York Penn Station on the North East Regional Service, calling at Trenton (5.45) and Newark (6.22). NOTE TO SELF: buy breakfast and preferably lunch and snacks the day before. I’ve made a note on my packing list to bring a small cooler bag because we may often need to carry food around. The question is whether we should also bring a thermos for coffee/tea?
  • 6.40 - Arrive at New York's Penn Station

Update on May 26th - we just called Amtrak because we thought we hadn't given them our passport details for the Canadian border crossing yet. Turns out we had, but in the process we learned that the Adirondack will now be leaving from Grand Central instead of Penn Station, about 40 minutes earlier than previously scheduled. Way to keep us updated, Amtrak!

So anyway, most of what appears below (circles of hell and all that) is cancelled and the new plan is:
  • 6.40 - Get to Grand Central asap, bearing in mind that it's bound to take 30 minutes, however we do it. Find the platform.
  • 7.34 - Depart Grand Central on the Adirondack.

A visit to some of the more appalling circles of hell?

New York’s Penn Station is well known to be a disgrace to civilization, a thing to which even the term ‘monstrosity’ is scarcely applicable, since it’s more of a tangled, ill-defined morass. It’s actually worse than Euston Station in London, and that takes some doing. I don’t put up with Euston Station. I camp out in the magnificence of St Pancras just up the road until it’s nearly time for my train to leave. I was tempted to do something similar in New York, using the beautiful Grand Central Station as my waiting room.

The problem is that we only have 1 hour and 40 minutes to wait. Also, there is no checked baggage on this route, so we’ll be stuck with all our stuff. Assuming the train is even on time, it’s still doable, but not necessarily worth it. Besides, I had a lot of fun reading about the repulsiveness of Penn Station. It certainly inspires people to heights of eloquence, if nothing else. After a while, I actually felt motivated to view these horrors for myself. There is some hope that they will soon be consigned to history, and we really should do all we can to preserve the memory of them so that our descendants can see what not to do. Shouldn't we? But are we strong enough to endure the necessary torment? I'll decide later.
  • 8.15 - We depart Penn Station on the Adirondack. (Not any more, we don't!!!)

An enjoyable little reading list on the repellance of Penn station:

Why Penn Station Sucks
Incredibly Upsetting pictures of Penn Station Then and Now
Inside America’s Worst Train Station
The Most Awful Transit Center in America Could Get Unimaginably Worse
Why Are the Signs at New York’s Penn Sation So Confusing
Penn Station is New York Commuter’s Hell and it’s About to Get Worse
Penn Sation’s New Concourse is Already Falling Apart
The New Penn Station: Everything You Should Know
It’s Time For a Better Penn Station 
Why a New Train Hall Won’t Fix Penn Station
Moynihan Station Lives Just Like Pat Dreamed it Would 
Cuomo Releases New Renderings of Moynihan Station 

And also:

Amtrak's policies on photography within stations
People sometimes wonder if you're allowed to take photos on station platforms. This would suggest that ticketed passengers who are entitled to be on the platforms also have a right to take photographs there.

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