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lilbluefoxie

Planning a Philidelphia train photo trip, need advice...

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I noticed many New Yorkers on this forum have made day trips to Philly for train photos and I am wondering,

 

Whats the best and cheapest way to get there? Amtrak seems pricey, do people take NJTransit to Trenton then catch SEPTA to Downtown Philly?

 

I am looking to get the main things, the Market Fraknford line, teh Broad St Line, the classic route 15 with the PCCs, the high speed route 100, and the various trolley routes, 101,102, 30, etc.

 

Whats the best photo spots on those lines?

 

And now for the obvious question, what areas should be avoided? I think everyone here probably knows me by now im very wary about going in the ghetto, and that goes double for a place like Philly which is almost Detroit-like in its crime and problems.

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I went to Philly on BoltBus, cost a lot less than the Chinatown buses and SEPTA/NJT. It leaves you at 30th Street station so if you want to, you can walk to the main city center, or take the Market Frankford line from 30th Street to 13th Street or 11th Street. There's a lot of NJT and bus action in that part of town. If you're wondering, I went with two other people, and one way for three people cost around $36. It's around $13 for one person.

 

I stayed around the area around the Reading Market Terminal.

 

About the other things, I don't know because I'm not too familiar, too.

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I usually take the china town buses, but to fan, I'd take njt to SEPTA. You may get a Silverliner V! Photo op! For seeing most equipment, I have 2 pre planned routes I personally use. The shorter one is getting on the Market Frankford El Frankford bound to Girard Ave. The 15 streetcar (PCCs)is there. Take that westbound to Broad Street and catch the Broad Street subway back to the Market El where you can take it to the 69th street terminal. There, you catch various buses, the Suburban trolleys, and the NHSL.

 

At Girard Ave on the MFL, pics from the platforms of the PCCs are my personal favs.

If you ride the 15 further west, it merges for a block with the 10(K-Cars). Great spot to catch both trolley types.

If you want a lot of streetcar action, take theb11,13,34 or 36 subway-surface trolleys from center city to the 40th Street portal.

 

 

Damn, I miss going down there.

Edited by Far Rock Depot
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Oh, yeah, if you go to 13th Street and Market Street, you'll end up at the SEPTA Transit Museum, if you're interested in buying something, or taking a look at stuff.

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Been in Phila loads of times since 09.

 

Best is ether MegaBus (Double Decker) or Bolt bus you would be paying under $20 for one way ride, depending on when you reserve online.. If you were to reserve a month or more early, you could get lucky with paying up a $1 for a ride one way. You can also shuffle it up NJT NEC / SEPTA Trenton R-7 (But with a $5 buck surcharge) or NJT NEC / NJT Riverline D-LRT at Trenton to Camden for PATCO to Phila via Locust St.

 

For fanning, get yourself an $11 buck Independence Pass. Its a whole one day pass for all its services, including Railroad. You can ask for it on the Railroad or buy at 1234 Market Street/13th Street on the MFL (Septas HQ).

 

For best spots, personally I find a lot of places good spots. On the Market-Frankford Line (MFL) its outside from 69th to 46th Street and from Spring Garden (Which you are in between Delaware Expressway I95) to Frankford Terminal, rest in Underground in the City. There is an (A)/(B) Skip-Stop Express, during the Rush Hour. No regular express service . The Broad Street Line has Express Service, its entirely Subway (Olney to AT&T [Former Pattison] | Broad Street Spur runs from Fern Rock to 8th Street via Chinatown via Express), Fern rock is outside.

 

Regular Express runs from Fern Rock to Locus/Walnut.

 

 

Light Rail, I'm not 100% sure, since I have not been on everyone, except like the 10. LRTs are Underground downtown, within downtown and heads Street cars west bound. Other routes are within Darby/69th Street Terminal, such as the 101/102, etc. Still gotta get on the 15 next time, which is PCC cars.

 

Commuter Rails.. Just avoid North Phila, its one of the ghettoish town (even tho there is more then that). If you want a lot of action, head to the NEC, or the Keystone Corridor. If you wanna catch the Silverliner 5, they did had timetable to catch em before, but not anymore. Since its all over the place. But the best spot to catch ALL SETPA lines and get better chance for a S5, is head over to Temple University Station, its got a nice Curve in one of the ends. No Amtrak trains tho.

 

 

You can even hop on the R2 Wilmington/NWK Line which takes you to Delaware. Wilmington is a good Spot in DE, no surcharges too.

 

Bus Fanning, you can catch a load of buses downtown, and other spots. NJ Transit Buses pop in, in the downtown area (Mainly around Vine Street and Market St.

 

More on SEPTA: http://www.septa.org/index.html

Edited by mark1447
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I don't know about cheapest, because I don't take greyhound, bolt, or megabus......

But what I usually do if I wanna get to philly is take the 319 to the 551... that's probably the most expensive though.....

 

 

I take the NJT to 409. One way is 15.50, and the bus is 9.00

 

 

I do the reverse, coming back home......

I take the 409 more towards trenton than I do more towards philly.... the ride on the 409 philly bound is longer than trenton bound....

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Chinatown buses are $24 round trip.

Best spot for diverse equipment photo op is 69th street

Now if you go on a sunday, take note that the subway surface trolleys tend to terminate at the 40th St El stop(avoiding Center City).

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Chinatown buses are $24 round trip.

Best spot for diverse equipment photo op is 69th street

Now if you go on a sunday, take note that the subway surface trolleys tend to terminate at the 40th St El stop(avoiding Center City).

 

 

good to know because Sunday is the likely day I would be heading out there if I go. The main issue I have is I dont know what areas are good areas and what are places to defenately avoid in Philly, Being that its an unfamiliar city to me, ive never been there before. I want to play it safe, moreso than I would in New York or Boston that I am more familiar with.

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Foxie here the website for the local Philly version of the MTA. The guys have already given the options for travel to Philly.Since my brothers lives in nearby Southern NJ i usually take the Bolt Bus myself to Cherry Hill Mall.

 

WWW.SEPTA.ORG

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Foxie here the website for the local Philly version of the MTA. The guys have already given the options for travel to Philly.Since my brothers lives in nearby Southern NJ i usually take the Bolt Bus myself to Cherry Hill Mall.

 

WWW.SEPTA.ORG

 

I've seen it, I am pretty much familiar with the transit system there, I just need to know which neighborhoods to avoid and which are perfectly fine.

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I've pretty much been all over. To me, Philly is a smaller slower NYC. Their "hoods" are not as bad as ours. If you gotta go to 40th St El station fornthe trolley, it's kinda like getting off the 6 train at let's start, Morrison and catching the bx4. On a sunday afternoon, pretty much all spots I've mentioned in this thread are pretty much safe.

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I've seen it, I am pretty much familiar with the transit system there, I just need to know which neighborhoods to avoid and which are perfectly fine.

 

Philly has been having a problem with gangs/violent crime over last couple of years. IMO (no offense to those living there)the hoods to avoid are West Philly (the stops on Market/Frankford as Far Rock mentioned) and North Philly at night. And across the river in Camden one of the most violent cities in America. With that said, the Daytime in almost all of Philly is ok. The area around Temple Univ is usually safe though.

Just my takes.

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I've pretty much been all over. To me, Philly is a smaller slower NYC. Their "hoods" are not as bad as ours. If you gotta go to 40th St El station fornthe trolley, it's kinda like getting off the 6 train at let's start, Morrison and catching the bx4. On a sunday afternoon, pretty much all spots I've mentioned in this thread are pretty much safe.

 

I personally don't get off the 6 in the Bronx until Parkchester.

 

How are the stops south of City Center on the Broad St line? and the ones on the Eastern side of the Market Frankford line past 2nd St.

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I personally don't get off the 6 in the Bronx until Parkchester.

 

How are the stops south of City Center on the Broad St line? and the ones on the Eastern side of the Market Frankford line past 2nd St.

 

Yo Foxie South Philly! LOL. Home to one of America's largest Italtian-American populations outside of NYC(there other groups as well lol). And home to Rocky, and the '4' major Philly sports teams i.e Phillies, Eagles, Sixers and Flyers just off the Broad Street line.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1Lzhan_DR4

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Bus is the cheapest and best way to get there, all the bus options are cheaper than the crappy Septa - NJT combo, which coasts 50 bucks round trip and takes a hour longer than the bus.

 

Its only a half hour difference between the Amtrak Regional and the bus.

 

The Septa - NJT is not that bad, just that the return trip is TEDIOUS.

 

I don't see why anyone would use the Septa - NJT combo in 2012 from NYC, its the worse option, it has no appeal, I would only suggest to do it once in one direction for railfanning purposes.

 

It can be fun to ride if its your first time ever riding, but it sucks to do round trip. Just takes too long

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Bus is the cheapest and best way to get there, all the bus options are cheaper than the crappy Septa - NJT combo, which coasts 50 bucks round trip and takes a hour longer than the bus.

 

Its only a half hour difference between the Amtrak Regional and the bus.

 

The Septa - NJT is not that bad, just that the return trip is TEDIOUS.

 

I don't see why anyone would use the Septa - NJT combo in 2012 from NYC, its the worse option, it has no appeal, I would only suggest to do it once in one direction for railfanning purposes.

 

It can be fun to ride if its your first time ever riding, but it sucks to do round trip. Just takes too long

 

 

I use the NJT/SEPTA combo. May cost some green, but its fun ;)! Plus you can just get an Express, IF you grab the train at the right time. I do it AM, and PM go home by bus.

 

So to me its not a worst option.. Of course if you have the money, this or even Amtrak will do.

 

Bus maybe faster and cheaper, but there are times when it is not. Plus with all the road work going on South of Brunswick on the Turnpike, there could be slight delays at times, even on NJ495. Due to widening the lanes and reconnecting I95 West Trenton thru Miami with the northern I95 East Trenton to Maine section. Which would be over till around 2016.

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Bus is the cheapest and best way to get there, all the bus options are cheaper than the crappy Septa - NJT combo, which coasts 50 bucks round trip and takes a hour longer than the bus.

 

Its only a half hour difference between the Amtrak Regional and the bus.

 

The Septa - NJT is not that bad, just that the return trip is TEDIOUS.

 

I don't see why anyone would use the Septa - NJT combo in 2012 from NYC, its the worse option, it has no appeal, I would only suggest to do it once in one direction for railfanning purposes.

 

It can be fun to ride if its your first time ever riding, but it sucks to do round trip. Just takes too long

 

 

Also use the NJT/SEPTA combo if you going to say Bucks County i.e Seasme Place or NE Philly including Franklin Mills Mall.

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Never rode the SEPTA-NJT combo but the schedule (at least the time when I rode it) fit better for a PATCO-RiverLINE-NJT combo.

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this is the draft schedule I came up with, It would be on a Sunday which hasn't been determined yet.

 

Arrive 10:30am 30 St Station

 

M-F to Girard (p)

15 to Frankford-Delaware (p)

15 to Front St for M-F

M-F to 5th St (p)

M-F to 13th St (p)

SEPTA store

LUNCH

BSL to Walnut-Locust (p)

BSL to Snyder (p)

BSL to City Hall for Subway Trolleys

M-F to 69 St for 100

100 to Bryn Mawr (p)

100 to 69 St for 101/102

101/102 to Drexel Hill (p)

101/102 to 69 St for M-F

M-F to 30 St for Amtrak home

 

Can this be done by about 3pm or so? or should I look into a later Amtrak train back.

 

Whats the stations like that I picked, remember I prefer not to take my chances in any really ghetto areas, especially in an unfamiliar city.

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Catch a later train. And if it's a sunday, double check trolley are using the tunnel that day. If not, trolley service diverts to the 40th Street Station. The stops are fine. Walnut is a 4 track express station with decent volume and Snyder isnt ghetto as well, Brooklyn. Once you at 69th and on the NHSL and the 101/102, your in the suburbs. Philly really isn't as dangerous as most claim. But since you've been to Parkchester, you can handle south Philly. I frequently get off the BSL at Federal to hit up Gino's Cheesesteaks. I've been to west Philly. Over rated. Or maybe that's the South Bronx in me talking. Lol.

I suggest 2nd st on the MFL instead of 5th. Upstairs is Penn's Landing which is very nice and lots of buses. If you can hit up Fern Rock on the top of the BSL, you'll be at the only outside stop of that line and it's yard. IMO, better than Snyder. also, the 15 trolley does NOT go to Frankford due to I95 construction and is replaced by buses. Trolleys go to the sugar hill casino instead. It will only be about a 5 min ride from the MFL. If I may make a suggestion to your plan:

MFL to 2nd st(p)

MFL to girard

15 (63rd st-bound) to Broad Street.

BSL to fern rock

BSL to city hall

Then SEPTA store (might be closed on sundays) check for that

Then lunch

 

And don't be fooled by maps. You can walk from city hall to 13th at for the store. It's only like 3 blocks. Practically everything in center city is walking distance. They love to claim everything "far"out there. I once got on the 11 trolley in Darby at its first stop to see half the streetcar empty out 2 blocks away at the next stop after the 6 min wait for it!!!

 

But for your schedule, definitely reference the schedules of the routes you'll be using to determine the time you need to catch the train back. All of the schedules are available on SEPTA.Org and there's a "Philly transit vehicles" forum where you can definitely get a feel ofnthe areas youbplan to shoot. Most of them go to the spots you plan to.

And if the Phillies and/or Eagles are home that day, expect a crowded Broad Street Subway and don't wear a giants jersey! Lol

 

Me I'm always ballsy enough to go there during hockey season in my NY Rangers jersey.

Edited by Far Rock Depot

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You know what, this just inspired me to write a guide for Philly Fanning! There's so much more to add in! Fares, types of payment, pic spots, equipment, tips, yards, garages, etc! I think ima write it up this afternnon and post it! I also have pdfs files of the transit maps and can provide links to schedules and local stuff there! Btw IMO, best Cheesesteak is at 2nd street bar inside the galleria mall in center city. Although the ones from the streetcarts are pretty frakkin tastey!

Edited by Far Rock Depot
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Yeah, do what Far Rock Depot suggested, I'd say the same but in different wording and without Gino's, lol.

 

Philadelphia isn't dangerous, you might feel kinda at some places, but overall only Camden, NJ is close to Brownsville/East New York, otherwise nothing is worse than the South Bronx.

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