Rail Service Around Philadelphia Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

A PATCO train crosses the Delaware River on the Ben Franklin Bridge between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey. Photo by M.T. Burkhart.

Rail Service Around Philadelphia Returns to Pre-Pandemic Levels

By M.T. Burkhart

Rail service in the Philadelphia area has just about returned to pre-pandemic levels as Port Authority Transit Corporation (PATCO) – which runs between Philadelphia and South Jersey – reopens four stations that have been closed since March.

Neighboring Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) still has two lines that remain shuttered, but the agency is running a full schedule elsewhere and most ticket windows have also reopened.

PATCO’s Ashland, Westmont, City Hall and 12/13th Street stations – all in southern New Jersey – had been closed since late March. All four stations are set to reopen on Monday, Sept. 14 along with shortened headways.

“As more riders return to PATCO, we will be evaluating our approach and strategies relating to every aspect of how our service is delivered,” said John D. Rink, general manager. “Our goal now is to ensure our service provides enough capacity so that there is enough room on platforms and trains to facilitate appropriate social distancing.”

PATCO’s weekday train service will also be increased from every five to 10 minutes during rush hour periods while trains will continue to run every 20 minutes on Saturday and every 30 minutes on Sundays.

Service on SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West and Cynwyd Lines remains suspended and Wilmington Line service begins and ends at Wilmington, Del. station instead of Newark, Del. A timeline for those routes to reopen has not been given.

This article was posted on: September 11, 2020