Sunday, April 22, 2007

Direct Acela service to NYC from Philly coming

The article New Amtrak Service Could Boost "the Sixth Borough" discusses the new direct to NYC Acela service from 30th Street Station. The service will start sometime in July 2007. Long overdue I'd say as Amtrak should offer direct trains to all of the major cities along the NEC. The direct train would be an hour the story says, that's a very good selling point. Not sure if this will significantly impact Philly-NYC commuters as the story title implies. Acela trains are expensive so they won't be for every commuter. I rarely took the Acela and stuck with regional service though I did like the comfort when I did take them. I'm happy to see Amtrak offering different services, this is good for them and good for Phi-NYC commuters to have even more options.

UPDATE: August 3, 2008:
These direct Acela trains are no longer offered by Amtrak.


  • Now if only there was a monthly acela pass. Having just started the PHL - NYC daily commute that extra 15 minutes would make a huge difference!...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:03 PM, April 24, 2007  

  • I'd love to get some advice. My girlfriend and I are quasi-relocating to Philly. She's going to be in school there and I'll be commuting to NYC.

    I currently have a place in Brooklyn and might give that up for a studio in Manhattan or stay at my folks' house in NJ, but I'm not sure.

    Can you give me some advice on the best way to commute from Philly to NYC? Amtrak seems expensive, though I would be able to write that off. Is there a slightly longer method that uses local PA and NJ transit trains?

    I have a car, but I'd really like to make the whole commute carless if possible.

    Any help is appreciated. I just found your wonderful blog, so I'll be exploring past posts, too.


    By Blogger LOUIS, at 8:37 PM, April 29, 2007  

  • Response to the Louis post: Unfortuneately there really isn't one best way to commute from Center City Philly to NYC as all have caveats. Hopefully this blog presents all options with detail allowing you to pick what's best for your situation. For me, I liked Amtrak. it was the most convenient and fastest but also the most $ by at least double over other options. The other viable options are the NJT/Septa or Chinatown bus approach. Those are less $ but will take longer and not nearly as convenient. Read that article in my recent post on the NJT/Septa option, that will help you understand that option. Feel free to ask me specific questions anytime as you chew through the options.

    By Blogger Guy in NYC, at 12:15 PM, May 10, 2007  

  • HELP!!!!
    I just found out that with the purchase of a monthly pass, there is no guarantee that I will be able to get on a morning train. is this true? is there any advice I can get from a regular commuter as to how to do this more effectively?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:25 PM, June 03, 2007  

  • In response to the question:

    "with .. a monthly pass there is no guarantee that I will be able to get on a morning train. is this true?"

    Though true, I never got bumped from a train or had to stand when I had a monthly pass. Some trains do get busy but I always got a seat. I think Amtrak has to make this their policy to cover themselves.

    The only trains that on occassion get super packed are the ones leaving Philly between 6:30 and 7:30 and the ones coming back from NYC between 5 and 6. I usually took the train just after 7:30 and just after 6 and they were typically half or 2/3 full. On these trains the seat next to me was empty well over half the time.

    Even the rush hour trains, though busy, are not always jammed up. They get jammed when like 10 people from a company's Philly office have to be in their NYC office for the day. And there's like 4 or 5 companies doing the same thing that day. But these are random events that you cannot anticipate or avoid.

    If you're worried about this then gauge the crowd for your train and if its busy just work your way to near the front of the line. It is first come first serve in regards to seating. I must say I got pretty good at this and had no shame with my aggressive get-the-best-seat nature when I saw the train was going to be fuller than average. I figured I'm paying a shitload for the Amtrak pass so I might as well put in the extra effort to get a better seat. Some Penn Station jockeying suggestions here:

    By Blogger Amtrak Track, at 10:50 AM, June 07, 2007  

  • We are going to PA this month(Aug)and would like to go to NYC and DC while we are there. Would like to know how you all "commute" from the Philly area to those places at an affordable rate. If you have any helpful hints...I would be grateful. We will have a rental car, but have been told "you don't wanna drive in NYC". How bad can it be?...I live in Las Vegas, wanna know if it is affordable by train or if I would be better off just driving. we will be staying somewhat close to PHL.Thanks
    Las Vegas

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:09 PM, July 31, 2007  

  • So is there ANY way to get a multi-trip pass on the Acela? I just found out that Amtrak doesn't offer monthly Acela passes. Ugh! I need to ride it M-F.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:21 PM, November 04, 2007  

  • Response to:
    So is there ANY way to get a multi-trip pass on the Acela? I just found out that Amtrak doesn't offer monthly Acela passes. Ugh! I need to ride it M-F.

    No, there is no Acela multi-pass that I know of. The Acela trains are the big money makers for Amtrak so discounts are tough to come by.

    Having said that, my ideas to minimize Acela ticket costs:

    If you buy a monthly pass you can go to the Amtrak ticket window, show them the valid monthly pass, and buy an Acela ticket for $20 (I think they still allow this). But you have to wait in line, which in NYC and Philly can be a long wait, like 20 minutes or more.

    For Acela savings you can look on or site. They have deals where, for example, if you buy 3 Acela tickets you get one free and other such deals.

    By Blogger Guy in NYC, at 12:23 PM, November 05, 2007  

  • My respone to from Las Vegas:

    First off, apologies as I missed this posting and although your trip has already happened (I hope it was fun) I'll provide my feedback.

    Getting between NYC, Philly and DC via Amtrak is a snap and the way to go. It's way easier than driving if you ask me (not necessarily too much cheaper though) and the trains stations in these cities are right downtown and connect with the cities subways making it even better. And yes, a car is not needed in NYC. That's half the fun of NYC I think is getting around the city on the subway or in a cab.

    Apologies again for missing your post, hope you enjoyed your East coast vacation.

    By Blogger Guy in NYC, at 12:46 PM, November 05, 2007  

  • How difficult would it be for a person who lives in Coatesville, PA to use the train service between Philly and NYC? How long does it take and how much does it cost?

    Thanks for your help.

    By Blogger The Longs, at 3:38 PM, February 27, 2008  

  • Commuting to NYC from Coatesville, PA would be long. You're on the R5 I think so you'd have to take that into 30th Street and time it so you can catch an Amtrak train up to NYC. Then time trains on the way back from NYC as well to catch an R5 back to Coatesville. Missing any of these legs or a train dealy will screw you.

    Philly to NYC trains are about 1 hour and 15 minutes; Acela trains just over an hour. I'll have another post soon listing Amtrak costs as there are many options.

    Your commute would be a minimum of 2.5 hours door-to-door one way I'd estimate even if you're NYC location is close to Penn Station.

    I suggest you review and understand all options before committing to anything, long commutes like the one you're considering can be brutal.

    By Blogger Guy in NYC, at 11:07 AM, March 03, 2008  

  • I wish I had bumped into this blog earlier!! I was stressing out over the travel. I'm attending graduate school in Brooklyn and my boyfried landed a job in wilmongton. I see that Acela serves wilmongton and NYC. So is it possible to travel from wilmington to NYC thrice a week? I think we would prefer to move to wilmington rather than live in NYC because my school is only 3 days a week.

    also, do you know of any student discounts on acela?

    your thoughts apprecaited!! Thank You

    By Anonymous LondoninNYC, at 4:35 PM, July 18, 2011  

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