By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s a grand plan to develop 30th Street Station and the area around it, according to an Amtrak official. But he says the building itself is caught in limbo because of bickering inside the beltway, in Washington, DC.
Drew Galloway, Amtrak’s assistant vice president for planning and development, told attendees at a conference on rail transportation in Philadelphia today that a request for proposals is due soon for a massive fixup of 30th Street Station.
“It’s the crown jewel of stations on the Northeast Corridor,” Galloway said.
Constructed between 1929 and 1933, the neoclassical building — and much that you don’t see — needs shoring up. But Galloway says Congress has yet to release $60 million in much-needed repair funds.
“Amtrak decided to put in protective measures just to ensure that the public and travelers would be OK,” he noted today, including scaffolding and netting around the limestone façade.
Meantime, Galloway says, an announcement is due shortly with its partners, including Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust, to breathe new life into 30th Street Station and the surrounding areas.
“We call it a precinct plan because it goes beyond the immediate station itself,” he said.
Galloway envisions what he calls “smart, tasteful development, transforming a marquee train station into a marquee location in Philadelphia.”
In response to a rail activist’s gripe about high ticket prices, Galloway says Congress, by law, requires that Amtrak recover as much of its operating expenses as possible. He said that while Acela high-speed and regional services are “market competitive,” they offset large losses on the long-distance network.
He also noted that Acela trains typically sell out three days a week.