There’s something magical about train rides, something that transports me back to the days of my childhood, when we used to take the San Francisco Zephyr from Omaha to California to visit my grandparents. The train station, a vast, cavernous structure, filled with echoes of the life surging inside. I don’t remember, but I imagine it was also beautiful in a way that so few buildings are these days, due to a lethal combination of cost, lack of care in building, and indifference to architectural beauty or, possibly, different ideas of what constitutes that beauty.

Today it often seems that train travel boils down to delays and taxpayer subsidies. Parking can be expensive and the freedom of the car attractive. However, when we stepped inside Philadelphia’s 30th street Amtrak station Saturday for an afternoon and evening in New York, the magic surged back. There was beauty in the building to offset the police and sniffer dogs that unfortunately are a fact of today’s life, there were conductors with mellifluous voices, a flower stall, coffee shop and more, adding to the European feel of the place. The trip was accomplished with a minimum of delay and we enjoyed a wonderful, sunny spring day in the Big Apple. Grab your ticket and come with me to the station and the start of a childhood dream.






  1. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Janet,

    What a lovely post and exquisite pictures. Thanks for taking them and for letting us journey with you.



    • Thanks, Doug, and lovely that you traveled over to say hello. To me, there’s a magic about travel that the annoyances that often occur can’t totally obscure (although with the airlines, they might come close.

      Travel well today.


  2. Dear Janet,
    This triggers a lot of memories for me. I remember meeting my paternal grandmother for the first time when we met her train at Union Station in KC. I was five at the time.
    At one point the city was going to tear down the magnificent edifice that opened, I think, in 1913. Fortunately enough of us lobbied against it and it’s now Science City.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures.

    • It’s a shame when the beautiful old building are torn down! I love it when new uses are found for them. There’s a magnificence in them that isn’t in many newer buildings.

      Thanks for traveling with me!


  3. The only way they can mess them up is to either pull them down or let them fall into disrepair. Some things are just worth keeping for their history (this station was built in the 30’s) and their beauty.


  4. I do love 30th Street Station! Thanks for the pictures.

  5. Wow! this is history ! BEAUTIFUL and interesting ! Thank you !

  6. Shannon says:

    Sad I couldn’t join you guys. Looks like so much fun!

  7. […] given to me as a gift by one of my sisters-in-law on our recent whirlwind trip to New York City:  ( and […]

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