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> OTOL New Jersey RailFest 2006: 2/19/06 update
post Feb 19 2006, 12:08 PM
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Wow, it's already less than one month until OTOL New Jersey RailFest 2006! Planning continues for the exciting one-day event.

A one-day, one-way fest

The schedule has been reduced to 9-1/2 hours with the elimination of the Newark extension that will not yet be open. Still, I realize that it is a very long day, and that some of you from New York and points north and east may not be able to get to Center City Philadelphia before the 8:30 AM start time. You do have the option of going down there on Friday evening and staying in a hotel. Or, you could join us later on in the day as we progress towards New York City. The downside to this is that you would have to travel with your luggage as we ride the rails.

In the same vain, those of you from the Philadelphia area (and points south and west) may choose to only do the PATCO and RiverLINE segments, and then return home from Trenton. Those who make it to the end of the fest in New York City should be able to return to Philadelphia that evening by way of Amtrak or the combinations of NJ TRANSIT commuter rail/SEPTA commuter rail, or NJ TRANSIT commuter rail/RiverLINE/PATCO. Or, you can also choose to stay over in the New York City/Newark area and return home Sunday morning.

My plans

City hotel rooms have been found to be at a premium, possibly because of St. Patrick's Day. I have chosen to stay in suburban South Jersey both nights, but in different locations.

On Friday night, we will stay within a mile of the Lindenwold PATCO station in Voorhees, NJ. One can park a car for the day at any PATCO station.

On Saturday evening, following conclusion of the fest and a quick dinner together, we will board Amtrak Train #57. If it is running on time, we should have an easy transfer to a NJ TRANSIT train in Philadelphia which will take us quickly back to Lindenwold and my car. If we just miss the NJ TRANSIT train, we still have the option of going across town and taking PATCO back to Lindenwold. From Lindenwold, since by now it will be late, we will drive to another hotel closer to the NJ Turnpike and stay there, returning home Sunday morning.

If anyone else chooses to do something similar, particularly on Friday evening, please let me know and I can arrange to pick you up at a train station in New Jersey.

The Meeting Place

I went to Center City Philadelphia yesterday to check this out, and even walked the most likely walk you will be taking as well.

Rittenhouse Square is at Locust and 18th Streets, which is 2 blocks west of the end of the PATCO line. Although this has been dubbed as Rittenhouse Square to Herald Square, I don't think anyone really needs to visit the actual Rittenhouse Square to validate the theme of the trip.

Most likely you will be approaching Locust and 16th Streets from the north. Coming from any SEPTA Regional Rail point, get off your train at Suburban Station. (From Amtrak, get off at 30th Street and then use your Amtrak ticket stub for a one station trip to Suburban Station on any SEPTA train headed eastbound through the upper level of 30th Street Station.)

At Suburban Station, take the stairway to the street that is adjacent to the Church's Fried Chicken restaurant. This will leave you mid-block on 16th Street between JFK Boulevard and Market Street. You will then walk a total of 4-1/2 blocks south, crossing Market, Chestnut, Sansom, and Walnut Streets. When you get to Locust Street, there will be entrances to PATCO (red-painted railings) on the northwest and southeast corners of the intersection. Take the southeastern entrance (by crossing Locust and turning left). The group will meet in front of the row of faregates in front of you.

We will begin to assemble at this location around 8:15 AM. At 8:25 we will proceed through the faregates and board the train, which should be waiting there by that time.

The Costs Page

The list of projected costs for this fest is now available here. Rail transit should cost you under $20 for a day of fun on the rails.

The participant list

I will compile this later today and let you know when it is available online.

It's never too late to join us, even for part of this excursion. If you have never ridden all three of New Jersey's light rail lines in a single day, now is your chance! Or, you can join us just for the portions of the fest that are closer to your home.

Hope to see you on March 18th!


Kevin Korell

OTOL Board Leader

Howell, NJ
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