Considering that it only gets twelve trains per day (or, at the moment, zero trains per day), five-track Atlantic City Station is surprisingly legit. According to ol’ Wikipedia, it was built in 1989, which makes the size of the station all the more surprising. Service was awful then, too, when Amtrak was running the line, so…yeah, that makes this an interesting one!
I have very little to say about the station platforms. They’re at a level of barebones that’s just tolerable enough to not affect the overall quality of the station, but on the other hand, they sure aren’t winning any beauty contests, especially with the rotting shelters above. Also, it’s a good thing there are so many tracks here, since this station basically doubles as the AC Line’s yard. If NJT needs to do minor repairs on trains, there are actually facilities here that let them do it.
“Seating for Ticketed Customers Only. Two-Hour Time Limit.” Oh, NJT, you never change, do you? Well, folks, you heard it here first: NO SITTING ON THE UNCOMFORTABLE GRATED BENCHES UNLESS YOU HAVE A TICKET. Luckily, you can purchase tickets here at either a few vending machines or the staffed ticket offices, which are apparently open 5:30 AM to 9 PM, seven days a week! That’s impressive. Also of note is the flipboard showing arrivals and departures, although never any origin or destination other than “Philadelphia”.
There are a few other attractions in the rather austere waiting area. One is “ESQUIRES II”, a deli that I can find next to no information about online. I will say that it has very nice seating! The station also has a small parking garage with 75 spaces, and they’re apparently free to ticketed passengers. I don’t know if it doubles as convention center parking or not, but still, I can’t complain about free parking (and no, you don’t get a “jackpot” for landing on it. All that does is make the game even longer than it already is! You know it takes place in Atlantic City, right?).
But wait, there’s more! Atlantic City also has bathrooms (not particularly bad or good, so not much to say there), an information stand with bus schedules, and a “food court” whose fancy neon sign betrays the fact that it’s really just a few vending machines. Maybe “ESQUIRE II” is considered part of the food court as well.
I alluded to this a little bit before, but Atlantic City Station is part of the same complex as the city’s convention center. As such, there is a direct doorway between the two, while the exit takes you out to the grand (well, maybe not grand, but big) entrance to the facility. There are a few free jitney routes to all the casinos in the city, but if you’re not getting on those, it’s a 13-minute walk down to the boardwalk. Oh, this entrance also has two giant, clunky bike racks that have probably been here since 1989. That’s right: space for four whole bikes!
NJT Station: Atlantic City
Ridership: Interestingly, this is the busiest stop on the Atlantic City Line, with 594 boardings per weekday. That beats out Philadelphia, the second-busiest station, which only gets 489 people per day. It does make sense, though (see my AC Line post for why), and I’ll bet ridership is comprable or even higher on the weekend, especially in the summer.
Pros: This is a very functional terminal. It doesn’t have the grandeur of, say, Philadelphia 30th Street on the other end of the line, but it still has great amenities and services: a big waiting room, ticket offices, and a few options for food. The free jitney shuttles are a fantastic bonus, too, although it has to be said that you’re basically guaranteed to lose money once you leave their casino destinations. In that sense, it would just be cruel to charge for the jitneys.
Cons: Not too much, actually. The platforms look old, as I mentioned, but you’re not gonna be spending a lot of time on them. The location could also be better, but the jitney shuttles do make up for that, and a 13 minute walk to the boardwalk isn’t bad.
Nearby and Noteworthy: If you’re visiting Atlantic City, you’re here for the beach, the casinos, or both. The city offers plenty of each.
Final Verdict: 8/10
Yeah, no real complaints here! It’s too bad that rail service isn’t operating to the station right now, but as it sits there gathering dust (or sand – that tends to accumulate on the tracks), we can at least look at it and say, “Hey. You’re a good station, Atlantic City.” Nice.
Latest SEPTA News: Service Updates
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Miles, do you know why exactly locals are worried that the service suspension on the Atlantic City Line is going to end up being permanent? Looking at things rationally, it makes no sense that New Jersey Transit would spend money on installing positive train control on a line they were planning on ending service on. Plus, unlike other transit agencies such as *ahem* SEPTA or the MBTA, NJT has no history of turning “temporary” service suspensions into permanent ones.
The only rationale I can think of is that they didn’t provide a specific date when service would start again. The line also gets very low ridership and is kinda only run for political reasons (“Look, South Jersey gets a train, too!”), but it’ll definitely reopen.
The low ridership is both a sham AND fault of NJT…. they took 6 of our busiest trains off the tracks in 2011….THEN SURVEYED the numbers of riders which then became lower….in April till June 2018 Njt shut down ACRL DURING THE DAY…with the exception of the first morning train out Philadelphia and the first two out of Atlantic City. And nothing till after 330pm both ways. Why ??? Supossedly installing ptc lines…wait for it. They did their survey of ridership and SHOCK!!!! THE NUMBERS WERE LOW!!!!….WOW did that survey between. Yep April to June 2018. Imagine that. So come Sept of course we all had to understand that they need to install e everything and the good of NJT it was more important..you know due to such low numbers …that the North needed our trains and equipment until JANUARY 1ST. BULL CRAP.
As of May 12th, 2019, the Atlantic City Line is back up and running. I’ve taken this line from Philly to AC and back twice this summer. The ticket cost for a one way between AC and Philly is pretty decent. When you buy from the ticket machine or ticket office you pay $10.75 for your ticket, which is pretty affordable for traveling an average of 95 mins between Philly and AC.
The platforms at AC Rail Terminal are somewhat deteriorating on the edges from what I remember. But overall, the waiting room inside is really nice! The station reminds me of Jefferson Station since both stations are directly attached to a convention center.