It was built in 1934 by the former Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), which was headquartered in Philadelphia, to replace Broad Street Station when the latter became too small to handle Philadelphia's growing passenger-rail traffic. The PRR sought a location away from Center City Philadelphia, where Broad Station was located, which would allow room for a larger yard as well as multiple tracks and platforms. It found such a place on Market Street between 29th and 30th Streets, directly on the Schuylkill River, and built 30th Street Station there.
It is the second-most active railway station in the United States. It contains roughly 562,000 square feet. The cavernous main passenger concourse contains a large Winged Victory statute erected in honor of Pennsylvania Railroad employees killed in World War II. The station also played a prominent role in the 1983 film Trading Places and in the 1985 film Witness starring Harrison Ford.
Currently, trains from SEPTA, Amtrak, and NJ Transit serve this station. Amtrak intercity trains and NJ Transit's Atlantic City line run through the station's lower level, while SEPTA commuter trains serve the upper level.
In addition, SEPTA's Market-Frankford subway line (also known as the "Blue Line" or the "El") stops at 30th Street Station -- although there is no longer direct access from the subway station to the rail station due to crime and vagrancy concerns. Passengers wishing to transfer to or from the subway must walk above-ground for approximately one block.
The building is presently owned by Amtrak and houses many Amtrak corporate offices (although Amtrak is officially headquarted in Washington, D.C). Also found in the station are multiple shops, a McDonald's restaurant, and a large food court.