I would be landing in Newark Airport with an international flight on Thursday at 16:40 PM, planning to get to UPenn immediately after.

I will have suitcase with me and a small backpack. I wanted to take an Amtrak train from the airport to Philadelphia 30th Street Station, but there are no available trains that allow checked baggage, and my suitcase is larger than the size allowed on board.

Are there any other options for traveling by train with a suitcase? Can I find buses between those two points? If so, where? and are suitcases allowed on buses?

  • Even though you've already mentioned, but I'll ask to confirm - your suitcase is exceeding dimensions of 28" x 22" x 14" and weight of 50 lbs?
    – Incognito
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 15:56
  • Another option is to have a car service. No baggage rules whatsoever.
    – user4549
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 17:40

2 Answers 2


How large is your suitcase? Amtrak's carry-on rules, historically speaking, are loosely enforced compared to the airlines. They announced a stricter policy as of October 1, 2015, but it is still quite generous— two bags weighing up to 50 pounds (22.7 kg) each plus two personal items weighing up to 25 pounds (11.3kg) each for free, then $20 for additional items or items above the quantity and size limits.

On Amtrak, "no checked luggage" means that you cannot check your bags with Amtrak (e.g. if the train has no baggage car); you can still bring them onboard and look after them yourself. Some long-distance trains that run on parts of the Northeast Corridor (e.g. the Cardinal, Silver Service, the Vermonter) do have baggage cars, but all will have overhead racks as well as shelves at the end of each car where you can stash your bags.

As of 2015 there are no intercity buses to Philadelphia which depart directly from EWR (Trans Bridge Lines only serves some Northeast and Central Pennsylvania destinations). You would need get to Newark Penn Station, where BoltBus and Greyhound connections are available, or backtrack to New York City. BoltBus and Greyhound will both have luggage compartments. This will, however, require a commuter train or bus connection, vehicles which will not have luggage racks or storage. The $30 or so for a taxi may be worth it, but note that you would be arriving after the start of rush hour.

Note also that the Greyhound station in Philadelphia is located near the Market East Station, not 30th Street Station. To get to UPenn you'd need to take the Market-Frankford Line from 11th Street. BoltBus and Megabus stop at JFK and 30th Street near 30th Street Station, which is a longish walk to Penn; with a large bag at night, a taxi may be a better idea. You will arrive in Philadelphia too late for the LUCY shuttle.

Directly from the EWR train station you could take an NJ TRANSIT Northeast Corridor Line train to Trenton, then connect to a SEPTA Trenton Line train to Center City/30th Street (you should now be able to purchase the transfer ticket directly from NJ Transit). Allow 5-10 minutes to transfer at the Trenton Transit Center. There is a penalty for on-board ticket sales, but you can receive credit for the difference if you are making a round trip.

  • SEPTA is the way to go, good call. Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 0:17
  • One correction regarding "You will not be able to buy SEPTA tickets at EWR...": NJT can sell a transfer to the SEPTA Trenton line. The NJT kiosk machine includes 30th Street and Suburban Station as destination options.
    – user662852
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 18:49
  • @user662852 Thanks, I've just removed that line altogether.
    – choster
    Commented Sep 4, 2015 at 20:02
  • If your luggage is by the rules not allowed on Amtrak, then there is no way you'll find room for it on a NJT train at rush hour. The NJT trains are commuter trains without significant luggage racks, et c. Although there might not be official rules (I suspect there are some hidden somewhere), you simply might not be able to fit yourself as well as a large suitcase in a crowded standing-room only train, and even if you can, the suitcase might not be allowed in the aisle (which is the only place it will fit) as that would block exits in case of emergency. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 6:56

Apart from finding a bus, as mentioned by Karlson in his reply, if you prefer to take a train, you have few options

  • In case your suitcase is within prescribed dimensions of 28" x 22 " x 14" and weighs not more than 50 lbs, then you can take an Amtrak train from Newark Liberty International Airport station. This station can be easily reached from any terminal using Air Train. If you're already carrying an Amtrak ticket, then you would not need to pay $5.50 fee for using Air Train and getting down at this station. From there, you can take a train to 30th Street Station in Philly.
  • In case your suitcase is more than the dimension mentioned above, but is not exceeding 75 linear inches ( length + breadth + height), then you can utilize the Checked Baggage service at Newark Penn station. From there, you can take a train to 30th Street Station in Philly.
  • Third option is, take Airtrain to Newark Liberty International Airport station. Then take a NJ Transit train to Newark Penn station. From there, you can take a train to Trenton Transit Center. Change again, from there for a train to 3oth St, Philly

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