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Old 08-21-2013, 09:00 AM
 
16 posts, read 26,447 times
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My husband is considering a job in Lancaster, Pa. We are more "city" people and living in a small town like Lancaster just doesn't seem like us. I am not sure we would be happy there. Our kids go to a large private school in Atlanta and we would be looking for a private prep school (high school) that would be similar. Several of the private schools in West Philly look interesting.

Would the commute from one of the West Philly mainline suburbs to Lancaster be doable?
Would it be better to take Amtrak? Or, would it be better to drive?

(Although we live in Atlanta now, my husband commuted from Westchester County, New York to the city when we lived there. He did not have a problem with the train commute.)

In addition, which of the mainline suburbs have more of a villlage feel? Are there any with with similar villages to the metro north villages of Westchester county? We like walking to shops and restaurants. Currently we live in the center of Atlanta near midtown and can walk to grocery, restaurants, library, parks, and bank.

Any ideas or suggestions would be great!
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:18 AM
 
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Does your husband work near the Lancaster train station? Because if he does Amtrak would be a great option.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:23 AM
 
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If he takes the job, yes he would.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
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I believe Amtrak has stops Keystone Service (closest to farthest from Lancaster) in.

Downingtown- 30 min to Lancaster
Exton
Paoli 40 min to Lancaster
Ardmore 55 min to Lancaster

Downingtown is an old milltown that has seen some revitalization and the surrounding area is booming with suburban development.

Exton- Is a newer shopping hub. Autocentric Suburbia. Just to the east of Downingtown.

Paoli + Ardmore are the heart of the Main Line towns/villages that you seek.

Other towns near Ardmore/Paoli worth looking into. If the hour commute to Lancaster isn't an issue.

Narberth
Merion Station
Wynnewood
Haverford
Bryn Mawr
Rosemont
Villanova
Gladwyne
Wayne
Devon
Berwyn
Malvern

Also SEPTA has rail service all the way out to Thorndale(Downingtown). Gives you some additional options.

Good luck.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Mount Laurel
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It is definitely doable by train. Amtrak has 10 pack and monthly tickets that is better than driving.

I used to commute from York to 30th street station via Lancaster train station and it's a very reliable service.

I am not sure if anything had changed since the train station in Lancaster had changed. To be quite honest, my commute was in the late 1990's. If the work place is not close to the train station via walking, you can look into putting a car near the station. I used to have an extra car sitting near the train station in case I drove to the city and decided to take the train home.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:42 AM
 
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Thank you Rainrock! For some reason, I thought the train ride was longer than an hour. I am so excited to see you can get to Lancaster in that amount of time! And thanks for the suburb list. Will look into Paoli and Ardmore, as well as the others. Thanks again.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:07 AM
 
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lots of people commute via Keystone. The highways are not direct and Keystone service is constantly improving from its already high bar. Lancaster Station is getting completely restored inside and out. Keystone trains have bathrooms, lots of leg room and outlets. First Class compared to SEPTA.
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Old 08-21-2013, 11:30 AM
 
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I have done this commute for over ten years and it's wonderful. Amtrak is extremely reliable (very rarely are my trains late) and has lots of options of trains for commuters (trains leave 30th Street at around 6:25, 7:25, 9, 10, and 11 and return from Lancaster at around 3:40, 5:05, 6:10, 7:10, and 8:30ish. There used to be issues with getting cabs at the station if weather was bad (I walk around a mile to the campus at which I teach) but that has improved a lot lately and one can establish 'regular' status with cab drivers who will give you their number and pick you up and get you to the station quickly. Lots of people with whom I work leave cars or bikes at the station or bring folding bikes for the Lancaster commute (these fold up and go easily into the luggage area on Amtrak). Pricing on the Keystone is reasonable (they offer monthly and ten trip tickets that bring down the cost further) and it's easy to get work done on the trains (there are quiet cars and wifi on most of them). It's a great option. And you can consider living in Center City, too, since it's an easy walk from Rittenhouse Square, Fitler Square, and Logan Square/Parkway area to 30th Street Station and not a bad subway or bus commute from other neighborhoods in the city to the station. Lots of great private schools in Center City---my kids go to one and they love it.

Good luck with your decision!
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