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Gridlock could reach Central Pa. during Papal visit

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In three weeks millions of people are expected to flood the City of Brotherly Love to catch of glimpse of Pope Francis. Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Spokesperson Carl DeFebo says drivers who plan to use the Turnpike need to plan. "People should be prepared with supplies like water food, medicine, and any kind of first aid supplies that are needed for anybody in the vehicle," said DeFebo. More than two million people are expected to travel the interstate.  "Certainly on those two key days, that Saturday and Sunday, you could see traffic stop and go as far back as Lebanon/Lancaster, possibly even here in Harrisburg East," he said.

DeFebo recommends anyone driving in that area but who is not planning to see the pope, to reconsider. "We've been planning and prepping for months now but we're trying to encourage our customers, unless you are heading to the pope's visit in Philadelphia, it might be a good idea to avoid the roadways in southeastern PA that weekend," he said. And for drivers using rest stops, he recommends stopping at Bowmansville rest stop in Lancaster County instead of Valley Forge.

What to expect if you're taking the Train
If you're taking the train, Amtrak says purchase your ticket as soon as possible, as some trains have already sold out.

With some minor exceptions, operations in and around New York and Washington will be normal, although passengers should expect large crowds during the Pope’s scheduled events. Amtrak service will operate on a normal weekday schedule Monday, September 21 through Friday, September 25, with extra coaches added to some trains to accommodate additional demand. Starting Friday, September 25 through Monday, September 28, reservations will be required on all Acela Express, Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains.  Amtrak will operate Philadelphia - centric “Event Extra” service on Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27, in some cases utilizing equipment from our commuter partners.

To ensure public safety and aid in crowd control, some special procedures will be implemented at Philadelphia 30th Street Station during the weekend of the papal visit. In addition to Amtrak and New Jersey Transit trains, SEPTA service to/from Levittown, Marcus
Hook, Wilmington, Croydon and Cornwells Heights, will operate from the lower-level/main concourse. Specific boarding procedures and recommended points of entry will be announced at a later date. Additional station personnel and ambassadors will be on hand to assist, but passengers should expect long lines and crowded conditions.
Taxi service and rental cars will not be available to/from 30th  Street Station Friday, September 25 through Sunday, September 27.  Station restrooms will be closed to the public but facilities will be available outside. Food court eateries will be open and accessible from the Market Street entrance.