Posts Tagged ‘SEPTA Regional Rail’

Work Underway on Construction of New Amtrak, SEPTA Station in Coatesville, Pennsylvania

January 8, 2023

Amtrak, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority have begun work on a new $65 million station in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

The station, located on Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor, is expected to open in fall 2025.

It will be located just east of the existing former Pennsylvania Railroad depot.

In a news release, PennDOT said work to build a foundation for the south platform is underway and will continue through this year.

That work will be followed by construction of platforms and elevators and stair towers on the south side of the station.

The project will create station that complies with all standards of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Amtrak owns the existing station building and leases it to the City of Coatesville. It has been closed for more than 25 years.

The existing station is located on a curve so some track relocation is being undertaken as part of the project.

Officials said that was necessary because ADA-compliant platforms cannot be built on a curve.

The new station will be located along Fleetwood Street between Third and Fourth avenues, and feature 530-foot-long high-level accessible platforms with canopies and seating; stair/elevator towers; an audio-visual public address system and security cameras; bicycle racks; and expanded surface parking.

SEPTA currently does not serve Coatesville, but has expressed interest in extending Regional Rail commuter service from Thorndale to Coatesville “in the near future.”

Funding for the project is being provided by PennDOT, Chester County, the City of Coatesville, the Coatesville Redevelopment Authority, and Federal Transit Administration.

SEPTA Makes 100th Anniversary of ‘Frankford EL’

November 15, 2022

SEPTA recently marked the 100th anniversary of the Frankford elevated section of the Market-Frankford line.

The line connects Northeast Philadelphia with Center City and is SEPTA’s most heavily used line.

The line stretches 13.5 miles with 28 stations. The travel time between Upper Darby/West Philadelphia to Frankford in lower Northeast Philadelphia in 45 minutes.

The original Market Elevated Railway Line opened March 4, 1907, with six miles of track for service from east to west from 69th Street to City Hall at 15th Street.

The Frankford extension stretched the line from Old City to Bridge Street in Northeast Philadelphia.

In a news release, SEPTA said that when construction of the 6.5-mile Frankford section line began in September 1915 it featured such innovations as concrete in the support beams to reduce vibration and noise from passing trains. Another innovation was railcar doors that automatically retracted if they bumped a passenger.

During the 1970s construction of Interstate 95 through Center City Philadelphia resulted in some changes to the “Frankford El” as it is called.

The line was relocated to the highway median and a station at Spring Garden replaced the old Fairmount station. The line was then rebuilt between 1987 and 2000.

SEPTA Seeks Comment on Trolley Stations

September 24, 2022

The Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has released design concepts it will implement in creating new trolley stations and modernizing existing trolley stations.

In a news release, SEPTA said the stations will receive level boarding platforms and new signs to make it easier to navigate the trolley system.

Most existing trolley stations are little more than signs along a sidewalk.

As part of the project SEPTA is soliciting public comment through an online survey on such things as the design, colors and lighting for the stations,

Public comment also will be solicited through pop-up and virtual community events.

In an related development, the SEPTA governing board has approved plans to advance major initiatives of the SEPTA Forward plan.

That includes funding for modernization of the trolley system and extending the Norristown High Speed Line by four miles to Kind of Prussia.

The latter has been described by SEPTA as providing a “one-seat” ride from any station along the NHSL, including 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby and Norristown Transportation Center.

The next phase of the King of Prussia extension is land acquisition. The SEPTA board authorized the agency’s staff to begin appraising the properties, determining fair market value, making offers, and reaching an agreement with owners.

Related to that, the SEPTA board approved acquiring 13 acres in southwest Philadelphia for the trolley modernization program.

That property will be used to create a shop that can accommodate the anticipated future fleet of articulated, ADA-accessible trolleys.

SEPTA officials said the property has an existing structure that can be adapted to its use as well as additional land area to support a planned yard and employee parking.

SEPTA’s existing trolley tracks are immediately adjacent to the roadside of the property.

SEPTA Gets Grant for Grade Crossing Work

September 21, 2022

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has received a $15 million grant for grade crossing work in Philadelphia on its commuter rail lines.

The grant was among the $59 million in grants awarded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Commuter Authority Rail Safety Improvement program.

SEPTA will use the grant to install gates and upgrade pavement markings at 22 crossings in Philadelphia and in Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery Counties on its regional commuter rail system which shares significant trackage with freight carriers.

SEPTA Regional Rail Extension Opens

August 23, 2022

New schedules and service to a new regional rail station have been implemented by Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

The 3.5-mile extension of service to the Wawa Station in Media, Pennsylvania, is the first expansion of the SEPTA rail network since 1985.

The rail line is now known as the Media/Wawa Line. It previously was named the Media/Elwyn Line.

New schedules that went into effect last Sunday have restored early morning service on the Airport Line on weekends, and provide earlier service to Center City Philadelphia on the Trenton, Lansdale/Doylestown, and West Trenton lines.

SEPTA Station To be Named for Store Chain

July 29, 2022

Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is naming a new rail station and rail line after convenience store chain Wawa.

The Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line will now be called the Media/Wawa Line to reflect the new terminus at 1490 W. Baltimore Pike in Wawa, Pennsylvania.

The convenience store chain is based in Wawa and has stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, and Washington, D.C.

In a news release, SEPTA said it has been working since 2018 to restore more than 3.5 miles of Regional Rail service west of Elwyn to the new Wawa Station. SEPTA trains last served the area in 1986.

The extension is the SEPTA’s first since the Airport Line began operating in 1985.

The Wawa Station will be fully ADA accessible with a pedestrian underpass and restroom facilities. It will feature a 600-space parking deck. It will connect with SEPTA Bus Routes 111 and 114.

The partnership with Wawa is SEPTA’s fifth major naming rights agreement since 2010.

SEPTA Outlines Options for Regional Rail

May 26, 2022

The Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has released three options for improving its regional rail network.

In a news release, SEPTA said the options are part of its strategic plan to envision regional rail as part of a lifestyle network of frequent, all-day and all-week services that connects people to a range of destinations across the region.

The options were developed after surveying current, past and potential riders as well as operators, staff and other stakeholders.

The options include focusing on consistent service throughout the network, providing service every 30 minutes; focusing on more frequent service (every 15 minutes) in some areas of the system where demand supports it; focusing on faster and integrated service across agencies, providing express services across the system all day.

The next step in the project is to gather public views on the three options this summer and fall.

Those views will be used to create a vision for the future of the regional rail system and develop a plan to implement short-, medium- and long-term solutions, SEPTA said.

Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, SEPTA regional rail handled 132,000 riders daily. SEPTA officials said their research found that even before the pandemic began many would-be riders chose to use other SEPTA services for a variety of reasons, including high fares for commuter trains, infrequent service and lack of accessibility.

SEPTA Seeks Upgrade of Regional Rail Network

May 20, 2022

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has begun the second phase of a project to improve its regional rail services with the goal of making them more useful.

In a news release, SPETA said it is working toward three goals, including providing consistent service every 30 minutes throughout the network; offering more frequent service (every 15 minutes) in some areas with higher demand; and offering faster and integrated services across all agencies, providing express services all day.

As part of the project SEPTA is offering a virtual questionnaire that asks riders about their travel habits and suggests a scenario based on that information.

The information gathered will be used to implement plans later this year.

The project is part of the SEPTA Forward initiative that seeks to transform the agency’s transit services into a “lifestyle transit network” that would provide all-day, all-week frequent service to riders, officials said.

SEPTA Seeks New Vision for Regional Rail

September 24, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority is seeking to create a new vision for its regional rail services.

The new vision is expected to be incorporated in the Philadelphia-based agency’s strategic plan for fiscal years 2021-2026.

Changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are figuring into the agency’s thinking about the future.

Before the pandemic, regional rail trains served 132,000 riders a day. But SEPTA researchers have found that many SEPTA riders are choosing SEPTA services that have higher fares, less frequent service and less accessibility rather than regional rail.

As currently constituted, regional rail is viewed by SEPTA as part of a lifestyle network of frequent, all-day and all-week services that connects people to a range of destinations across the region.

The project being undertaken by SEPTA, known as Reimagining Regional Rail, will consider infrastructure, equipment, operations and policies as it creates a new vision for the service.

The first phase of the project will seek to “better understand what works well, and not so well,” with Regional Rail, and set goals.

SEPTA will seek comment from current, past and potential riders as well as operators, staff and other stakeholders.

“These conversations will help our region identify a long-term vision, as well as shorter-term improvements to services, schedules and fare polices that make Regional Rail more convenient,”  SEPTA officials said.

The agency has created and launched a survey to get views on how often trains should run; what mix of express and local service there should be; how stations should be designed; how regional rail should connect to rapid transit, trolleys, buses and other rail service; and how fares should be integrated with other transit services.

The second phase of the project will get underway this winter and next spring. During that phase, SEPTA plans to develop options and seek public comment on them.

The third phase will be undertaken in summer and fall 2022 and focus on finishing the regional rail vision and creating a plan to implement it.

SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richard said nothing is off limits.

 “We are rethinking frequency, route lengths, fares, connections to buses and rail transit and more—all in the name of making Regional Rail more useful to more people,” she said.