Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Discussion relating to Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia Metro Area). Official web site can be found here: www.septa.com. Also including discussion related to the PATCO Speedline rapid transit operated by Delaware River Port Authority. Official web site can be found here: http://www.ridepatco.org/.

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septaglizzy27
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:44 pm

Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by septaglizzy27 »

I see that SEPTA is ripping up rails at Fox Chase station and I see that in Bethlehem , they’re building some building on top of the ROW. I hear rumors that they’re plans to restore the Bethlehem , Newtown , and Pottsville Lines. How would they restore when SEPTA lacks the equipment?

ConstanceR46
Posts: 448
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:57 pm

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by ConstanceR46 »

Plans are different than proposals. I believe transit advocates are proposing restoring them - and that's good, but that's just vapor until SEPTA agrees.
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nationalize the class 1s

rcthompson04
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by rcthompson04 »

Unless it is on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s 25 year plan it is unlikely to happen. Right now the DVRPC has five regional rail extensions on the plan:

1) Extension of Paoli-Thorndale to Atglen
2) Restoring Media-Elwyn to West Chester
3) Restoring Norristown to Pottstown
4) Restoring Lansdale to Perkasie
5) Restoring NJT Service from West Trenton to northern New Jersey

septaglizzy27
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:44 pm

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by septaglizzy27 »

rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:17 pm
Unless it is on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s 25 year plan it is unlikely to happen. Right now the DVRPC has five regional rail extensions on the plan:

1) Extension of Paoli-Thorndale to Atglen
2) Restoring Media-Elwyn to West Chester
3) Restoring Norristown to Pottstown
4) Restoring Lansdale to Perkasie
5) Restoring NJT Service from West Trenton to northern New Jersey
Elwyn to West Chester and Norristown to Pottstown seems the most realistic

mcgrath618
Posts: 498
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:11 pm

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by mcgrath618 »

rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:17 pm
Unless it is on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s 25 year plan it is unlikely to happen. Right now the DVRPC has five regional rail extensions on the plan:

1) Extension of Paoli-Thorndale to Atglen
2) Restoring Media-Elwyn to West Chester
3) Restoring Norristown to Pottstown
4) Restoring Lansdale to Perkasie
5) Restoring NJT Service from West Trenton to northern New Jersey
I'm wondering if they'd just electrify the Bethlehem Branch to Perkasie. It would make sense to lay out the groundwork now for a future return to Quakertown or even Bethlehem.

To that end, I wonder if the plan for Pottstown is to electrify the line. I've heard NS has been more lenient lately about letting them put copper back up, provided they could still get double stacks through AND the middle track was restored.

septaglizzy27
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:44 pm

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by septaglizzy27 »

mcgrath618 wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:31 am
rcthompson04 wrote:
Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:17 pm
Unless it is on the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s 25 year plan it is unlikely to happen. Right now the DVRPC has five regional rail extensions on the plan:

1) Extension of Paoli-Thorndale to Atglen
2) Restoring Media-Elwyn to West Chester
3) Restoring Norristown to Pottstown
4) Restoring Lansdale to Perkasie
5) Restoring NJT Service from West Trenton to northern New Jersey
I'm wondering if they'd just electrify the Bethlehem Branch to Perkasie. It would make sense to lay out the groundwork now for a future return to Quakertown or even Bethlehem.

To that end, I wonder if the plan for Pottstown is to electrify the line. I've heard NS has been more lenient lately about letting them put copper back up, provided they could still get double stacks through AND the middle track was restored.
Pottstown seems more realistic then

rcthompson04
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by rcthompson04 »

I would rank them in most likely to less likely in this order:

1 - Atglen seems like a no-brainer. Improvements are in the works for Coatesville and Parkesburg stations and the prior interlocking problems that resulted in service being cut back to Downingtown (later restored to Thorndale) appear to have been resolved during the work on the line for the Keystone Service. Going back to Coatesville and Parkesburg are probably going to happen within 5 years. Atglen is not as easy, but the new Park interlocking was designed with the future station at Atglen in mind.

2 - Norristown to Phoenixville is being aggressively pushed the local governments who are doing some of the heavy lifting for SEPTA. The odds of a limited dual-mode peak hour service happening within 5 years seems high. Maybe if it is successful and the money comes along to encourage NS to allow electrification to Phoenixville we will see regular service. I am a little more skeptical of going past Phoenixville though due to the Black Rock Tunnel though. Anything past Phoenixville would probably require dual modes and a limited peak service.

3 - Going to Perkasie seems like a Bucks/Montgomery County version of the Wawa extension. Probably requires both counties to get on board from a monetary perspective.

4 - Going back to West Chester seems to be a battle between cost and impact. I am sure the borough would love it, but would many people still drive to Exton or Malvern instead of going to a station closer to their home. I am about 2 miles from the old West Chester station, but I would likely have a shorter commute if I went to Exton or Malvern still.

5 - West Trenton to North Jersey - LOL

septaglizzy27
Posts: 14
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:44 pm

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by septaglizzy27 »

rcthompson04 wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:06 pm
I would rank them in most likely to less likely in this order:

1 - Atglen seems like a no-brainer. Improvements are in the works for Coatesville and Parkesburg stations and the prior interlocking problems that resulted in service being cut back to Downingtown (later restored to Thorndale) appear to have been resolved during the work on the line for the Keystone Service. Going back to Coatesville and Parkesburg are probably going to happen within 5 years. Atglen is not as easy, but the new Park interlocking was designed with the future station at Atglen in mind.

2 - Norristown to Phoenixville is being aggressively pushed the local governments who are doing some of the heavy lifting for SEPTA. The odds of a limited dual-mode peak hour service happening within 5 years seems high. Maybe if it is successful and the money comes along to encourage NS to allow electrification to Phoenixville we will see regular service. I am a little more skeptical of going past Phoenixville though due to the Black Rock Tunnel though. Anything past Phoenixville would probably require dual modes and a limited peak service.

3 - Going to Perkasie seems like a Bucks/Montgomery County version of the Wawa extension. Probably requires both counties to get on board from a monetary perspective.

4 - Going back to West Chester seems to be a battle between cost and impact. I am sure the borough would love it, but would many people still drive to Exton or Malvern instead of going to a station closer to their home. I am about 2 miles from the old West Chester station, but I would likely have a shorter commute if I went to Exton or Malvern still.

5 - West Trenton to North Jersey - LOL
they mean bringing back the West Trenton-Newark Penn section

MelroseMatt
Posts: 217
Joined: Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:00 pm
Location: Center City, Philadelphia, PA

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by MelroseMatt »

A whole back, a friend and I were talking about Fern Rock (Track 0) to Hoboken via West Trenton as a new home for the ACES equipment. The idea would be to plunk a bar car in the middle of the train and go after the "leasure" market. Service would run Friday, Saturday, Sunday, with trains into late night. Unlike ACES, it wouldn't need an electric engine, this one could use diesel only, in a push-pull setup. We figured there are so many people traveling between Philly and NYC on the various train and bus services, plus people driving, we should be able to convince enough of them to take the fun train to have a shot at breaking even.
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ExCon90
Posts: 4612
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by ExCon90 »

rcthompson04 wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:06 pm
4 - Going back to West Chester seems to be a battle between cost and impact. I am sure the borough would love it, but would many people still drive to Exton or Malvern instead of going to a station closer to their home. I am about 2 miles from the old West Chester station, but I would likely have a shorter commute if I went to Exton or Malvern still.
For just that reason I'm still not convinced that electrification of the rest of the line to West Chester--let alone the associated track and signal work--is justified; it's just too twisty, and even if they ran express from Media with only one or two intermediate stops--Swarthmore? Secane?--I think you could still beat it by using Exton or Malvern.
(I'd still leave West Trenton to North Jersey in 5th place, even with 4th place vacant.)

rcthompson04
Posts: 441
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:32 am

Re: Future of the 4 Former Diesel Lines

Post by rcthompson04 »

ExCon90 wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:27 pm
rcthompson04 wrote:
Tue Jan 21, 2020 3:06 pm
4 - Going back to West Chester seems to be a battle between cost and impact. I am sure the borough would love it, but would many people still drive to Exton or Malvern instead of going to a station closer to their home. I am about 2 miles from the old West Chester station, but I would likely have a shorter commute if I went to Exton or Malvern still.
For just that reason I'm still not convinced that electrification of the rest of the line to West Chester--let alone the associated track and signal work--is justified; it's just too twisty, and even if they ran express from Media with only one or two intermediate stops--Swarthmore? Secane?--I think you could still beat it by using Exton or Malvern.
(I'd still leave West Trenton to North Jersey in 5th place, even with 4th place vacant.)
A better solution would be improving the bus service from West Chester to Exton. If the bus service was not so poorly timed I would use it as the bus runs 2 blocks from my house.

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