Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

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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SubwayTim
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Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by SubwayTim » Mon May 28, 2012 12:39 am

I used to have this book called something like "The Road To Upper Darby", which was about the construction of the Market Street and Frankford Elevateds. The book had a map of Philadelphia showing the once-proposed subway and elevated lines, which of coarse, were never built. Some of those lines included els along Lancaster Ave., Woodland Ave. and Passyunk Ave.. I don't remember the other lines that were shown on that map, but there were quite a few. I've often wondered how much different, if at all, Philadelphia would have been if those lines were built. I'm probably one of many railfans who are very disappointed that those lines never became a reality. I've often believed if those lines were built, Philadelphia would be more like a "mini" New York City, where no matter what part of the city you were in, you would almost be within walking distance of a subway or elevated line.
One question that comes to mind...
Will Philadelphia EVER see the construction of a new rail transit line...whether it be in the form of a subway, elevated or light rail??? I'm talking entirely new lines...not extensions of existing lines such as the Broad Street Subway, Market-Frankford Line or PATCO.
There are cities much smaller than Philadelphia that have much larger rail transit systems, including Washington, DC and Boston, possibly among others.
It makes me wonder if those cities can have a large (and expanding) rail transit system, why can't Philadelphia???
You take the midnight subway train...You're calling all the shots...You're struck by lightning...You're in love. RATT, 1985

Quinn
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by Quinn » Mon May 28, 2012 2:11 am

SubwayTim wrote:Will Philadelphia EVER see the construction of a new rail transit line...whether it be in the form of a subway, elevated or light rail??? I'm talking entirely new lines...not extensions of existing lines such as the Broad Street Subway, Market-Frankford Line or PATCO.
I highly doubt it. There doesn't seem to be an ability to even maintain the currently-owned portions of the system they may want to use (i.e. Wawa). On top of the cost of new construction, I don't think Septa could dream of getting the rights to all of the land for new ROWs, on or off street.

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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by Patrick Boylan » Mon May 28, 2012 8:19 am

Close, the title was "The Road From Upper Darby"
http://www.amazon.com/Road-From-Upper-D ... B0007DMSAU
SubwayTim wrote:The book had a map of Philadelphia showing the once-proposed subway and elevated lines, which of coarse, were never built. Some of those lines included els along Lancaster Ave., Woodland Ave. and Passyunk Ave.
It's been decades since I read it, but if it's the map I'm thinking of its caption said they were proposed subway-elevated OR streetcar lines, some of which for streets too narrow to allow a single trolley car.
SubwayTim wrote:Will Philadelphia EVER see the construction of a new rail transit line...whether it be in the form of a subway, elevated or light rail??? I'm talking entirely new lines...not extensions of existing lines such as the Broad Street Subway, Market-Frankford Line or PATCO.
several places in http://railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=72&t=47494 mention PATCO's proposals, or fantasies if you will, to build a new surface light rail line in Philly
SubwayTim wrote:There are cities much smaller than Philadelphia that have much larger rail transit systems, including Washington, DC and Boston, possibly among others.
Do you mean smaller cities or smaller metropolitan areas? The 2 cities you list don't have as extensive a traditional railroad commuter train system as Philly, and all but 1 of their rail transit lines, Boston's Green line E branch which is entirely inside the city limits, go considerably into the suburbs.
If it's in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_U ... ical_Areas it must be true
Philly 5,965,343
DC 5,582,170
Boston 4,552,402
I wouldn't call DC metro area "much smaller" than Philly

SubwayTim
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by SubwayTim » Mon May 28, 2012 2:09 pm

Wasn't there talk at one time about extending the Broad Street Subway to the Navy Yard and possibly across the river to New Jersey, where a "park and ride" facility would be built? As for PATCO, there was talk not too long ago about extending to Glassboro and possibly further.
Also, it's a shame the Roosevelt Blvd. subway never became a reality. I've heard at one point construction on that line started, with a station being built near the old Sears building at Adams Ave., which was torn down in the mid 1990's.
You take the midnight subway train...You're calling all the shots...You're struck by lightning...You're in love. RATT, 1985

scotty269
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by scotty269 » Mon May 28, 2012 3:42 pm

SubwayTim wrote: it's a shame the Roosevelt Blvd. subway never became a reality. I've heard at one point construction on that line started, with a station being built near the old Sears building at Adams Ave., which was torn down in the mid 1990's.
Uh-oh! The can of worms has been opened!!! RUN!!!!!

I'll let amtrak67 chime in on this one.

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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by Amtrak67 of America » Mon May 28, 2012 5:08 pm

Chime in how??? This has been discussed from what I remember. The station was indeed built and the Phantom Rider did an article about it in the 90s before it was torn down when Sears was imploded.
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MarketStEl
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by MarketStEl » Tue May 29, 2012 12:31 am

Boston, Washington (sans Baltimore), and Philadelphia are roughly comparable metropolitan regions in size.

Boston's regional rail network is actually more extensive than Philadelphia's. What distinguishes SEPTA Regional Rail from its peers is its relative compactness and station density - stations are far closer together on Regional Rail than on its peer systems, and its lines do not extend out as far from the city center; I believe that the farthest a Regional Rail line extends from central Philadelphia is about 30 miles - Newark, Del. You can find lines extending further than that on MARC, the MBTA, Chicago Metra and I believe even Virginia Railway Express.

Don't quote me on this, but when last I checked this, the rapid transit systems of Boston (excluding the Green Line) and Philadelphia (same, and including PATCO) have just about the same number of route miles. The difference is that the City of Philadelphia alone could include all of the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett and Revere, and maybe even Medford and Malden, within its limits, while all of these communities are either suburbs or satellite cities in Metro Boston. (Note that I've left out the South Shore municipalities served by the Braintree branch of the Red Line. That's analogous to PATCO territory in South Jersey.)

railwye
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by railwye » Tue May 29, 2012 12:39 am

Patrick Boylan wrote: “The 2 cities [Washington and Boston] you [SubwayTim] list don't have as extensive a traditional railroad commuter train system as Philly, and all but 1 of their rail transit lines, Boston's Green line E branch which is entirely inside the city limits, go considerably into the suburbs.”

In fact, the Boston area has a rather extensive commuter train network. I think that, compared to Philadelphia, not so much of it is geared to serving travel within the city limits.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mbta_commuter_rail

octr202
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by octr202 » Tue May 29, 2012 1:18 pm

You're comparing (to an extent) apples and oranges when you compare Boston's commuter rail system to SEPTA's RRD. As an above poster mentioned, SEPTA has much more service to the City of Philadelphia (let's call by comparison in Boston, the "urban core" which is essentially the 617 area code - Boston and the cities that would be part of the "City of Boston" if it were comparable to Philly in terms of area*), whereas in Boston the commuter rail network largely doesn't serve this area very much. While there are certainly stations within this "urban core area" the level of service at them limits usefulness. While it's already been mentioned that SEPTA lines often have more closely spaced stations, and are shorter overall, the level of service is probably the biggest difference. Many of our lines here have at times 30-45 minute headways at rush hour, let alone off-peak or weekends. Working from memory, I think the best you can get on weekends is 90 min to 2 hour headways up here - a far cry from what's offered on many SEPTA RRD lines. As a result, in communities where rapid transit or bus service overlaps with commuter rail, it does a lot more of the work in this urban core up here. The MBTA commuter rail system is really more of a traditional commuter railroad, not a regional rail system - it's usefulness outside of peak commuter hours (and for reverse commuting) is rather limited, despite what patronage it still gets.

And of course, Washington DC is even more skewed as the Metro really is a hybrid of a subway/rapid transit system and a commuter rail system, with it's reach into the suburbs. And of course, there's really only the most basic of commuter rail systems in DC as well, shifting more of the travel to the Metro.

*If you want to be particular, the cities I'd include in that are: Revere, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, Belmont, Watertown, Newton, Brookline, Quincy, Milton, and possibly Braintree. Not all of them are in the 617 area code, but most are. That might make the City of Boston proper itself more comparable to other large cities like Philadelphia.
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by Choo Choo » Tue May 29, 2012 2:45 pm

And don't forget the Somerton El... made it to planning phase but then abandoned.

JeffK
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by JeffK » Tue May 29, 2012 10:41 pm

Also the Center City Loop under Arch Street ...

scotty269
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by scotty269 » Wed May 30, 2012 12:01 am

JeffK wrote:Also the Center City Loop under Arch Street ...
Parts of this plan include the BSL and PATCO, to those who are curious.

SubwayTim
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by SubwayTim » Wed May 30, 2012 3:56 pm

Choo Choo wrote:And don't forget the Somerton El... made it to planning phase but then abandoned.
Where would this be? Above what street(s) would the Somerton El have been built and where would it have started/ended??? Why was it abandoned???
You take the midnight subway train...You're calling all the shots...You're struck by lightning...You're in love. RATT, 1985

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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by tgolanos » Thu May 31, 2012 10:45 am

SubwayTim wrote:
Choo Choo wrote:And don't forget the Somerton El... made it to planning phase but then abandoned.
Where would this be? Above what street(s) would the Somerton El have been built and where would it have started/ended??? Why was it abandoned???
I don't recall ever reading about or hearing about this one. Choo, you sure you're not thinking about the MFL extension (above Bustleton Avenue) to the Boulevard?
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scotty269
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Re: Once-Proposed Subway/Elevated Lines In Philly

Post by scotty269 » Thu May 31, 2012 11:51 am

tgolanos wrote:
SubwayTim wrote:
Choo Choo wrote:And don't forget the Somerton El... made it to planning phase but then abandoned.
Where would this be? Above what street(s) would the Somerton El have been built and where would it have started/ended??? Why was it abandoned???
I don't recall ever reading about or hearing about this one. Choo, you sure you're not thinking about the MFL extension (above Bustleton Avenue) to the Boulevard?
http://www.flickr.com/photos/luciuskwok ... otostream/

*BSL extension via the Boulevard to Southampton Rd (Near Somerton)
*MFL extension from FTC to Bustleton/Boulevard to connect to BSL extension
*Re-addition of passenger trains via CSX Trenton Line

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