CComMack wrote:Am I correct in surmising that the only way to get a train from Philadelphia to Allentown these days is the long way around through Reading? As though Lehigh Valley-NYC service wouldn't raise eyebrows at NS headquarters on its own.
NS is against providing service or capacity. They just want compensation. Money talks, liability walks!
The old double tracked Reading RR bring SEPTA up to Lansdale (electrified territory ends in Lansdale), and then the line continues freight only to Quakertown. From Quakertown to Bethlehem, the line was still double tracked (for most part), but SEPTA and the freight RR's abandoned the line just as Bethlehem Steel was going out of business. So the line is abandoned north of Quakertown, with part of it made into a rail trail, sort of cementing the fate of SEPTA ever returning to Bethlehem as far as I am concerned. Even though that conversation or "restoration" of service comes up about every five years and even becomes a political debate.
Frankly, if ANY passenger service is to be restored, I can only see this happening between Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and on into NJ to Newark/NYC metro area (east-west, as opposed to north-south). And going the other way to Harrisburg, I think that is less attractive, plus you have LOTS of NS traffic to deal with. Although I think a service from Bethlehem to Philly would kinda "work" in present atmosphere (and out to Allentown), it would have only worked if the Reading's tracks were still being used. That train long departed. And its too bad that SEPTA pulled out of the Bethlehem market.
But in order to maintain solvency - or maintain some face with the State and who they were getting funds from - I think they had to abandon passenger train service to Bethlehem, Reading, and Pottsville (e.g. non-electrified territory). However, most of the trains running to these terminuses were largely Budd railiners anyway at the end......and could have just terminated at some point near or outside of Philly. I don't think they would have let a Budd railiners into the new underground Reading Market station and tunnel over to Suburban Station etc. Gunn was at the helm of SEPTA when this all went down I believe. But as mentioned there was tremendous pressure to scale back the SEPTA system to just "electrified" territory.