• Has there ever been proposal to convert NHSL to subway Guage.

  • 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/.
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/.

Moderator: AlexC

  by scratchyX1
 
Since the same gear has been used on both routes, how come septa never thought of reguaging the NHSL into an extension of market Frankford line?
It would remove a transfer, and be more efficient.
  by JeffK
 
The idea's been talked about for years, but it’s one of those things like "widen / double-deck the Expressway" - intriguing but highly complex once you get into the weeds..

First, the use of the same "gear" was only a stopgap measure during the infamous period between demise of the Brill cars and arrival of the N-5s. SEPTA took half a dozen (IIRC) single-unit Almond Joys and extensively modified them for use on tripper runs limited to the lower end (69th St. - Bryn Mawr) of the line. The cars needed modification to accommodate station clearances, signaling, and fare collection.

But the real impediment is that it wouldn’t be a simple matter to reconfigure an interurban line for subway trains. The El and NHSL (P&W) have different geometries, platforms, and operating characteristics.

• The NHSL couldn’t simply be regauged, it would have to be reconfigured from the roadbed up to deal with platform clearances and curve radii. Platforms would have to be lengthened and some possibly even moved because they’re located on curves. The overrunning third rail would have to be converted to underrunning. They also use different voltages, although off the top of my head I can’t say how difficult it would be to reconcile them.

• The El operates with multi-car trains and station-based fare collection. The NHSL uses only single or double cars and onboard collection. Stations would require full gating à la Millbourne. Ridership is about 10K per day which probably wouldn’t justify running six-car consists beyond Upper Darby, so either El service would have to be reworked to use shorter trains or have a mixture of six- and two-car consists. That’s certainly not impossible but could create boarding issues for the much larger passenger loads typical on the El.

Bottom line, the gain probably couldn’t justify the cost.

It’s hugely unfortunate that integration of this area's transit system is hobbled by the legacy of incompatible standards either created by uncoordinated private developers or forced on it by political decisions (most obviously "trolley gauge"). Given enough money, my humble (?!) proposals for physical integration/reconfiguring the Red Arrow / PTC interface would include:

- Redesign 69th Street to bring the four rail lines into a common station that also supported as many bus routes as possible, with less walking and better weather protection.

- Extend the NHSL east to meet the proposed PATCO extension at University City. Although operational differences are about as great as with the El, the two systems are at least physically compatible. That opens up the possibility of some service overlap if not necessarily full through-running. FWIW, something similar to this was first proposed by the DVRPC nearly half a century ago.

But I dream ...
  by eolesen
 

JeffK wrote:Bottom line, the gain probably couldn’t justify the cost.
Agree. Gauge is only one aspect of why this line remained as an island.

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  by JeffK
 
eolesen wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 5:26 pm Agree. Gauge is only one aspect of why this line remained as an island.
A lot of it’s due to the line's origins as a grade-separated interurban built to steam-railroad standards rather than Yet Another Trolley Line. Gauge-wise, it's almost a "negative island" because it isn’t PA trolley gauge (!)

Trivia 1: Running the El to Norristown wasn’t the first proposal for combined services. But rather than running El cars beyond 69th St., early in the last century the Taylors wanted to bring their PSTC's cars onto the El by equipping them with shoes as well as poles. For a number of reasons it never got beyond the talking stage..

Trivia 2: The P&W's owners briefly contemplated an extension to the Delaware along Chestnut St., as a competitor to the El/subway. IF (huge If) the DVRPC plan for a connection to PATCO in University City ever happens it would almost be a realization of that century-old proposal.
  by R36 Combine Coach
 
JeffK wrote: Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:24 am First, the use of the same "gear" was only a stopgap measure during the infamous period between
the Brill cars and arrival of the N-5s. SEPTA took half a dozen (IIRC) single-unit Almond Joys and
extensively modified them for use on tripper runs limited to the lower end (69th St. - Bryn Mawr)
of the line. The cars needed modification for clearances, signaling, and fare collection.
In addition to purchased CTA 6000s, five H&M K-cars that were retired in 1989 were sold by PANYNJ to allow
truck donors for the M3s. They were reefed off Sea Girt, NJ in 1990.
  by MACTRAXX
 
R36 and JK: I will second this mention of the five PATH Class K cars (built 1958) that were used to re-truck
the five Market-Frankford single unit cars for NHSL service. The cars needed outside door ledges and a fare
box placed inside (two-person crew) in the middle of the car interior. All five were named for space shuttles.
There is previous discussion about these cars in the SEPTA Forum archives...MACTRAXX
  by BuddCar711
 
Well the NHSL is already subway guage (as in Broad Street Subway). IMO, if funds were inconsequential, the Market-Frankford Line and the 101 &102 trolley lines should be reguaged to standard guage.
  by JeffK
 
MACTRAXX wrote: Mon Mar 15, 2021 6:16 am R36 and JK: I will second this mention of the five PATH Class K cars (built 1958) that were used to re-truck the five Market-Frankford single unit cars for NHSL service. The cars needed outside door ledges and a fare box placed inside (two-person crew) in the middle of the car interior. All five were named for space shuttles.
There is previous discussion about these cars in the SEPTA Forum archives... MACTRAXX
I remember the CTAs well, although not fondly. Left them out of my earlier response because the OP seemed only to be referring to the "shuttles".

I rode the first CTA to be put in operation. SEPTA was in such dire need that they initially did the bare minimum to get them running and slapped them into service. IIRC it and its partners were still in CTA livery. Eventually they were repainted, renumbered, and spiffed up a bit but they still showed every mile they’d run on the "L". They leaked air, were dimly lit, and complained bitterly if pushed over 40-45 mph. That said, the line owes a huge debt to the CTAs and the Victory shops. I'm certain that without them there would have been a lot of pressure to close the NHSL or convert it to BRT.
BuddCar711 wrote: Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:36 am Well the NHSL is already subway guage (as in Broad Street Subway). IMO, if funds were inconsequential, the Market-Frankford Line and the 101 &102 trolley lines should be reguaged to standard guage.
Well, technically, 😃, but as they’re both standard gauge ...

It would be nice to see the end of the trolley gauge. Too close to standard gauge to allow three-rail operation but too broad for wide flanges, perfect for preventing interoperability.
  by PHLSpecial
 
BuddCar711 wrote: Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:36 am Well the NHSL is already subway guage (as in Broad Street Subway). IMO, if funds were inconsequential, the Market-Frankford Line and the 101 &102 trolley lines should be reguaged to standard guage.
It would make buying trainsets for the MFL way easier in the future. Same with trolleys but that would shut down all the trolleys Septa decide to switch to standard gauge.
  by scratchyX1
 
PHLSpecial wrote: Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:15 pm
BuddCar711 wrote: Mon Mar 15, 2021 7:36 am Well the NHSL is already subway guage (as in Broad Street Subway). IMO, if funds were inconsequential, the Market-Frankford Line and the 101 &102 trolley lines should be reguaged to standard guage.
It would make buying trainsets for the MFL way easier in the future. Same with trolleys but that would shut down all the trolleys Septa decide to switch to standard gauge.
Yeah, and SEPTA may then decide to never reactivate, after shutting down.