• Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

  • 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

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  by ChemiosMurphy
 
JeffK wrote:[ ] Malfeasance

[ ] Willful blindness

[ ] Criminal stupidity

Choose at least one of the above
Septa still has rights to the line and an entire ROW rebuild would be necessary, DWM167 is right on the money in his post. I don't see what the issue is here. Much of the line is already served by the R2 and R3 to boot.


An even bigger issue is Newtown Junction being single tracked...

Maybe the trail concept will open up citizens' eyes to the Quakertown and Newtown lines and realize , "wow. maybe this could actually work." Don't be so gloomy. Innovation is born only with necessity (aka $7.00 gas).

Who knows what the future has in store, at least this plan preserves ownership of ROW.

Re:

  by Pacobell73
 
jfrey40535 wrote:So how is it that SEPTA was free to discontinue service, turn a working line that was given to them by Conrail, tear it apart and make it mush, but not be able to fix what they broke? They're holding onto the property, but making every effort to prevent it from being used for any mode of future mass transit.
Because SEPTA answers to no one except when it comes to making money. Harrisburg has not clamped down on SEPTA and their desecration of Conrail-inherited lines (Newtown, Bethlehem), so SEPTA does as they please. We have to get on Harrisburg. We know SEPTA is hurting the southeast region in a big way.
  by limejuice
 
Somebody please help me understand something here. Septa doesn't have the money to rebuild the line. They don't have the money to maintain the line. They only recently secured enough money to maintain what they presently operate on. So a proposal comes along that would maintain some of the right of way, and they would retain the right to operate it at will. Where's the problem? Nobody wants to see trains running on this line more than I do, but let's be real here. Septa was never going to operate on those tracks on that railbed in that condition. A short line operator could make it happen since they could afford to send 4 guys out to resurface the railbed every day at twelve bucks an hour.. but commuter rail is still unprofitable, and they would still need a subsidy, and that takes all those cost savings off the table. The reality is Septa owns the tracks, and they're only going to be rebuilt to their standards, at their cost of doing it. And they don't have that kind of money. Be happy the line isn't abandoned.
  by RussNelson
 
glennk419 wrote:Just wait until all those "trailers" start peeking in the Pitcairn's windows and polluting that beloved Pennypack creek with all of their trash and beer bottles.
Mmmmm, generally a rail-trail is cleaner than the abandoned railroad that preceded it. First, because people's expectations of its cleanliness are higher. Second, because there's usually a Friends of the Newtown Trail or somesuch group which takes reponsibility for keeping the trail clean. Third, because the trash and beer bottle people are already using the ROW for their wild drunken parties. And fourth, because a trail's sight-lines are longer, there's more chance of being spotted at malfeasance.
  by Pacobell73
 
limejuice wrote:A short line operator could make it happen since they could afford to send 4 guys out to resurface the railbed every day at twelve bucks an hour. Be happy the line isn't abandoned.
You are right. I am very thankful that the line is not abandoned. I do not think SEPTA has ever abandoned any trackage: in fact, they have done everything BUT that.

Yes. I have actually suggested establishing a Friends of the Newtown Line to clean it up and maintain it. SEPTA never seems to have a problem leasing the line out to everyone in God's green acres. As long as they make a buck and do not have to run non-electric trains, they are happy. Bucks County wouls love it, because it means the line is clear and then they can make their argument for restoring service that much stronger

I am sure SEPTA would be fine with this. Look at how well the West Chester Railroad is making out.
  by glennk419
 
RussNelson wrote:
glennk419 wrote:Just wait until all those "trailers" start peeking in the Pitcairn's windows and polluting that beloved Pennypack creek with all of their trash and beer bottles.
Mmmmm, generally a rail-trail is cleaner than the abandoned railroad that preceded it. First, because people's expectations of its cleanliness are higher. Second, because there's usually a Friends of the Newtown Trail or somesuch group which takes reponsibility for keeping the trail clean. Third, because the trash and beer bottle people are already using the ROW for their wild drunken parties. And fourth, because a trail's sight-lines are longer, there's more chance of being spotted at malfeasance.
My comment was meant somewhat tongue-in-cheek however, being that Bryn Athyn is a very insular community that has gone out of its' way to discourage outsiders from traveling through its' boundaries, I would also expect that there would be some displeasure by the residents with the additional traffic that a trail would generate. I have received some "looks" just hiking the existing ROW in the past.

This issue is also somewhat moot at this point as the portion of the ROW that is being voided of rails and converted to a trail is in Abington Township and although it does back up to some private residences, it runs largely along a county park which is staffed by rangers and patrolled by township police. If and when the trail were to be extended further north through Bryn Athyn, I would then expect that resistance to mount.
  by Pacobell73
 
glennk419 wrote:...being that Bryn Athyn is a very insular community that has gone out of its' way to discourage outsiders from traveling through its' boundaries...
Glennk419, that is a verrrrry accurate assessment of Bryn Athyn, one that should be promoted (negatively, of course) when discussing the Newtown line. I commend you! :-D
  by limejuice
 
Alright! Let's spread hearsay! Advancing stereotypes about an entire group of people never has any bad consequences, right? But hey, as long as it has an infinitesimal effect on our agenda, right? Just out of curiosity - anyone ever met someone from Bryn Athyn? Is there any hard evidence of the community as a whole actively opposing restoration of the branch? Or is the general hatred of the community only based on the Pennypack Trust's past opposition to electric train service?
  by glennk419
 
limejuice wrote:Alright! Let's spread hearsay! Advancing stereotypes about an entire group of people never has any bad consequences, right? But hey, as long as it has an infinitesimal effect on our agenda, right? Just out of curiosity - anyone ever met someone from Bryn Athyn? Is there any hard evidence of the community as a whole actively opposing restoration of the branch? Or is the general hatred of the community only based on the Pennypack Trust's past opposition to electric train service?
No offense intended or hatred implied whatsoever, just a general observation of how the borough has allowed many of it's roads and bridges (Creek, Paper Mill, et al) to detereorate over the years to the point where they had to be closed and gated to anything other than foot traffic (and barely adequate for that). The general sentiment toward opposition to through traffic and restoration of rail service in the interest of "privacy" has been well known and documented over the years. As for the Pennypack Trust, their efforts toward open space preservation should be applauded.
  by dreese_us
 
Postby limejuice on Thu May 07, 2009 4:51 pm
Alright! Let's spread hearsay! Advancing stereotypes about an entire group of people never has any bad consequences, right? But hey, as long as it has an infinitesimal effect on our agenda, right? Just out of curiosity - anyone ever met someone from Bryn Athyn? Is there any hard evidence of the community as a whole actively opposing restoration of the branch? Or is the general hatred of the community only based on the Pennypack Trust's past opposition to electric train service?
If I remember correctly, it was one of the Pitcairns that was against electrifying the line, not restoration of diesel service. They did not want the unsightly cat poles running through their community, destroying their park like views. I don't believe that the actual community was against electrification of service, just the family with a lot of money. I don't think the Pitcairn that was against electrification is still in the area.
  by limejuice
 
glennk419 wrote:No offense intended or hatred implied whatsoever, just a general observation of how the borough has allowed many of it's roads and bridges (Creek, Paper Mill, et al) to detereorate over the years to the point where they had to be closed and gated to anything other than foot traffic (and barely adequate for that). The general sentiment toward opposition to through traffic and restoration of rail service in the interest of "privacy" has been well known and documented over the years. As for the Pennypack Trust, their efforts toward open space preservation should be applauded.
I think those roads were intentionally left to deteriorate because the surrounding land either belonged to, or was willed to the trust. They have repaired the bridges though. This happens in other places in this kind of situation. For example, where the Schuylkill River Trail goes from Shawmont down toward Manayunk was once a through road. Certainly the Bryn Athyn folks in general are a bit insular, but not aggressively so. I mean they have a big banner in front of their church welcoming anyone, so it's not as if they want to be completely shut off from outsiders. I've always been met with friendly faces when hiking the right of way. And I'm sure many other trespassers are outsiders just as we are.
  by limejuice
 
dreese_us wrote:If I remember correctly, it was one of the Pitcairns that was against electrifying the line, not restoration of diesel service. They did not want the unsightly cat poles running through their community, destroying their park like views. I don't believe that the actual community was against electrification of service, just the family with a lot of money. I don't think the Pitcairn that was against electrification is still in the area.
That's what I'd figured. It was Feodor Pitcairn, and he's still in the area, but no longer on the board of the trust or the Montco planning commission, as he was when the issue was last raised. Apparently he's now in the underwater ocean videography business. I wonder what would happen if the issue were raised today? The world has changed a bit in 20 years.
  by Pacobell73
 
limejuice wrote:Alright! Let's spread hearsay! Advancing stereotypes about an entire group of people never has any bad consequences, right? But hey, as long as it has an infinitesimal effect on our agenda, right? Just out of curiosity - anyone ever met someone from Bryn Athyn? Is there any hard evidence of the community as a whole actively opposing restoration of the branch? Or is the general hatred of the community only based on the Pennypack Trust's past opposition to electric train service?
limejuice, of course I am making a generalization, so keep it in context. No hatred involved. This speaks more to the politics of the area than branding every resident. However, it can be argued that --- SEPTA aside --- Bryn Athyn, and even moreso, Abington's Ward 2, where the trail is---has always put their agenda front and center instead in partaking in something that is for the greater good of the region. By Abington Ward 2 pushing their well endowed people and politics around, they are hurting every other town who has pushed hard for the last 25+ years to restore rail service. Why should one town be allowed over hurt Newtown, Holland, Churchville, Southampton, etc?

Quite frankly, the Pennypack Trust should be given an award for their opposition to electric train service. The fact they want to preserve open space is a Godsend. That will simply force the reluctant SEPTA to run non-electric trains, which is an easier start-up anyway.
limejuice, we are all on the same side of the fence here. I have been at the Newtown restoration project since 1995. I have seen textbook examples of bureaucracy, fascism, draconian behaviors, corruptness, narcissism, lack of adhocracy and community interaction – in the end, it has come to naught. The train not running leads to one county turning against another. The goal in the end is to get cars off the road, and that has all but been lost. To play this game, it is all politics. Abington(or at least some of its constituents) chose to play hardball in the sandbox quite some time ago, so the pro-rail advocates must play at their level. In all of this, SEPTA can sit back, watch the dog fight take place, and lease out the line --- an easy way to make money off of the Newtown line.

All it takes is a simple travel to Europe to see how everything is connected by rail. Sure, they have their issues, but the government is behind them. England nearly fell into the pitfall that America is stuck in, commonly known as the "Beeching Axe." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeching_axe
Last edited by Pacobell73 on Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:11 am, edited 4 times in total.
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