• 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 glennk419
 
cpontani wrote:I got one of the fake timetables at Market East the other day. Amusing.

Now I've never been up on that side of Philly before, don't claim to have grown up there, never rode the line back in the day, etc. I'm still having a hard time justifying making the investment in reinstating heavy rail service to Newtown. How can you say there's demand there when the two bus routes that claim to demonstrate demand run half-hourly and hourly? There's a ton of better uses for expansion/improvement of current service. For example, you can make the case for upgrading any bus route that currently has peak service headways of ten minutes or less and convert/upgrade them to trackless trolley. You could make the case for expanding the regional rail to small outlying cities like Reading, Allentown, or Lancaster/Harrisburg (Septa taking over the Keystone Corridor). You can make the case for increasing the service on the existing regional rail for more frequently than the hourly service you get most of the day. You can make the case for improving the current stations and update them from their third-world decor. You can improve the fare vending and collection systems (just imagine TVM's at all stations). But I still feel you need to make the case for reinstating the R8 to Newtown.
Try sitting in traffic on Second Street Pike or try to get a parking spot at Warminster for a few days. That'll get you started.
  by cpontani
 
Again, I never claimed to be up there. But in my unscientific observation on Google Maps, 2nd Street Pike doesn't look any more built up that Branywine Hundred in Delaware, and the traffic on the main roads here isn't unbearable.

I also don't understand the problem with parking at Warminster. According to septa.org, there's an average of 46 available daily parking spots at Warminster. Down where I am, they claim there's 21 available at Claymont, and I've never had a problem parking there. Marcus Hook? 10. Again, no problems there. Prospect Park? ZERO, and I get a spot every time. Norwood, which averages 21 empties? No problem there either. And if I'm running into Delco, it's because I'm running late and will miss the train at Claymont, not because there's a lack of parking.
  by Tritransit Area
 
Which two bus routes are you referring to? The 24 and the 130?

I think the reinstatement of the Newtown line is to provide a "relief" for riders who rely on the R2 (in Warminster) and the R3 (in the Newtown/Yardley area). Warminster is crowded (exiting the lot is quite a chore, as people literally run off the train and to their cars so they can go towards the front of the line), and Street and Jacksonville Roads in the area are quite clogged.

On the Woodbourne/Newtown side, the Newtown bypass has horrendous traffic issues in the rush hour as people are trying to head to I-95. However, development still is occuring there. Also, a lot of people want to be able to walk up/have shorter drives to the rail line. Additionally, R3 West Trenton trains are increasingly becoming overcrowded.

Despite the desire for this service, there are higher priorities out there which need the money. After those are built, then let's talk Newtown.

  by PullmanCo
 
there are higher priorities out there which need the money
In particular...?

Re:

  by scotty269
 
PullmanCo wrote:
there are higher priorities out there which need the money
In particular...?
Uhh, the Woodhaven Road extension?

:-D

Re:

  by Franklin Gowen
 
PullmanCo wrote:
there are higher priorities out there which need the money
In particular...?
[-discreet cough-]

Image

:wink:
  by jfrey40535
 
How can you say there's demand there when the two bus routes that claim to demonstrate demand run half-hourly and hourly?
The bus routes are not competitive for travel to Center City, so patronage on them remains light.
But I still feel you need to make the case for reinstating the R8 to Newtown.
The Newtown line has the distinct characteristic of having no barriers to restoring service. SEPTA owns the ROW, it is not shared with any other traffic (freight, Amtrak, etc), it involves no land aquisition, would use existing SEPTA RRD technology with full integration into the SEPTA system, and is on a established, known, populated and growing corridor with no other alternate service.

The line could be considered straightforward and shovel-ready because of the above factors meaning only engineering would be needed for installing electrification infrastructure. Newtown Twp has already set aside land for a park-n-ride facility next to the Newtown bypass.

The project is low cost compared to other SEPTA projects and initiatives. Costs would range between $150-$200 million for 15 miles of track. By comparison, SEPTA spent $90 million on Smart Stations. $277 million is budgeted for 4.5miles of track on the KOP extension, $510 million for the BSL extension to the Navy Yard, $740 million spent on MFSE reconstruction or $2.3 billion for the Blvd subway.

We could also expect acceptable ridership from the line. A 2005 study predicted 2,500 riders per day for a BRT service. Rail would pump that number up even higher, and when combined with ridership on the current Fox Chase line, Newtown would be on par with a operating ratio similar to other branches on the system. The availability of parking on neighboring lines is close to zero, with Warminster being the exception, so most likely the re-opening of Newtown would only draw more commuters onto the system.
  by cpontani
 
So if this is so shovel-ready then the conspiracy theory that Bryn Athyn or some other podunk town holding this up is bunk, no?
  by Tritransit Area
 
One of the major barriers that was noted in a study is that darn crossing at Bethayres. With R3 trains traveling up to 65 mph on that traffic, would SEPTA, or better yet, the FRA, allow the crossing of two "high speed" passenger lines? The creation of an overpass jacks the price up immensely, unfortunately.
  by cpontani
 
So then it's a combination of first and foremost cost, then doing so at the expense of bleeding off the R2 and R3 to an extent. It has NOTHING to do with municipalities preventing trains from operating in their locales, correct?
  by jfrey40535
 
One of the major barriers that was noted in a study is that darn crossing at Bethayres. With R3 trains traveling up to 65 mph on that traffic, would SEPTA, or better yet, the FRA, allow the crossing of two "high speed" passenger lines?
I've been researching that issue and have not been able to come up with any FRA ruling on the crossing of 2 lines as such. The best I could get out of someone was that the FRA would permit a crossing with some type of speed restriction on it, something to the tune of 40mph. A speed restriction here would not be considered detrimental to service. R3 trains are already slowing/accellerating for Bethayers. A similar restriction on the Newtown line would not be a impediment either because of the nature of the track in that area.

If you'll notice, everyone is coming up with every excuse in the book not to run the original routing, but this should be the routing of choice, because the 2,500 riders/day generate from Newtown combined with the current ridership on the existing Fox Chase line (the line would function as a single unit) would in turn generate an acceptable operating ratio.
So if this is so shovel-ready then the conspiracy theory that Bryn Athyn or some other podunk town holding this up is bunk, no?
This is actually a misconception. Bryn Athen is not opposed to restoration of service. The problem area is Abington, where the current trail is. Why do you think the trail got pushed through and built so fast? It was approved in 2008 and opened this spring. In 2004 Upper Southampton tried the same thing, and SEPTA told them no because they wanted to preserve the corridor for future transit use. So its likely that someone was persuaded to allow Montgomery County to push the trail through (like a Monto transit planner or politician) while Bucks County was denied (possible by a Bucks County politician or transit planner).

There's something greatly amiss with the Assistant Director of the Montgomery County Planning Commission saying the corridor is better utilized as a off-the beaten path recreational trail that currently has limited access (which is a safety and security risk for Police and EMT's) on both ends, than as a transportation corridor, especially in light of the fact that all SEPTA rail stations in that area are utilizing 100% of their parking facilities, none of which could be expanded without costly land aquisition.

Glad you like the Avatar Glen....Amazing what you can do with Fireworks....
  by glennk419
 
I was always of the impression that the major hurtle with the Bethayres diamond was a 90 degree crossing of the catenary, not the diamond itself. That crossing survived for how many years of high speed operation without any major incidents? With proper scheduling and a functional interlocking as was done in the past, it should be a non-issue. If Abington Township is now the barrier (since when do local jurisdictions have control over a federally regulated railroad), why not revert to the plan of swinging the Newtown Line off of the R3? The only station that you lose is Walnut Hill and I doubt that would generate much traffic anyway.
  by jfrey40535
 
I was always of the impression that the major hurtle with the Bethayres diamond was a 90 degree crossing of the catenary, not the diamond itself.
Shouldn't be a problem. Why would it be any different than a switch, or junction? If it was, a phase break could easily rectify that situation.
That crossing survived for how many years of high speed operation without any major incidents?
There were never any incidents at the crossing.
If Abington Township is now the barrier (since when do local jurisdictions have control over a federally regulated railroad), why not revert to the plan of swinging the Newtown Line off of the R3?
Well I guess when you have a bunch of rich lawyers who live along the line in that area, they can exert considerable influence over powers-that-be. Swinging the line creates (2) problems. (1) You're adding additonal traffic to the R3 corridor and junction at Jenkintown. I can only imagine how hairy it would be getting outbound Newtown trains to swing over the inbound R3 track to reach the branch during rush hour. So such a alignment will actually require more overhead and supervision with mutiple lines crossing, and additional traffic on a already congested trunk than using the original alignment. The beautiful thing about the Newtown line is that it adds capacity to Central Bucks without the additional rail traffic between Jenkintown and Fern Rock. (2) That area is all wetlands, so you'll have lots of studies to do there, wetlands and turtle activists coming out against how the train will kill the turtles, plus the construction of a complicated interlocking and ramps.
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