• 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 Pacobell73
 
glennk419 wrote:when do local jurisdictions have control over a federally regulated railroad
Not sure, but apparently, SEPTA can be bought for the right price. Very suspicious activity lurking behind this trail.
  by cpontani
 
Pacobell73 wrote:
glennk419 wrote:when do local jurisdictions have control over a federally regulated railroad
Not sure, but apparently, SEPTA can be bought for the right price. Very suspicious activity lurking behind this trail.
Or can they just litigate the hell out of it? Demand more environmental reviews, etc.
  by Pacobell73
 
cpontani wrote:Or can they just litigate the hell out of it? Demand more environmental reviews, etc.
Whatever it takes, apparently. Every tactic has been used. Next year, they wil use the "George Washington once slept in Lorimer Park, so we must preserve this - the train cannot come back."
  by jmac37
 
Have there been any studies done in more recent years to see projections on ridership or more importantly how expensive it would be to restart service on the line?
  by jfrey40535
 
There was the infamous 2005 BRT study which gave favorable ridership projections, alot more favorable than the 1995 rail study. But costs were never discussed on BRT because the study was killed because no one was interested in BRT. That study didn't run through abington anyway, it was a express bus to Willow Grove train station.

Apparently it seems to be such a hot button topic now that no one wants to touch it, SEPTA is in the middle, so the best they can come up with is a bike trail that dead ends on both ends. Not very safe. I wouldn't want to have a heart attack back there.
  by RussNelson
 
jfrey40535 wrote:... a bike trail that dead ends on both ends. Not very safe. I wouldn't want to have a heart attack back there.
I think you'll find that bicyclists have many fewer heart attacks than the rest of the population. Have you ever heard of a bicyclist having a heart attack anywhere, much less on a rail-trail?
  by ChrisinAbington
 
I don't know about all this. There would be a sizable amount of work to be done to restore that line to passenger service besides just setting up the electrification. The culvert in particular will cost well north of a million in anyone's estimation. Since SEPTA has shown little, if any, interest in the past on using the corridor, why flame Abington for giving the infrastructure/right of way some kind of use? I know the stats are bad about rail-trails going back to rails, but this seems to be a prime opportunty for SEPTA to step up when the time comes.
With that said, the time has not come yet. SEPTA has not the funds to think about this system expansion/restoration again, and am I the only one who sees SEPTA's funding stream drying up in the next 24 months? ACT 44 is very quickly going belly up without tolls on I-80
If SEPTA had the money, I'd say this recreation trail was an issue. Without $$$, I think it would just be more waste of the corridor. Sometime or other, I'll hike the corridor again.. It will be very strange not having to fight through tons of undergrowth in the middle section..
  by Pacobell73
 
RussNelson wrote:
jfrey40535 wrote:... a bike trail that dead ends on both ends. Not very safe. I wouldn't want to have a heart attack back there.
I think you'll find that bicyclists have many fewer heart attacks than the rest of the population. Have you ever heard of a bicyclist having a heart attack anywhere, much less on a rail-trail?
A friend of my father's was jogging on a rail trail once and dropped dead of a sudden heart attack. 51 years old, great shape. So, yes, it does happen.
  by Pacobell73
 
ChrisinAbington wrote:Since SEPTA has shown little, if any, interest in the past on using the corridor, why flame Abington for giving the infrastructure/right of way some kind of use? I know the stats are bad about rail-trails going back to rails, but this seems to be a prime opportunty for SEPTA to step up when the time comes.
With that said, the time has not come yet.
There is little doubt the trail corridor will see usage, and that is good. The trail is serving its purpose. But the larger picture, as always, is obliterated. SEPTA will not reactivate any line they own whatsoever without discussing first with the towns the line meanders through. When the time comes that the track is ever seriously used again---for anything...i.e. tourist line, freight, active commuter service---the first problem will be that there is now a trail in the way. Yes, the culvert at Shady Lane is a problem, but there is no issue of converting the line back to a railway.

The conversion to trail was more about Abingon staking their claim and getting trackage out of there. Considering the trail dead ends, it is obvious the trail was simply a stop-gap measure, since it obviously follows the Abington town line. Rail trails usually have a few access points, including the two ends. This one has exactly one access point - Moreland Road.

Image

And I am afraid this email sent to Robert Wachter (Abington Commissioner - Ward 2) from one of his wealthy constiuents says it all:

I just want to be sure you realize that the County built this gorgeous trail running the length of Lorimer Park from the base of Old Huntingdon Pike to Shady Lane. I and other residents have used it frequently and I have applauded the commissioners for getting this done so quickly and so well. I want any issue of reopening a railroad to go away. It will never be supported by Abington Township or the County.

Dick

Richard F. Stern
Stern and Eisenberg, LLP
261 Old York Road
410 The Pavilion
Jenkintown, PA 19046
215-572-8111
215-572-5025 (fax)
[email protected]
http://www.sterneisenberg.com/


BTW, I do agree that there much going on around the state with budget issues. Newtown is small potatoes compared to that. However, the goal is to make sure the line does not fall off the radar while preserving the infrastructure (rather than desecrating it) in the interim.
Last edited by Pacobell73 on Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by glennk419
 
Pacobell73 wrote: And I am afraid this email sent to Robert Wachter (Abington Commissioner - Ward 2) from one of his wealthy constiuents says it all:

I just want to be sure you realize that the County built this gorgeous trail running the length of Lorimer Park from the base of Old Huntingdon Pike to Shady Lane. I and other residents have used it frequently and I have applauded the commissioners for getting this done so quickly and so well. I want any issue of reopening a railroad to go away. It will never be supported by Abington Township or the County.

Dick

Richard F. Stern
Stern and Eisenberg, LLP
261 Old York Road
410 The Pavilion
Jenkintown, PA 19046
215-572-8111
215-572-5025 (fax)
[email protected]
http://www.sterneisenberg.com/


BTW, I do agree that there much going on around the state with budget issues. Newtown is small potatoes compared to that. However, the goal is to make sure the lie does not fall off the radar while preserving the infrastructure (rather than desecrating it) in the interim.

Just wait until the beer bottles, WaWa coffee cups and Burger King wrappers start littering Mr. Stern's lawn. How GREEN is that?
  by MikeBPRR
 
jfrey40535 wrote: 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.
I want to preface this by saying I don't know the line; I wasn't born when the last train ran; I don't know the area. And I'm not saying this line isn't justified. But Montgomery County seems to have placed a far greater priority in the R6 Extension Study than in restoring the line to Newtown. Just based on the fact that at least upper Montco and lower Bucks Co. at least have some train service, restoring passenger service to the gridlock of the 422 corridor makes more sense. Newtown won't happen until after that is resolved. Don't disparage the county entirely - they salvaged the SVM catastrophe and put forth a good, workable proposal that would have been shovel-ready for stimulus money if SEPTA had published it in 2003. If the county wasn't serious about mass transit, they wouldn't have done that.

With that said, I feel your pain. I currently drive an hour from Media to West Chester to go to school. Twenty minutes of that is spent looking for parking and battling the students. Twenty years ago, I could've taken the train. But it seems like SEPTA's rational for not restoring West Chester service is the same as the Fox Chase excuse - there's another line (R5 in my case, R2 or R3 nearby) nearby so ridership won't be high. Not a good excuse, but at least Montco is doing something to expand train service. West Chester, on the other hand...well.

People have been talking about it lately, though. Are any of these postings your work, Pacobell?

ChrisInAbington, why does the brass of Abington oppose restoration? Does their opposition reflect the locals? Why is there opposition?
  by ChrisinAbington
 
MikeBPRR wrote: ChrisInAbington, why does the brass of Abington oppose restoration? Does their opposition reflect the locals? Why is there opposition?
I must admit I'm not sure if there even is "opposition." I suspect that was more the opinion of the one gentleman quoted, not the administration. I don't believe it is a long simmerng dispute, but more likely just a few NIMBY's that are reasonably well connected. I don't know of anyone that would personally be against restoration of the line, and I don't see my township as having as publicized desire to kill any regional transportation proposals. (certainly nobody campaigned on the issue)

As for why the bike trail was created so quickly, the county must have had somebody light a fire under their butt. I remember a few years back the same was done for the Perkiomen trail, and that was with private landowners already on the land being used. Again as a private citizen, I'd rather have a train line than a trail. However, I'd rather have a trail than nothing and I suspect most others have in a similar outlook. I just have little faith that 15 years from now SEPTA would have gotten any further along the way to restoring service along the ROW.
Perhaps an interesting perspective would be from the DVRPC. How do they see the corridor in 25 years? Is this permanently part of the regional trail program?
  by Pacobell73
 
MikeBPRR wrote:But Montgomery County seems to have placed a far greater priority in the R6 Extension Study than in restoring the line to Newtown. Just based on the fact that at least upper Montco and lower Bucks Co. at least have some train service, restoring passenger service to the gridlock of the 422 corridor makes more sense. Newtown won't happen until after that is resolved. Don't disparage the county entirely - they salvaged the SVM catastrophe and put forth a good, workable proposal that would have been shovel-ready for stimulus money if SEPTA had published it in 2003. If the county wasn't serious about mass transit, they wouldn't have done that.
You are absolutely right. MontCo does have their hands full with the SVM, which does address an area totally bereft of commuter trains whatsoever (note where I live). That should be the priority because it is sorely needed. There are no nearby lines for commuters to run to like the R2/R3 for Newtown.

However, the SVM is also a much bigger undertaking, dealing with additional factors not present in the Newtown line. Freight owner, greater distance, Berks County (in place of Bucks), etc. MontCo has a larger stake in the SVM, and that is fine. But it is at the expense of the Newtown line. I am used to the Newtown line constantly pushed on the backburner year after year.

And yes, it appears the trail is more the work of a few politically connected folks in Abington township than the general riding public. I am sure if we polled current Abington riders on the R2, R3 and R5, they would want to the Newtown line back to relieve congestion.

The sad reality is that there is zero community effort here. Instead, one community pits there wits against the other. Montco is well the aware that the Newtown line really is not a big player in their county. They have the R2/R3/R5 for that. Bucks County is the real beneficiary here. If MontCo planners and townships actually found their moral compass, they would say "let's just leave the line alone. Bucks will need it, so let's not ruin their chances." Instead, they destroyed the line every way possible. Culverts, trails, back door deals...meanwhile, Bucks (particularly Southampton and Newtown) are the real losers here. And they cannot do a damn thing about it. All for what?
MikeBPRR wrote:People have been talking about it lately, though. Are any of these postings your work, Pacobell?
Hi - no, 'twernt' me. That looks like a person named TransitChuckG. I don't think I am even on subchat.com :-)
ChrisinAbington wrote:
MikeBPRR wrote: ChrisInAbington, why does the brass of Abington oppose restoration? Does their opposition reflect the locals? Why is there opposition?
I must admit I'm not sure if there even is "opposition." I suspect that was more the opinion of the one gentleman quoted, not the administration. I don't believe it is a long simmerng dispute, but more likely just a few NIMBY's that are reasonably well connected. I don't know of anyone that would personally be against restoration of the line, and I don't see my township as having as publicized desire to kill any regional transportation proposals. (certainly nobody campaigned on the issue). As for why the bike trail was created so quickly, the county must have had somebody light a fire under their butt. I remember a few years back the same was done for the Perkiomen trail, and that was with private landowners already on the land being used. Again as a private citizen, I'd rather have a train line than a trail. However, I'd rather have a trail than nothing and I suspect most others have in a similar outlook. I just have little faith that 15 years from now SEPTA would have gotten any further along the way to restoring service along the ROW.
Perhaps an interesting perspective would be from the DVRPC. How do they see the corridor in 25 years? Is this permanently part of the regional trail program?
ChrisinAbington - that is really all it is. The line is pretty well secluded in the are of the trail, so the few landowners (with $$$) probably contacted/paid their Commissioner (Robert A. Wachter, Esq., Commissioner Ward-2 Abington, [email protected]) to do a little back-door deal with SEPTA real estate, and---boom---done and breakneck speed. Based on the towns in Abington township, nearly all have an R-line through them, all of which are very busy. Me thinks the Newtown line would receive a great deal of Abington support if it were promoted and put on the radar as a viable transportation link.

Dirty politics, laced with lies about the line and several very wealthy, connected lawyers, poretty much got together on the sly with Wachter (I know for a fact that Commissioners in the other Abington wards were not even aare of the trail deal), bullied a weak SEPTA into trashing the trackage within the confines of Abington, and then the trail-to-nowhere was done. Mission accomplished.

ChrisinAbington - if you go here http://www.r8newtown.com/action.html, make your voice known to Wachter as a concerned an Abington citizen.
  by Pacobell73
 
glennk419 wrote:Just wait until the beer bottles, WaWa coffee cups and Burger King wrappers start littering Mr. Stern's lawn. How GREEN is that?
I say we get together and purposely litter the line. That goes against my princple, but it certainly makes a statement.
  by nomis
 
Pacobell73 wrote:
glennk419 wrote:Just wait until the beer bottles, WaWa coffee cups and Burger King wrappers start littering Mr. Stern's lawn. How GREEN is that?
I say we get together and purposely litter the line. That goes against my princple, but it certainly makes a statement.
haha ...
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