• 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 swedishmeatball83
 
bikentransit wrote:A friend of mine said a group of people were handing out fliers on the 4th of July in Southampton asking people to support a rails-to-trails project on the Newtown line in Southampton and Northampton. They have a website and facebook page:
http://www.buildourtrail.org
It appears the rail trail group will have an uphill battle in front of them. There is now a Stop the Newtown Trail Website: http://www.stopthenewtowntrail.com/. Let the controversy begin.
  by trackwelder
 
interesting how both websites have the same background and are equally lunatic in content. i mean, we all want the newtown line back, but those cats are just spitting acid.
  by add2718
 
Note how the first question on the FAQ page for the Stop the Newtown Trail site is: "I am concerned about my property."

I found this answer for one of the other questions to be particularly confusing: "Northampton has no place to park or any sidewalks, so the only way to get to the trail would be by car. And then, where would you park your car?"

And I love this:

Q. Can't I bike to work?
A. No! The trail would serve no transit purpose. Northampton has no sidewalks or parking. It would be just pleasure. It would be easier and safer to take rail service!

Nope, a trail just for "pleasure" isn't worth it.
  by Clearfield
 
jtaeffner wrote:interesting how both websites have the same background and are equally lunatic in content. i mean, we all want the newtown line back, but those cats are just spitting acid.
If not for the lunatics, there would be no middle ground for compromise.
  by dreese_us
 
The problem is Septa will not allow a trail without pulling up the rails. There are many who would like to preserve whats already there, hoping the trains come back. Population along this corridor has exploded since the line was temporarily shut down. I would not see a problem with a trail along side the track, but the owner of the property does. Once the track is gone, it will never return, even though the line would need to be rebuilt to start new service.

This line would serve as a good relief valve for the West Trenton and the Warminster line if it were reopened. It would add parking capacity which Septa needs, without the cost of building parking garages along the other lines. Septa would see a net gain of riders with the addition of this line. Commuters along this corridor would not have to drive as far to reach a station, freeing up space on the other two lines for new riders.
  by glennk419
 
dreese_us wrote:The problem is Septa will not allow a trail without pulling up the rails. There are many who would like to preserve whats already there, hoping the trains come back. Population along this corridor has exploded since the line was temporarily shut down. I would not see a problem with a trail along side the track, but the owner of the property does. Once the track is gone, it will never return, even though the line would need to be rebuilt to start new service.

This line would serve as a good relief valve for the West Trenton and the Warminster line if it were reopened. It would add parking capacity which Septa needs, without the cost of building parking garages along the other lines. Septa would see a net gain of riders with the addition of this line. Commuters along this corridor would not have to drive as far to reach a station, freeing up space on the other two lines for new riders.
While there is not copious space along the line at most of the existing stations, there is plenty of room where the Newtown Bypass crosses the line which is already owned by PennDot. If the NIMBY's in Newtown boro don't want the train back, this would eliminate that group of resistance. The proposed station at Village Shires would also add some capacity.
  by ChrisinAbington
 
I too am a little torn. Procede to reopen the corridor to transportation of some kind, or hold out for a perfect scenario which likely isn't going to happen.
If they didn't remove the rails, they'd have to engineer a way to keep them from poking up after a heavy storm and creating a hazard on a bike trail. Nobody wants to make a trail only to have a recurring hazzard pop up over and over. And I'm pretty sure nobody wants to permanently pave it as a busway.
Is it really that far-fetched to turn it into a high quality bike corridor, that connects to the West Trenton line somewhat near the middle? Put a few bike racks near the Bethayres station, grade the corridor and patch up the bridges, repave a few of the lots on the Newtown line, allow free parking during day and see what happens? If it adds a few SEPTA riders, great. If not, then hopefully somebody is getting some exercise. I'd bet with a few signs along the corridor suggesting it as a version of a park-and-ride, it could actually get a few regular users. Plus with the light weight of bikers, the existing bridges would probably be pretty easy to reinforce. Like everyone else here, I'd prefer it being a rail corridor, but I don't see a benefit to just letting the corridor further rot away for another 20+ years..

PS. I work in the boonies of Mont.Co, and I see people biking to work all over the place, including here in most kinds of weather. While my knees wouldn't cooperate on such a venture, the riders I know just shower and change their clothes at work. (I'm betting lots of places downtown would have better facilities than this one as well)
Just my two cents, feel free to disagree as usual.
  by R3 Passenger
 
BUMP

It looks like the entire length of the Newtown line will be a trail soon.

http://www.buckslocalnews.com/articles/ ... =fullstory" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Jeff Werner, Bucks Local News wrote:The defunct Newtown-Fox Chase Rail Line in Bucks County could be chugging toward a new use where foot and pedal power are the key modes of transportation.

At its Sept. 8 meeting, the Newtown Borough Council is scheduled to hear a “Rails to Trails” presentation by Paul W. Gordon, an environmental planner with the Bucks County Planning Commission, and Richard G. Brahler, a senior transportation planner with the commission.

County planners are looking at the possibility of transforming the former rail line in Bucks County into a multi-use 8.5 mile recreational trail, linking Newtown Borough, Newtown Township, Northampton and Upper Southampton townships.

The idea is being pushed forward by the non-profit Penn-Tammany Greenway Coalition comprised of residents in Bucks and Montgomery counties who are interested in utilizing the former rail line as a multi-use recreational trail.
  by JeffK
 
... which means the chances of returning it to rail service in our lifetimes is now < epsilon/10 ....
  by Who5
 
I was driving home on Rhawn street on my last day of vacation. I was about to cross the tracks at Fox Chase station, when I heard the sound of a train whistle. I quickly pulled over to watch a silverliner IV enter Fox Chase. I turned my head to the right to look down the now disused tracks of the Newtown extension. I wondered about what was passed the bridge I could see a ways down. I knew of course where the line went. Having grown up on Rhawn street I passed that station a thousand times. Coming home at night I would see the forlorn third bumper. I imagine that's where they kept the RDC tied up at night. It was late in the afternoon as I continued up Huntingdon Pike. As I approached Moredon Road I thought what the hell, lets see where the walking path leads to. I parked in the old Walnut Hill station lot (Lorimer Park now). I had about an hour before they closed the gates. I headed south toward Fox Chase. I passed no more than 5 people the whole way. I immediately felt as if I had travelled back in time. I could recognize the lineage of the line by the old boxes still scattered here and there as well as the old telegraph poles that still stood as old sentinels. As I walked I was amazed at the contour of the surrounding landscape. I could see the old walking path in the distance through the trees and a feeder stream which fell some 20 feet below the ROW. The path curved gently but continuously to the left. As fast as the ground fell away it rose up. The path passed through a cut with the rocks on both sides were 15 or 20 feet high. I remembered that many years before the culvert along Shady lane had collapsed during a storm. I was surprised to see that a pedestrian bridge had been erected in its place. The path curved off to a road which the sign said was Robbins Ave. A marker had the distance at .9 miles. Through a fence I could see the remainder of the ROW, all weed and tree covered disappearing into the darkness south. No tracks could be seen in the fading light. On the way back I saw how private homes bordered the ROW, some with gates and steps leading into the path. A mere 3 feet off the path signs were posted reading "Park Ends Here". At times I could almost here the sounds of a distant whistle or was it just my imagination. I made it back to my car just as the light faded. I was determined the very soon I would return to walk north to see the line from the eyes of the train. The way I look at it if we cant have the rail the trail is the next best thing.
  by Who5
 
Having now walked a portion of the rail trail I have to say what they have done in Montco is preserving the line. They have removed the rails yes, but the ROW is very much intact. They have cleared the neglect and growth from the line. The ROW has been repaired and supported where it had been undermined and washed away. They have reused the existing bridge structures wherever possible. New bridges although much lighter structures have been put in place. There is not a piece of rail along that line that does not have to be replaced before service could resume. Think of the trail as a first installment toward returning the line to service. It also allows rail enthusiasts and modelers first hand knowledge of the line. The line as it had been before the trail project was completely inaccessible to anyone.
  by Wingnut
 
Who5 wrote:Having now walked a portion of the rail trail I have to say what they have done in Montco is preserving the line. They have removed the rails yes, but the ROW is very much intact. They have cleared the neglect and growth from the line. The ROW has been repaired and supported where it had been undermined and washed away. They have reused the existing bridge structures wherever possible. New bridges although much lighter structures have been put in place. There is not a piece of rail along that line that does not have to be replaced before service could resume. Think of the trail as a first installment toward returning the line to service. It also allows rail enthusiasts and modelers first hand knowledge of the line. The line as it had been before the trail project was completely inaccessible to anyone.
Are you trolling or are you serious? This trail is gaining a whole new constituency which will fight any proposal to run a train on it in the future. To come on this board and try to spin this as HELPING the cause of someday reopening the Newtown line is a LIE. Nobody on this board believes a word of it.

If you joined this forum mainly to defend this project and others like it, you won't find many like minded folks here.
  by JeffK
 
Wingnut wrote:This trail is gaining a whole new constituency which will fight any proposal to run a train on it in the future.
While I wouldn't state the rest of my opinion with such vigor, I have to agree with you 100% on this one. I've only been able to find one citation of a re-conversion that's gone forward without volcanic opposition, and that was only 1.9 miles of a freight line in Upper Michigan.

When an unused rail line is repurposed as a trail, the societal benefit goes from zero to a positive number. But if the trail is then deconverted to rail use, that positive benefit is lost in favor of a different benefit. I.e. some people (trail users) have to lose so that others (rail users) can win, something that's not conducive to gaining widespread support. There has to be some way to provide trail users with equivalent opportunities if a line is deconverted, or better yet build in those options during the original conversion. But doing that will require political and financial magic that doesn't seem to exist anywhere.
  by Who5
 
Wingnut wrote:
Who5 wrote:Having now walked a portion of the rail trail I have to say what they have done in Montco is preserving the line. They have removed the rails yes, but the ROW is very much intact. They have cleared the neglect and growth from the line. The ROW has been repaired and supported where it had been undermined and washed away. They have reused the existing bridge structures wherever possible. New bridges although much lighter structures have been put in place. There is not a piece of rail along that line that does not have to be replaced before service could resume. Think of the trail as a first installment toward returning the line to service. It also allows rail enthusiasts and modelers first hand knowledge of the line. The line as it had been before the trail project was completely inaccessible to anyone.
Are you trolling or are you serious? This trail is gaining a whole new constituency which will fight any proposal to run a train on it in the future. To come on this board and try to spin this as HELPING the cause of someday reopening the Newtown line is a LIE. Nobody on this board believes a word of it.

If you joined this forum mainly to defend this project and others like it, you won't find many like minded folks here.

I'm very serious, the likelihood of septa, Montco or Bucks county doing anything constructive with that line is as dead as the Schuylkill River project to Reading. By opening up the ROW to use allows constituents, legislatures and board members first hand access to see these facilities. To see them with your own eyes so to speak. It strengthens the positions of the people seeking to reinstate rail service. Your archaic stance on the topic would have the ROW sit unused until it is totally reclaimed by nature. A long forgotten relic. The Newtown Line has a long and important role in the history of railroading itself! Give it some dignity! Why not a joint use facility? How do you know its impossible? Some use beats No USE!
  by Who5
 
For the Newtown Line to have any chance of reactivation new ideas must be tried. Parking you ass on a computer and pissing about it on rail forums is definitely not enough! Walk it! See It! Tell others about it! See what's around it! If Knowledge is power and a picture is worth a thousand words then allowing access to it Speaks volumes.
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