• Why does Amtrak still serve North Philadelphia & Cornwells Heights?

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

R36: The Cornwells Heights Station park & ride was constructed by PennDot and SEPTA for a major Interstate 95
construction project during the 1990s. The idea was/is to provide an alternate to the heavy traffic and congestion
on I-95 in the form of some enhanced weekday peak Trenton Line rail service to Center City Philadelphia.

The surrounding area of Bensalem Township, Bucks County has not attracted the businesses and development
that the Route 128 or Metropark Stations has since both were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s respectively.
There are venues that are a reasonable distance from CWH such as the Philadelphia Mills Mall* and Parx Casino in
far Northeast Philadelphia and Lower Bucks Counties which would require a connecting taxi, rideshare or bus.
*Formerly known as the Franklin Mills Mall - on PA-63 Woodhaven Road accessible directly from CWH.

The Cornwells Heights Station parking has turned out to be much larger than what has been needed since the
completion of the long-term I-95 project. One example was the original use of small parking lot shuttle buses
between the station platforms and the outer areas of the parking facility which is no longer operated.

  by R3 Passenger
MACTRAXX, the Cornwells Heights shuttles still operate and meet with inbound and outbound SEPTA trains at the station. However, they have not run in recent days due to system-wide operator shortages.

CWH Is probably the most patronized station on the SEPTA Trenton Line (given the PennDOT-subsidized free parking lot) for Philly-employed passengers. However, Amtrak serves those passengers working in New York with two eastbound trains in the morning and two westbound trains in the afternoon. The whole point is for the riders to live in a low-tax suburban Bensalem Township while having easy access to NYC. A one-seat Amtrak ride is faster than the SEPTA Shuffle in Trenton, which is faster than driving.

While true that there has not been much development around the station (being wedged between a highway and an industrial park), there were plans for the building of a 55+ community nearby on the grounds that were once the Saint Katherine Drexel shrine. However, there has been vocal NIMBYism against that development. I don't know what became of it though.
  by NortheastTrainMan
The consensus appears to be that CWH was planned to be bigger than what it was, but NIMBY folks, potential lack of demand, and powers that be hindered it.
  by R36 Combine Coach
Unlike 128, Metropark or even Princeton Junction, there is a clear lack of office buildings nearby.
  by rcthompson04
R36 Combine Coach wrote: Mon Oct 04, 2021 10:36 pm Unlike 128, Metropark or even Princeton Junction, there is a clear lack of office buildings nearby.
It is a rather terrible spot for office parks too. The only place in the Philly area where a Metropark type of station would work is probably Radnor or Villanova.
  by njtmnrrbuff
From what I remember in all of my travels on trains past Cornwells Heights, I don't remember seeing any office buildings around there. Even if there are, it's probably not within easy reach of Cornwells Heights station. Cornwells Heights is probably better off remaining primarily a Septa Station. CWH isn't like MET or even PJC. In my opinion, MET is a true station model for a suburban park n ride lot served by robust commuter and intercity rail. There is not only a lot of room for parking but plenty of office parks nearby. A person who lives in Philadelphia but has a business meeting to attend in one of the offices in Iselin certainly would be happy to have easy access to Metropark. Another Amtrak station that has a lot of office parks close by is New Carrolton. Not only is New Carrolton surrounded by office buildings-this station is great for passengers who live in towns like College Park and parts of Silver Spring who want to head north on Amtrak while not having to travel into the District.