SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Branch

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/.

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SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Branch

Postby PhilliesPhan2013 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:27 am

I think that it is about time that SEPTA seriously considers the possibility of providing rail service back to the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area. As Pennsylvania's fastest growing region, it amazes me that residents of the Lehigh Valley have no viable public transit option when travelling to Philadelphia, besides I-476. SEPTA could not only solve that problem, but also bring in new revenues to the Philadelphia area. SEPTA still retains the ROW, so it would just be a matter of clearing the existing vegetation, rehabbing the ROW, rebuilding stations, and electrifying the line. Why isn't anyone seriously considering a project of this magnitude? Philly is the 5th largest city in the US, yet we scale back on our rail service instead of extending it (with the exception of the R3 extension to Wawa). I am also a strong believer that service needs to be reinstated on the Newtown Line, and also on the R3, bringing it back to its original terminus of West Chester.
If I fail to make it to medical school, I will become a SEPTA engineer.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Clearfield » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:10 am

Yeah OK.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby scotty269 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:37 am

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote: it would just be a matter of clearing the existing vegetation, [AND] rehabbing the ROW, [AND] rebuilding stations, and electrifying the line. Why isn't anyone seriously considering a project of this magnitude? Philly is the 5th largest city in the US, yet we scale back on our rail service instead of extending it (with the exception of the R3 extension to Wawa). I am also a strong believer that service needs to be reinstated on the Newtown Line, and also on the R3, bringing it back to its original terminus of West Chester.


Environmental impact studies
Structural work to repair the RoW
Design costs for stations, bridges, etc
Additional equipment
Labor (temp and perm)


$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby amtrakhogger » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:53 am

Never going to happen.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby bikentransit » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:15 am

PA is a joke when it comes to rail service. Politicians with their heads in the sand and highways trump trains.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby glennk419 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:23 am

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:I think that it is about time that SEPTA seriously considers the possibility of providing rail service back to the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area. As Pennsylvania's fastest growing region, it amazes me that residents of the Lehigh Valley have no viable public transit option when travelling to Philadelphia, besides I-476. SEPTA could not only solve that problem, but also bring in new revenues to the Philadelphia area. SEPTA still retains the ROW, so it would just be a matter of clearing the existing vegetation, rehabbing the ROW, rebuilding stations, and electrifying the line. Why isn't anyone seriously considering a project of this magnitude? Philly is the 5th largest city in the US, yet we scale back on our rail service instead of extending it (with the exception of the R3 extension to Wawa). I am also a strong believer that service needs to be reinstated on the Newtown Line, and also on the R3, bringing it back to its original terminus of West Chester.


Love your optimism and restoring the line makes all the sense in the world but this has been hashed and rehashed a million times. If this is ever to happen, it would probably be in small steps ala NJT's reopening of the Lackawanna Cutoff to Andover. The only serious proposal out there right now is an extension to a yet to be built park and ride in the vicinity of Rt. 309 above Telford. Remember that there are no rails north of Coopersburg at this point and everything else would be a total rebuild. Like everything else, funding is the biggest obstacle....the current Powerball jackpot would get you about a third of the way there.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby BPP1999 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:36 am

Would such a restoration qualify for Federal funding? If it costs $500M to get back to Bethlehem, if the Feds funded 1/2, surely SEPTA and the state could come up with $50M X 5 years to fund such a major project? Or, not?
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby NorthPennLimited » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:36 am

How many times are we going to beat this dead horse?

SEPTA is flat-broke. See the operating budget reports from the last 10 years http://www.septa.org

....So if you are broke and living paycheck-to-paycheck, do you get another bank loan and build a swimming pool in your back yard and put an addition on your house?

First step in turning a steel wheel north of Lansdale is putting political pressure on every state rep, state senator, mayor, and Congressman from Lansdale to Bethlehem to get the capital funding to build it, and the operational funding to run it each year. And before you do that, you have to get petitions from enough people along that corridor that care.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby N.E.Pennsy » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:47 am

Who here will volunteer to double or even triple the local and state taxes you pay to fund such endeavors?

If so can you convince your neighbors, coworkers, family and friends to do the same?
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby NorthPennLimited » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:05 am

.....Now if you could get federal dollars to build it, and private money from freight railroads looking to gain access from Philadelphia to Bethlehem that want to pay a share for trackage rights to maintain it......You might be able to get momentum necessary for Harrisburg and 1234 to be interested in looking at this project.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Limited-Clear » Fri Jun 06, 2014 11:20 am

I think this forum has that function called "search"

All your answers will be in the multiple posts that pop ups, all your pros and cons, and you might even figure out by reading them why Bethlehem, Newtown and West Chester won't happen anytime soon
The managers in their ivory tower know more and more about less and less, and end up knowing everything about *&$% all
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby CComMack » Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:14 pm

Walk before you run: I'll support full restoration of Bethlehem service when Bethlehem can support hourly bus service via the Northeast Extension to Lansdale or Norristown. Until then, rail is a waste of scarce capital dollars. It's probably still a poor priority after that, but not quite as obviously.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby PhilliesPhan2013 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 3:33 pm

I wish I was the CEO of SEPTA. Unlike the current SEPTA administration, I have a vision: I envision the Delaware Valley and points north and west (Lancaster, the Lehigh Valley, Reading, etc) have the best rail coverage in the United States. I would push hard for funding at all levels, including federal, state, and local to raise capital. Here is what I would do (in no particular order):

IN THE CITY:
1. Have a SEPTA funded project to have either light rail or trolley service on Columbus Blvd
2. Push for a joint project with PATCO to extend service to the Parkway, with its new terminus at the Art Museum
3. If 2 doesn't pan out, then SEPTA should build a new subway line serving the Parkway
4. Possibly extend the R3 West Trenton Line back to its original destination of Newark, NJ
5. Extend the BSL north to Roosevelt Blvd, and south to the Navy Yard with the possibly of service to either PHL or New Jersey via a tunnel under the Delaware River
6. Extend the MFL further into North Philadelphia

IN THE SUBURBS:

1. Extend the R8 back out to Newtown
2. Extend the R3 back to West Chester
3. Restore full service to the Bethlehem Branch. SEPTA could even push this line into New Jersey to serve the city of Phillipsburg, NJ
4. Extend the R5 Paoli/Thorndale Line out to Lancaster
5. Push for the completion of Schuylkill Valley Metro to Reading
6. Look into the possibility of having rail service on the old Chester Creek Branch through southwestern Delaware County
7. Extend the R3 West Trenton line back to its original terminus of Newark, NJ
8. If 5 doesn't work out, then extend the R6 Manayunk/Norristownn Line to the King of Prussia Mall
9. Extend the 100 to the King of Prussia Mall
10. Rehab the Stoney Creek Branch, providing new service from Lansdale to Norristown, with an extension to the King of Prussia Mall to meet up with the newly extended R6
11. Double track the R2 Warminister Line
12. Extend the R2 Warminister Line to New Hope, PA
13. Rebuild the Newtown Square Branch, providing new Regional Rail service to Newtwon Square
14. Extend the R2 Wilmington/Newark Line to either Elkton, MD or Perryville, MD

This is my ultimate vision for rail in the Delaware Valley and beyond!
If I fail to make it to medical school, I will become a SEPTA engineer.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby NorthPennLimited » Fri Jun 06, 2014 4:23 pm

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:I wish I was the CEO of SEPTA. Unlike the current SEPTA administration, I have a vision: I envision the Delaware Valley and points north and west (Lancaster, the Lehigh Valley, Reading, etc) have the best rail coverage in the United States. I would push hard for funding at all levels, including federal, state, and local to raise capita!


....problem is SEPTA doesn't have a CEO. It's run by a politically appointed board of directors. 1 member for each county served by SEPTA, one appointed by the state, and they all have to vote to make major changes to SEPTA. Most of these appointees are accountants and lawyers, not railroaders.

First thing you have to do is change the entire management structure to become CEO. Then you can try to pull a rabbit out of your bottom to get funding for your wish list.

.....until that time, SEPTA has to make a prioritized list if the MOST BROKEN infrastructure and vehicles on their asset list and figure out which items get new capital money for repair and refurbishment to keep what little they have running safely and reliably.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Limited-Clear » Fri Jun 06, 2014 5:45 pm

Note to the mods, search function appears to be broken......
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