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

Postby Clearfield » Fri Jun 06, 2014 6:55 pm

NorthPennLimited wrote:
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.


The CEO position is outlined under SEPTA's enabling legislation and referred to in the legislation as 'General Manager'.

The current GM's name is Joe Casey.

Under his leadership, SEPTA created a new position of Deputy General Manager which is essentially a COO position.
SEPTA's AGM for Finance Holds the title of CFO.

Anyone paying attention over the past few months can review detailed outlines of prioritization of the most broken infrastructure and vehicles.

What more are you looking for?

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

Postby Quinn » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:15 pm

scotty269 wrote:Environmental impact studies


Aside from the possibility that this falls under mandatory EPA regulations, is this a big factor in railroad restoration? I can certainly see the need in the case of new expansion, but I don't understand devoting research resources to lines that had service. Don't they have a good idea of the impact older service had?
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Push/Pull Master » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:18 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 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!

I appreciate your interest in transit expansion but these projects won't happen for so many reasons, even though I'm a dreamer at times and even started a fantasy thread (which was pointless in retrospect) :-D . But I'll respond to your list.

In the City:
1. There are already PATCO plans for light rail on Columbus Blvd. Unfortunately, the project has been inactive since 2009.
2. The city and SEPTA are looking instead at BRT along the City Branch which connect to Fairmount Park and Penn's Landing. A subway would be nice but way too expensive.
3. Refer to #2.
4. This is a NJ Transit project. There are many threads in the NJT forum about this.
5. SEPTA and PIDC are studying a Navy Yard extension. SEPTA studied a Blvd extension around 2001 and a subway was deemed too expensive. Right now, SEPTA/DVRPC are studying BRT-Lite along the Blvd.
6. ???????????

In the Suburbs:
1. The search function is very useful for this subject.
2. DVRPC conducted a ridership study back in 2011 and ridership estimates were low. I personally think they lowballed the ridership estimates.
3. There are plans to restore the Bethlehem Branch to Pennridge, a proposed park and ride off 309 near Telford.
4. There are currently plans to extend the Paoli/Thorndale Line to Atglen in Chester County. Lancaster County isn't part of SEPTA's service area.
5. $2 billion for a project like this is way too expensive.
6. It's already being converted to a trail.
7. You already mentioned this.
8. I don't think it's very cost effective if they're extending the 100 already.
9. http://www.kingofprussiarail.com/
10. Uhhhhhhhh
11. Not much room for it. Requires lots of $$$.
12. NHIRR owns the New Hope Branch north of Warminster. They're opposed to an extension of the Warminster Line.
13. ??????????
14. This would be a Maryland project.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Clearfield » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:20 pm

Quinn wrote:
scotty269 wrote:Environmental impact studies


Aside from the possibility that this falls under mandatory EPA regulations, is this a big factor in railroad restoration? I can certainly see the need in the case of new expansion, but I don't understand devoting research resources to lines that had service. Don't they have a good idea of the impact older service had?


You almost need to start from scratch due to all the regulations, laws, and NIMBYS that weren't there 100 years ago.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby PhilliesPhan2013 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 9:58 pm

Push/Pull Master wrote:
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 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!

I appreciate your interest in transit expansion but these projects won't happen for so many reasons, even though I'm a dreamer at times and even started a fantasy thread (which was pointless in retrospect) :-D . But I'll respond to your list.

In the City:
1. There are already PATCO plans for light rail on Columbus Blvd. Unfortunately, the project has been inactive since 2009.
2. The city and SEPTA are looking instead at BRT along the City Branch which connect to Fairmount Park and Penn's Landing. A subway would be nice but way too expensive.
3. Refer to #2.
4. This is a NJ Transit project. There are many threads in the NJT forum about this.
5. SEPTA and PIDC are studying a Navy Yard extension. SEPTA studied a Blvd extension around 2001 and a subway was deemed too expensive. Right now, SEPTA/DVRPC are studying BRT-Lite along the Blvd.
6. ???????????

In the Suburbs:
1. The search function is very useful for this subject.
2. DVRPC conducted a ridership study back in 2011 and ridership estimates were low. I personally think they lowballed the ridership estimates.
3. There are plans to restore the Bethlehem Branch to Pennridge, a proposed park and ride off 309 near Telford.
4. There are currently plans to extend the Paoli/Thorndale Line to Atglen in Chester County. Lancaster County isn't part of SEPTA's service area.
5. $2 billion for a project like this is way too expensive.
6. It's already being converted to a trail.
7. You already mentioned this.
8. I don't think it's very cost effective if they're extending the 100 already.
9. http://www.kingofprussiarail.com/
10. Uhhhhhhhh
11. Not much room for it. Requires lots of $$$.
12. NHIRR owns the New Hope Branch north of Warminster. They're opposed to an extension of the Warminster Line.
13. ??????????
14. This would be a Maryland project.


Thank you for responding to my list! I now see why some of these projects are not feasible. I do have one question for you, however. Even though several lines, including the Chester Creek Branch, are now being converted into trails, couldn't SEPTA still tear up the trail and build their route? I thought that SEPTA still owns the ROW.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Push/Pull Master » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:24 pm

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:
Push/Pull Master wrote:
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 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!

I appreciate your interest in transit expansion but these projects won't happen for so many reasons, even though I'm a dreamer at times and even started a fantasy thread (which was pointless in retrospect) :-D . But I'll respond to your list.

In the City:
1. There are already PATCO plans for light rail on Columbus Blvd. Unfortunately, the project has been inactive since 2009.
2. The city and SEPTA are looking instead at BRT along the City Branch which connect to Fairmount Park and Penn's Landing. A subway would be nice but way too expensive.
3. Refer to #2.
4. This is a NJ Transit project. There are many threads in the NJT forum about this.
5. SEPTA and PIDC are studying a Navy Yard extension. SEPTA studied a Blvd extension around 2001 and a subway was deemed too expensive. Right now, SEPTA/DVRPC are studying BRT-Lite along the Blvd.
6. ???????????

In the Suburbs:
1. The search function is very useful for this subject.
2. DVRPC conducted a ridership study back in 2011 and ridership estimates were low. I personally think they lowballed the ridership estimates.
3. There are plans to restore the Bethlehem Branch to Pennridge, a proposed park and ride off 309 near Telford.
4. There are currently plans to extend the Paoli/Thorndale Line to Atglen in Chester County. Lancaster County isn't part of SEPTA's service area.
5. $2 billion for a project like this is way too expensive.
6. It's already being converted to a trail.
7. You already mentioned this.
8. I don't think it's very cost effective if they're extending the 100 already.
9. http://www.kingofprussiarail.com/
10. Uhhhhhhhh
11. Not much room for it. Requires lots of $$$.
12. NHIRR owns the New Hope Branch north of Warminster. They're opposed to an extension of the Warminster Line.
13. ??????????
14. This would be a Maryland project.


Thank you for responding to my list! I now see why some of these projects are not feasible. I do have one question for you, however. Even though several lines, including the Chester Creek Branch, are now being converted into trails, couldn't SEPTA still tear up the trail and build their route? I thought that SEPTA still owns the ROW.


What Septa does with any abandoned ROW is they conduct studies by themselves or with DVRPC of ways of reusing the route. For the routes that they have no interest in using for transit, they lease it out to groups who want to reuse it for something else e.g. a trail with the agreement that they can reuse it for transit. However, the ROWs with trails are the routes of which SEPTA has no interest in or there is strong opposition from nearby residents.

The following threads may help you or interest you:
viewtopic.php?f=72&t=50679&hilit=Pennypack+Trail
viewtopic.php?f=72&t=79183&hilit=trail
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby loufah » Sat Jun 07, 2014 11:28 am

Do Lehigh Valley residents want to go to Philadelphia or would they rather have rail service to NJ and NYC?
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby trackwelder » Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:48 pm

loufah wrote:Do Lehigh Valley residents want to go to Philadelphia or would they rather have rail service to NJ and NYC?


having lived in bethlehem for a year, the answer is an emphatic YES, NO, BOTH, and NEITHER. the lehigh valley's a weird place, very insular. that being said there's probably more demsnd for a new york commuter train than a philly line. a lot of north jersey and new yorkers have moved there in the last twenty years for the affordable housing and still commute east. i didn't hear as much being said about philly as i did new york when i lived there.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby 25Hz » Sun Jun 08, 2014 12:42 am

trackwelder wrote:
loufah wrote:Do Lehigh Valley residents want to go to Philadelphia or would they rather have rail service to NJ and NYC?


having lived in bethlehem for a year, the answer is an emphatic YES, NO, BOTH, and NEITHER. the lehigh valley's a weird place, very insular. that being said there's probably more demsnd for a new york commuter train than a philly line. a lot of north jersey and new yorkers have moved there in the last twenty years for the affordable housing and still commute east. i didn't hear as much being said about philly as i did new york when i lived there.


Part of bucks county commuters go into NJ and east, the rest go to philly & south/west.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby PhilliesPhan2013 » Mon Jun 09, 2014 2:03 am

loufah wrote:Do Lehigh Valley residents want to go to Philadelphia or would they rather have rail service to NJ and NYC?



As a college student in the Lehigh Valley, I can honestly say that the answer is both. I know a lot of people from Lehigh Valley Colleges (Lehigh, Moravian, Muhlenburg, NCC, etc) who are from Philly and New York. Sometimes, we all get tired of the small cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton when we come from the huge metropolises of Philly and NYC. Personally, I miss Philly sometimes (even though I do have fun in the Valley). Plus, I become depressed over LANTA's unreliability when I think back to riding SEPTA in the Philly area. I think rail to Philly and NYC would be a great option for all of the college students in the Valley.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Suburban Station » Mon Jun 09, 2014 1:45 pm

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:
As a college student in the Lehigh Valley, I can honestly say that the answer is both. I know a lot of people from Lehigh Valley Colleges (Lehigh, Moravian, Muhlenburg, NCC, etc) who are from Philly and New York. Sometimes, we all get tired of the small cities of Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton when we come from the huge metropolises of Philly and NYC. Personally, I miss Philly sometimes (even though I do have fun in the Valley). Plus, I become depressed over LANTA's unreliability when I think back to riding SEPTA in the Philly area. I think rail to Philly and NYC would be a great option for all of the college students in the Valley.

nailed it. the idea shouldn't be either/or but both...SEPTA once ran to bethlehem but it's outside their service area (although presumably that law could be changed) so it would be penndot's purview. I agree that Bethlehem and WestChester should be top priorities (as well as better ervice to Pittsburgh). West chester is the only one SEPTA really can and should push for.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby trackwelder » Mon Jun 09, 2014 5:23 pm

PhilliesPhan2013 wrote:..........even though I do have fun in the Valley.......


oh man, that takes me back! none of the locals say "around hear", it's always "in the valley"

"ain't no work in the valley any more"

"gettin' expensive in the valley"

"blahblahblah in the valley"

it's like there's nothing south of 4th st mountain or north of wind gap.
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Suburban Station » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:43 am

the state's subsidized intercity bus network would make a lot more sense with service to bethlehem/allentown, reading, or at least quaker town
http://www.susquehannabus.com/schedules.asp
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby bleet » Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:03 pm

loufah wrote:Do Lehigh Valley residents want to go to Philadelphia or would they rather have rail service to NJ and NYC?

Not sure if any study has been done about restoring service to Philly, but both NJ and PA have studied going to the other direction.

http://media.lehighvalleylive.com/break ... -study.pdf
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Re: SEPTA Needs to Restore Full Service to the Bethlehem Bra

Postby Suburban Station » Tue Jun 10, 2014 2:36 pm

2h35m to NY, ouch
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