SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

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

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby walt » Fri May 06, 2016 12:28 am

I'd love to the rail service restored to West Chester but I wonder if the ridership would be any better than it was when the service was cut back. As far back as the PRR days, ridership between Media & West Chester was sparce at best. They generally couldn't fill one MP 54 car, and only ran two car trains on that section because the PRR didn't like to run single MP 54's because of real or perceived braking problems with single units. Is there any greater demand for that service today?
Please Move to the Rear and Speed Your Ride
( Philadelphia Transportation Company)
walt
 
Posts: 1090
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:51 pm
Location: Columbia, MD

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby khecht » Fri May 06, 2016 12:13 pm

The area surrounding and to the southeast of West Chester is now far more populated (and congested on US 202 in particular) than it was three decades ago, though it remains mainly low density suburban. What the study needs to focus on is whether there is enough traffic that wants to go to Center City to merit the investment, as I doubt there is much intermediate traffic on the line - it's not like there is a huge demand to go from, say, West Chester to Secane, but there might be demand for someone who works in West Chester to drive to a Wawa park and ride if they live near there. I don't have a sense of where Cheyney, West Chester University or Swarthmore College students come of from or what percentage are commuters but I would expect having these close to the line would help some.

Of the folks I know in the area, most work somewhere along the US 1/200/PA 3/100 corridors, where there are now a bunch of corporate campuses. Given the sprawl, though, SEPTA may need to provide connecting bus service from West Chester or other stations to where the jobs actually are, or partner with some companies to do so (as you see on some lines, such as at Paoli station for reverse commuters going to Great Valley).
khecht
 
Posts: 696
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:27 pm
Location: Philly Area

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby walt » Fri May 06, 2016 1:11 pm

That's interesting-- of course this was almost 50 years ago, but though I lived on campus while I attended WCU ( when it was West Chester State College) whenever the train schedule permitted, I would use the train to travel from home in West Yeadon, less than a mile from the Lansdowne Station, to WCSC whenever I needed to travel from home. The problem was that often, there was no convenient train, because of the schedule between Media & West Chester, and I wound up using the Red Arrow bus to 69th Street. I know that most students I knew who commuted between Philly and WC used the bus, and some didn't even know there WAS a train; even though using the bus always involved the change at 69th Street from the MFSE, while if the schedule permitted, there was a one seat ride,( or at leat a one line ride) from Suburban Station. I wonder whether SEPTA would be able to run a Philly-WC schedule that would be convenient to most of todays commuting students to WCU.
Please Move to the Rear and Speed Your Ride
( Philadelphia Transportation Company)
walt
 
Posts: 1090
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:51 pm
Location: Columbia, MD

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby skm » Mon May 09, 2016 3:58 pm

I have to agree with the poster. I rode the WC line in 1977-1980. The bus service was always more convenient. Today, the 104 even serves the West Chester Campus via High Street.

The borough has grown in all directions, maybe Septa can create a train schedule that appeals to the students for evening trips to Philly.
skm
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:02 am

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon May 09, 2016 6:49 pm

I have never been to West Chester, but from looking at a map of the old Septa right of way past Elwyn, I saw that it is twisty. Septa had to make the tough decision to discontinue it probably because of the very slow speeds. Looking at the 104 bus schedule, it looks like Septa runs them frequently. Of course, there are probably many people who have cars who drive to Exton or even Malvern. Obviously, Septa doesn't run to Exton on Sundays and the Saturday service there isn't that great. Good thing Amtrak's Keystone Service runs 7 days a week.
njt/mnrrbuff
 
Posts: 2833
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby Suburban Station » Mon May 09, 2016 7:06 pm

The bus is a pretty awful ride. Even when there's no traffic it's long, much longer than the train. If septa could justify running hourly flyers the bus connection via exton or a new frazer stop would be a competitive alternative but even then you lose half our ridership forcing a transfer
Suburban Station
 
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:11 pm

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby SCB2525 » Mon May 09, 2016 9:32 pm

As worthy a project as West Chester is, I'm still frustrated at not hearing a word about the Octoraro branch. I understand its in much worse shape and would cost much more. However, its on absolutely no one's radar and purely by route, makes more sense for service than West Chester.
User avatar
SCB2525
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:44 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby ekt8750 » Tue May 10, 2016 9:14 am

It also is pretty much nonexistent east of Brandywine. PECO rents the ROW for transmission lines but that's about it. The bridge over the Chester Creek was washed out in a hurricane. There would have to be a ton of work to be done to even get the part of the line even remotely ready for anything. Then you'd have to upgrade the remaining portion for passenger service.
ekt8750
 
Posts: 663
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:30 pm

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby SCB2525 » Tue May 10, 2016 6:16 pm

The bridge over the Chester Creek is shared with the West Chester Branch, is present and is being rebuilt as part of the Wawa extension with 2 tracks. I don't know which you refer to that was washed out. While I admit washouts are present and conditions are poor between Wawa and Chadds Ford, service has been restored to lines in similar condition elsewhere.
User avatar
SCB2525
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:44 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby khecht » Tue May 10, 2016 8:06 pm

SCB2525 wrote:As worthy a project as West Chester is, I'm still frustrated at not hearing a word about the Octoraro branch. I understand its in much worse shape and would cost much more. However, its on absolutely no one's radar and purely by route, makes more sense for service than West Chester.

While West Chester service is at least possible with infrastructure in place, as noted, the railroad is largely nonexistent these days between Wawa and Brandywine (I believe still considered the Chester Creek Branch there) and can be difficult to spot in many places even if you're looking for it. Probably the best view from the ground is along Ring Rd in Chadds Ford where the ROW is visible to the east of the road when driving north and there was still a standing signal pole there last I was through there a few months ago (https://goo.gl/maps/gZjZWdBAunC2 - put it in Street View mode). In other places, such as along US 202, you'd never know there was ever a railroad there. There is a map of the abandoned portion at http://www.abandonedrails.com/Chester_Creek_Branch

I'm not sure there would be more demand versus West Chester out there. If you had money to restore this branch or West Chester service but could only choose one, I think you have to pick the one closer to more people,which would be West Chester, which also has more people that are likely to want to go to the city. Once you get west of Chadds Ford and Kennett Square, it gets rural pretty fast, and most folks who live in places such as West Grove, Avondale or Oxford don't commute to Philly, and work in places such as West Chester, the 202 corridor, northern Delaware or far NE Maryland or support local agriculture. Looking west of Kennett Square (2010 census population 6,072), we have Toughkenamon (pop. 1,492) Avondale (pop. 1,265), West Grove (2,854) and Oxford (5,077). Obviously people live in surrounding townships and hamlets, but the area is both mostly rural and small towns, and quite a distance from Center City Philly. West Chester, by comparison, had 18,461 in the 2010 census in city limits and the area surrounding it is built up suburban in all directions except west.
khecht
 
Posts: 696
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2006 2:27 pm
Location: Philly Area

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby SCB2525 » Tue May 10, 2016 11:02 pm

It's definitely Octoraro west of Wawa. From memory of a Penn Central chart I had seen, the official designation change was at the switch at Wawa.

Chadds Ford would be the limit of an extension without other details worked out; SEPTA sold it beyond there in 2005 or thenabouts. I agree that it would be difficult to justify extension past Kennett Square.

I again reiterate that lines in similar condition have been restored. The ROW is traceable and is not encroached upon in any significant amount. The biggest difficulties would be bridge rehab/replacement and repair of washouts. Not insurmountable.
User avatar
SCB2525
 
Posts: 869
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:44 pm
Location: Philly Metro

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby Suburban Station » Wed May 11, 2016 10:36 am

West Chester is a much stronger OD pair than unwalkable chads ford. once you get west of 202 there is very little commuter demand going to Philadelphia. the primary commute pattern is to Wilmington and along 202. It does not make more sense than West Chester as a service restoration and likely makes less sense than Pottstown and Quakertown as well.
Suburban Station
 
Posts: 3201
Joined: Sun Jul 22, 2007 5:11 pm

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby ekt8750 » Wed May 11, 2016 1:05 pm

SCB2525 wrote:The bridge over the Chester Creek is shared with the West Chester Branch, is present and is being rebuilt as part of the Wawa extension with 2 tracks. I don't know which you refer to that was washed out. While I admit washouts are present and conditions are poor between Wawa and Chadds Ford, service has been restored to lines in similar condition elsewhere.


I'm sorry it's the bridge of the West Branch Chester Creek in Chester Heights. Here's a Google Earth image of it:

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.8836365 ... a=!3m1!1e3
ekt8750
 
Posts: 663
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2006 11:30 pm

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby ExCon90 » Wed May 11, 2016 3:07 pm

Suburban Station wrote:West Chester is a much stronger OD pair than unwalkable chads ford. once you get west of 202 there is very little commuter demand going to Philadelphia. the primary commute pattern is to Wilmington and along 202. It does not make more sense than West Chester as a service restoration and likely makes less sense than Pottstown and Quakertown as well.


Apart from that, I would think WCU would be a significant magnet for travel from points east, providing some counterflow; I don't know of any comparable magnet on the Octoraro.
ExCon90
 
Posts: 3465
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:22 pm

Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby skm » Thu May 12, 2016 8:38 pm

" In other places, such as along US 202, you'd never know there was ever a railroad there."

In conjuction with the construction of Wegman's on 202, you can see some rusty railroad tracks (northbound 202) where the line would of crossed 202. The tracks are exposed due to some recent clearing.

SKM
skm
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:02 am

PreviousNext

Return to SEPTA (and PATCO)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 2 guests