SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby Mumphrey O. Yamm » Thu May 19, 2016 11:32 pm

About the Octoraro Branch... While it isn’t as pressing as West Chester (or Quakertown or Pottstown), I think running passenger trains out to Oxford makes sense. It isn’t something that SEPTA could do today; in all truth, it would floor me if they ever lengthen a line or open a new one up. But The Brandywine Museum is right along that branch. So are Longwood Gardens. Kennett Square is a fair sized town. And a few miles shy of Oxford is Lincoln University. It wouldn’t be a branch you’d want to, or need to, run trains all the way out every half hour on; but every two hours would make sense.

Needless to say, this will have to wait until SEPTA chooses to behave like an organization that wants to run a railroad, rather than one that seems like its fondest dream is to pull up every rail within 50 miles of Philadelphia.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby jonnhrr » Fri May 20, 2016 2:47 pm

I think that's a little unfair. Since 1980 SEPTA has:
- built the Center City tunnel combining the 2 halves of the system into 1 and opening up new origin - destination pairs.
- added the Airport line
- extended Paoli trains to Thorndale
- extended Marcus Hook to Wilmington and Newark DE
- Media line to Elwyn - admittedly not a huge extension. Working on extending further to Wawa.

It's true that we lost West Chester and the various diesel powered extensions (Newtown, Bethlehem, Reading, etc.) some of those were outside of the SEPTA area where the other regions were indifferent to ponying up to keep the trains running, and they presented operational issues with the CCCT.

On the whole their has been positive developments, although not as much as the region needs. But that is true everywhere in the US. In the Boston area, we almost had our own "center city tunnel" with the big dig, but it never happened, the usual lack of money and will. We would give our eye teeth to have what Philly has.

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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby Suburban Station » Sat May 21, 2016 10:17 am

Pottstown, Phoenixville, West Chester, and Quakertown all pay the same taxes and are part of the same region as places that retained service. Obviously the reading terminal should not have been abandoned. The point being that the places that lost service didn't contribute less, they were just unlucky. I also agree it's not septa as there was simply no money available to fund diesel operations into the terminal. That's all water under the bridge, it's up to us now to support service restoration.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby jackintosh11 » Sat May 21, 2016 1:44 pm

It's not that Reading Terminal shouldn't have been abandoned, it's that the tunnel should have had a ventilation system allowing them to run diesels through it. Boston does it in Back Bay, why can't our tunnel?
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby MACTRAXX » Sat May 21, 2016 6:52 pm

JT: The Center City Connection as built back in the first half of the 1980s was unifying two then-separate commuter
rail systems that were electrified already and had an added advantage of using the same 11KV AC power supply.

When Back Bay was built also during the 1980s it was designed for electrification to be added in the future.
This was a major part of the Southwest Corridor line rebuilding project into Boston.

Unfortunately the ventilation system installed in the underground segments in the Back Bay station area have
not worked out as well as it should have and exhaust fume ventilation has been an ongoing problem there.

At one point it was bad enough in which station employees - namely those working in the Back Bay ticket office
were getting sick as a result of hazardous fumes not being properly ventilated.

I realize that we are now way off topic - MBTA Forum members or archives of past discussions should have
more information about this subject of exhaust fumes underground.

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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby leviramsey » Sat May 21, 2016 8:41 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:Unfortunately the ventilation system installed in the underground segments in the Back Bay station area have
not worked out as well as it should have and exhaust fume ventilation has been an ongoing problem there.

At one point it was bad enough in which station employees - namely those working in the Back Bay ticket office
were getting sick as a result of hazardous fumes not being properly ventilated.


Indeed, Amtrak has at various times threatened to close the ticket office at Back Bay (which is a top 20 station nationally (between Portland, OR and Emeryville, CA in ridership)).
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby ExCon90 » Sun May 22, 2016 3:04 pm

Suburban Station wrote:Pottstown, Phoenixville, West Chester, and Quakertown all pay the same taxes and are part of the same region as places that retained service. Obviously the reading terminal should not have been abandoned. The point being that the places that lost service didn't contribute less, they were just unlucky. I also agree it's not septa as there was simply no money available to fund diesel operations into the terminal. That's all water under the bridge, it's up to us now to support service restoration.

Those towns outside the 5 SEPTA counties didn't contribute less, they contributed nothing and were thus not entitled to service unless they agreed to kick in (as Delaware has done, for example). They declined.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby tgolanos » Mon May 23, 2016 4:12 am

But those towns aren't outside the 5-county area: Pottstown (Montco), Phoenixville & West Chester (Chester); Quakertown (Bucks). Pottsville, Reading, Allentown and Bethlehem are, however, outside the 5-county area.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby MACTRAXX » Mon May 23, 2016 5:38 am

TG: That is what EC90 is referring to - Berks, Schuykill, Lehigh and Northampton Counties are outside of the five
counties that support SEPTA and refused to contribute any funding to keep the Reading-Pottsville and Bethlehem-
Allentown former RDG RDC services operating along with any remaining Penndot subsidies.

Back in 1981 these two routes were truncated to Pottstown and Quakertown respectively before they both
were discontinued in August of that year. With this change these trains had forced transfers at De Kalb St.
in Norristown and Lansdale along with less service and as a result ridership declined steadily.

Hefty fare increases did not help matters any - SEPTA Commuter Rail (as the system was then referred to)
riders had endured THREE 1980 fare increases totalling around 50 percent which caused a significant loss
in ridership with the response being the Summer 1981 service cutbacks on all lines. The system itself was
even threatened at some point with what could have been a disasterous shutdown or even abandoned in
part or more. What happened is Conrail exited passenger rail operations at the end of 1982 and with direct
SEPTA takeover in 1983 began to rebuild ridership by lowering fares and increasing services.

Mistakes were made - such as losing routes like Elwyn-West Chester and the Newtown-Fox Chase Rapid Transit
Line fiasco - but as we have seen over these past 33 years the system has not only grown stronger it is today
literally booming with ridership increasing especially during the last ten or so years. This makes me ask:
What would the five county Philadelphia region be like without SEPTA Regional Rail?

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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby ExCon90 » Mon May 23, 2016 3:40 pm

tgolanos wrote:But those towns aren't outside the 5-county area: Pottstown (Montco), Phoenixville & West Chester (Chester); Quakertown (Bucks). Pottsville, Reading, Allentown and Bethlehem are, however, outside the 5-county area.

I guess when in doubt, look at a map ...
I thought Pottstown and Quakertown were over the line; as it is, they have a legitimate beef, but being beyond the wire seems to be fatal.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby Suburban Station » Mon May 23, 2016 9:23 pm

Since we didn't have the ability to retain a downtown diesel terminal due to a lack of capital (whether we want to blame lack of septa funds, unwillingness of penndot to fund services, etc) the only one we have left is 30th St which does have enormous excess capacity as well as a yard. I'd vote for penndot funded amtrak diesel service to reading with septa to wc and Quakertown.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby AlexC » Thu May 26, 2016 10:14 pm

Dial back the conspiracy theories.... the topic is West Chester.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby jonnhrr » Fri Apr 07, 2017 2:33 pm

Where does the Wawa extension stand? There is nothing about it on the SEPTA construction page.

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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby ekt8750 » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:39 pm

According to their proposed capital budget, construction should be starting next year.
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Re: SEPTA plans feasibility study on West Chester

Postby bikentransit » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:23 am

They've been saying that for the past 20 years.
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