Regional rail to Pottstown

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Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby drinkatoast » Thu Dec 14, 2017 11:36 pm

Anyone know of any recent serious SEPTA discussion of extending Regional service from Norristown to Pottstown? I've heard public calls for this due to chronic congestion on 422; I'm thinking that, rather than something extravagant like the old Schuylkill Metro idea, this could be done on the cheap with used push-pull cars & diesel locos, with a transfer at Norristown (can't run diesels into Center City for obvious reasons). Does this seem within the realm of real near-term possibility? And does anyone know what Norfolk Southern's attitude is toward this?
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby mcgrath618 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:31 am

I would love to see this happen, along with a return to Bethlehem, but I'm not sure that it's particularly feasible, since SEPTA doesn't have a suitable diesel fleet to handle such demand.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby JeffersonLeeEng » Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:56 am

The ROW between Norristown and Pottstown is owned and operated by Norfolk Southern. They're not exactly on board to have passenger service running along that segment of rail anytime in the near future. The only real talks for extension currently in SEPTA-land are Wawa and King of Prussia via the NHSL.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby mcgrath618 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:03 am

This isn't necessarily true. SEPTA owns the ROW to Bethlehem, and according to their budget report this year, they've put a significant amount of money into evaluating renewed service.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby nova08 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:54 am

JeffersonLeeEng wrote:The ROW between Norristown and Pottstown is owned and operated by Norfolk Southern. They're not exactly on board to have passenger service running along that segment of rail anytime in the near future. The only real talks for extension currently in SEPTA-land are Wawa and King of Prussia via the NHSL.

Getting NS to partner in the project will be difficult, but it is not like the groundwork isn't there. There are ~7 long NS trains through Norristown every day, that is not necessarily ideal for Septa.

1.)The NS line is not that frequently used. Maybe an average of 10 trains a day total.
2.)The ROW was originally 3-4 tracks out to Phoenixville, now only two. There should be space to add a dedicated passenger track.

Obstacles:
1.) As mentioned, it is diesel territory
2.) New Tunnel just west of Phoenixville, required if they want a dedicated passenger track
3.) New bridge over the Schuykill at Norristown, required if they want a dedicated passenger track
4.) Additional ROW needed west of the tunnel where there are areas with room for only 2 tracks (around Royersford)
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby glennk419 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:25 pm

mcgrath618 wrote:
JeffersonLeeEng wrote:The ROW between Norristown and Pottstown is owned and operated by Norfolk Southern. They're not exactly on board to have passenger service running along that segment of rail anytime in the near future. The only real talks for extension currently in SEPTA-land are Wawa and King of Prussia via the NHSL.


This isn't necessarily true. SEPTA owns the ROW to Bethlehem, and according to their budget report this year, they've put a significant amount of money into evaluating renewed service.


There's quite a bit of irony there since SEPTA allowed all of the rails and infrastructure north of Quakertown, including to the proposed park and ride at Shelly, to be ripped out over the last several years. I know that a complete rebuild would have been necessary nonetheless but they wouldn't have the trail huggers to contend with if they had held the ROW.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby motor1 » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:41 pm

Where would you put the stations?

The old RDG Phoenixville station is now a banquet hall.

The old Royersford station is now a restaurant.

At least the old Pottstown station appears to be the hub for PART so that would work out fine for that town.

And what about Valley Forge NHP?

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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby Roadgeek Adam » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:57 am

You don't automatically need to use the depots to build a station at. While convenient, it would be rather annoying to require that.

Phoenixville, you can just take down trees and expand the parking lot.
Royersford, you can use the old depot area or build it at Arch/2nd.
Pottstown, the old depot.

If you want an extra station, you could use the old VF or Port Kennedy stations, although neither really draw themselves as a commuter station. More for reverse commuting.

The only other really former stop is Linfield, but there is absolutely no reason other than for people of the power plant for a stop there. You'd probably get more commuters from a park & ride on 422 east of Pottstown.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby bikentransit » Thu Feb 08, 2018 9:28 am

If this were any other state, train service to Bethlehem and Reading would have happened a long time ago. Route 309 and 422 are heavily traveled corridors and linking Philly to other smaller metro centers would be an economic benefit. The planners and politicians are blind for not having prioritized these corridors.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby dreese_us » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:20 am

Septa is now extending the Bethlehem Trail closer to Quakertown, New Hope and Ivyland Railroad is the contractor pulling up the tracks to California Road.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby ChesterValley » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:14 pm

I've been trawling the Railroad fourms to see answer the same question. This post from JeffK in 2004 might give you an idea:
viewtopic.php?f=72&t=1276&hilit=Bethlehem&start=30

JeffK wrote:
benrussellpa wrote:What needs to be tackled is the rampant, out of control, unplanned development that is happening throughout Pennsylvania. Our land use laws do not give local municipalities ability to effective plan on a regional level and target growth to certain areas. If this was possible, we could do things like target commercial or residential growth around existing RR stations.[/list]

Amen! Pennsylvania seems unwilling to let go of the old frontier-settler mindset that there's always more land over the next hill. The courts have tended to side with developers against the needs and wishes of local residents, somehow deciding that the developers' rights to maximize their profits outweigh the need for a liveable environment.

The problem is compounded by the fact that Pennsylvania has the most fragmented civic planning of any state in the country. Planning is most often handled at the township or even sub-township level, with over 2500 separate jurisdictions making essentially uncoordinated decisions about roads, schools, businesses, and so on. It's incredibly difficult to get anyone in a position of power to cede any of their authority to another group or agency that could make the different districts work together. As the old saying goes, "My kingdom may be small, but I am its only king."

Chester County went through all sorts of contortions to set up even a relatively weak board that could try to get various townships to simply talk to each other before acting. And about 10 years ago I participated in a planning exercise in southern Montgomery County, only to find that people equated any kind of intergovernmental cooperation with Soviet-style central planning. One troglodyte (sorry, but it's a fact) ended up shaking his fist at me and shouting that I was Communist traitor for suggesting that my township form a joint planning authority with just one other neighboring government.

To make matters worse, state law limits the extent to which even these local bodies can control development through zoning. In theory at least, every planning district has to allow some fraction of its land to be used for any purpose, no matter how deleterious. A typical ploy is for a developer to propose something they want such as a McMansion tract or a big-box store complex. The residents go ballistic, the plan is turned down, and the developer counters with something on the order of a truck terminal or a waste-transfer station. The local planners can't issue a second turndown because the developer will sue for "irreparable harm" or some such mumbo-jumbo. They can even file a personal suit against any planner who opposes them! Then they say, "Let's negotiate. How about letting us build this nice shopping complex?" Everyone breathes a sigh of relief about how a nice GigundoMart is better than a trash station . . .


GGGGGAAAHHHHHH!!!


It's a mystery why the planning boards around here are so bad. You would think after being in bumper to bumper traffic from KOP to Royersford every rush hour on 422 would prompt some sort of change.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby mcgrath618 » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:05 pm

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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby MACTRAXX » Wed Apr 18, 2018 9:53 pm

MCG: The Patch article read looks promising...Why did they use a picture of MFSE cars in the yard
near the 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby instead of a Norristown Regional Rail train?

This looks like a case of "a train is a train..." but the trouble is NIMBYs will see this - even with the
positive overview that is mentioned about bringing passenger rail service to the Phoenixville area
and think that this will bring City elements to the area - similar to opposition of the KOP project.

This could be an improvement with support from a large majority of area residents - but the use
of the wrong photograph - no matter how innocent it is - could stir up unnecessary problems.

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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:40 pm

They swapped in a SL III pic for he original pic,still one heck of a long shot to get NS to play nice here.
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Re: Regional rail to Pottstown

Postby ekt8750 » Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:48 pm

Backshophoss wrote:...still one heck of a long shot to get NS to play nice here.


And lets not even get into the whole PTC thing.
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