Empty Space around Millborne Station

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Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby mcgrath618 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:18 pm

Hello,
I was riding the El on the way home to vote today when I noticed the large amount of empty space on the westbound side of Millborne Station. What was it? Was it a parking lot? A train yard?
Thanks!
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Re: Empty Space around Millbourne Station

Postby MichaelBug » Tue Nov 06, 2018 1:23 pm

The area near Millbourne Station was the site of a Sears, Roebuck department store & its parking lot.
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Re: Empty Space around Millbourne Station

Postby JeffK » Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:15 pm

MichaelBug wrote:The area near Millbourne Station was the site of a Sears, Roebuck department store & its parking lot.

The Millbourne store was closed after Sears relocated to the other end of the 69th St. shopping area. IIRC after it was torn down SEPTA tried to use the tracts as a kind of park-n-ride, but it was barely usable and closed after a relatively short time.

Also, many years ago there was a connecting line between the P&W and the old Cardington branch; it was used for transfers when the P&W carried limited amounts of freight (e.g. sand delivery to the Merion golf course). During winter when foliage is sparse a few remaining relics of the connection are still visible from the westbound El, including a couple of third-rail stanchions.
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby mcgrath618 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:43 am

Where would they have connected? (The Cardington branch is the same thing as the Newtown Square branch, right?)
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby ekt8750 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:21 pm

mcgrath618 wrote:Where would they have connected? (The Cardington branch is the same thing as the Newtown Square branch, right?)


The Cardington Branch split off the Newtown Square Branch in what is now East Lansdowne. It ran across Upper Darby's Stonehurst Hills neighborhood where it would then run alongside the Cobbs Creek north to Sears and the P&W.

You can follow the ROW in Google Maps:

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9489811 ... a=!3m1!1e3
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby SCB2525 » Tue Nov 27, 2018 5:32 pm

The NHSL track that ducks down along the access road to the MFL shop used to continue eastalong what is now the North Terminal bus loop. The gate at the east end was the ROW and the track continued along the river behind Sears. Always thought that on Earth 2, an extension of the 36 trolley from Baltimore Pk up the Newtown Sq/Cardington branch to 69th St or as a connection to the 101/102 near Beverly Blvd (or beyond to West Chester Pike) would be an interesting proposition.

What I'd like to know is where the freight that Red Arrow apparently handled into the late 60s went. No map I've seen shows any freight sidings (unless they used Villanova, King Manor, etc. as public delivery sidings.) and I don't know how they would have interchanged with anyone but PRR/PC after the Liberty Bell route went out.
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Re: Empty Space around MillboUrne Station

Postby JeffK » Tue Nov 27, 2018 7:41 pm

SCB2525 wrote:What I'd like to know is where the freight that Red Arrow apparently handled into the late 60s went. No map I've seen shows any freight sidings (unless they used Villanova, King Manor, etc. as public delivery sidings.) and I don't know how they would have interchanged with anyone but PRR/PC after the Liberty Bell route went out.

Unfortunately I can’t quickly find any primary-source information either. However my admittedly hazy memory is that in addition to the Merion GC siding, there was also one between Hughes Park and King Manor that served the small manufacturing tract on the ROW's west side.When freight service ended both were removed. I can’t say with any certainty whether there were others, excepting of course tracks to the short-lived Beechwood amusement park.

Another possible reason for ending freight service may have been regulatory. As I understood the situation, even if demand for freight had continued, the presence of a physical connection to a heavy-rail line made the P&W subject to certain FRA rules. Severing that connection allowed it to be operated as a more-flexible transit service.
Last edited by JeffK on Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby JimBoylan » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:54 am

Possibly as late as 1936, the tail of the wye in the Victory Ave. bus yard continued across Victory Ave. with a grade crossing into the Garrett Paper Mills building.
Into the late 1950s, there was a coal trestle with a trailing points switch on the Haverford Rd. side of the tracks between Wynnewood Rd. and Ardmore Jct.
Merion Golf Club was on the other side of the tracks, beyond Ardmore Ave.
Pure Oil Co. was on the Haverford Rd. side, just before the old Haverford Station at Buck La.
The Bryn Mawr ice plant was on the same side, beyond Bryn Mawr station.
There was a quarry near the Wayne station on the Strafford branch, and another on the West side of the Norristown branch just before the Trenton Cutoff.
For P&W use, Villanova and Beechwood substations both have sidings, and so did the power house at Beechwood - Brookline.
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby Patrick Boylan » Wed Nov 28, 2018 12:21 pm

JeffK wrote:Another possible reason for ending freight service may have been regulatory. As I understood the situation, even if demand for freight had continued, the presence of a physical connection to a heavy-rail line made the P&W subject to certain FRA rules. Severing that connection allowed it to be operated as a more-flexible transit service.

What are the certain FRA rules, and why does SEPTA's Broad St Line, which has, or at least had when I looked sometime in the last 10 years, a connection at Fern Rock, find it ok to be subject to those rules?
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Re: Empty Space around MillboUrne Station

Postby chuchubob » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:55 pm

JeffK wrote:...
Another possible reason for ending freight service may have been regulatory. As I understood the situation, even if demand for freight had continued, the presence of a physical connection to a heavy-rail line made the P&W subject to certain FRA rules. Severing that connection allowed it to be operated as a more-flexible transit service.

The freight service ended after Cobbs Creek flooded and covered the track with mud. Sears subsequently paved over a section of track that ran through their parking lot. The line was never used again.
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby JeffK » Wed Nov 28, 2018 3:19 pm

chuchubob wrote:The freight service ended after Cobbs Creek flooded and covered the track with mud. Sears subsequently paved over a section of track that ran through their parking lot. The line was never used again.

Thanks for the update, Bob! Do you know when that happened? Reportedly the last freight runs were made around 1970. I went through a pile of Phila. Water Department data but couldn't pin down a specific flood around that time.

Patrick Boylan wrote:What are the certain FRA rules, and why does SEPTA's Broad St Line, which has, or at least had when I looked sometime in the last 10 years, a connection at Fern Rock, find it ok to be subject to those rules?

The only information I was able to find - both in the past and currently - is that so long as freight was carried, the FRA was "responsible for control". However no reference offered any details re what that control involved, which is why I left my statement kinda nebulous :) My wild guess is that the FRA would be in the picture if the P&W hauled cars from another operator, they'd be "foreign" equipment on P&W tracks. The absence of freight carriage might (emphasis on the subjunctive) explain why the BSS is exempt. Can anyone else chime in?

It's a shame Walt's no longer active on this thread, with his encyclopedic knowledge of the area's transit history....
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby chuchubob » Thu Nov 29, 2018 8:30 am

Freight service ran into the 1970's. I started working in Radnor in Sept 1972, riding the Market Street El to 69th Street and the P&W to Radnor. A train with three empty boxcars went to 69th Street Terminal once every three months to load used bus tires.
I don't remember which year the flood occurred that ended freight service.
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby JimBoylan » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:20 pm

There's more than 1 F.R.A. regulation that may apply to rail lines, and different rules about how each regulation may or may not apply to a particular situation. Severing a connection may not free you from all regulations if the conditions of some other rule apply to impose a particular regulation. And, then there are Federal LAWS!
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby stephenjohnson10 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:33 pm

How interesting about the freight on the NHSL. What pulled the cars? An ordinary diesel, or did they have electric locomotives? Does anyone have any pictures?
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Re: Empty Space around Millborne Station

Postby mcgrath618 » Mon Dec 03, 2018 4:36 pm

stephenjohnson10 wrote:How interesting about the freight on the NHSL. What pulled the cars? An ordinary diesel, or did they have electric locomotives? Does anyone have any pictures?

This. The Chicago L also handled freight IIRC
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