Reverse Swampoodle

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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Reverse Swampoodle

Postby Bill R. » Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:32 pm

This is the concept of connecting the northbound former Reading trunk with the Norristown and Chestnut Hill West lines (assuming the original Swampoodle connection is completed) via the former Pennsylvania Railroad bridge over the former Reading trunk between 16th Street junction and Allegheny Avenue.

This website -- http://philadelphia2050.blogspot.com/20 ... ction.html -- seems to be the only place with a map of the proposed connection (identified as Phase 3).

1) Has this ever been officially studied?

2) The proposed route tunnels under the Amtrak Northeast Corridor (a big deal) and connects with the CH West right-of-way near the north end of the CH West North Philadelphia platform. I calculated a bare minimum rise of 30 feet in .16 miles (approximately 800 feet). That comes to nearly a 4% grade - isn't that a little steep?

3) The proposed new development adjacent to the Amtrak Station might prohibit the connection if the right-of-way isn't preserved.

Comments?
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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby JeffersonLeeEng » Tue Jan 22, 2019 8:09 am

I think there is a nearby viaduct crossing to the CHW-North Philly stop that has some bad subsidence/structural issue. SEPTA has sorta corrected it in the past somewhat but any sort of new connection is probably costly and dangerous. I suspect that if the original Swampdoodle didn't make it, any future variation would be problematic even on the drawing board.
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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby mcgrath618 » Tue Jan 22, 2019 6:01 pm

This article is interesting because it proposes a connection from the Norristown Line directly to the NEC to allow diesel push-pull service from Reading. This would avoid the CCC and could be VERY interesting if it is to believed that Phoenixville genuinely wants rail service.
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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby jonnhrr » Wed Jan 23, 2019 3:19 pm

Why wasn't the original Swampoodle connection ever done? Seems like a no brainer.

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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby JeffersonLeeEng » Thu Jan 24, 2019 12:35 pm

jonnhrr wrote:Why wasn't the original Swampoodle connection ever done? Seems like a no brainer.


I think it was proposed sometime during the construction and opening of the Center City Tunnel Connection by Vukan Vuchic (early 80's planning expert IIRC). It probably subsequently withered on the idea vine most likely due to NIMBY...like most things of this nature...
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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Jan 24, 2019 1:51 pm

JLE: The problem bridge was the PRR-built truss bridge that the CHW Branch crosses over the
Reading Trunk lines just N of North Philadelphia. That bridge supposedly has been repaired...

The Swampoodle proposal was designed to allow the CHW line to avoid using the NEC between
North Philadelphia into Center City with the switching moves needed to access the CHW Branch.

A connection from the paralleling former RDG Norristown Line would have the added benefit of
allowing diesel trains from the Schuykill Valley to operate via the NEC to 30th Street should the
Swampoodle Connection be constructed with this added option as part of the new routing.

The cost - and the added track infrastructure that would be needed to reroute CHW trains - was
likely why the Swampoodle Connection was not built. With most of the SC area either industrial
or vacant it is highly unlikely there was ever any NIMBY opposition.

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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby Return to Reading Company Olney Sta » Thu Jan 24, 2019 6:13 pm

JeffersonLeeEng wrote:
jonnhrr wrote:Why wasn't the original Swampoodle connection ever done? Seems like a no brainer.


I think it was proposed sometime during the construction and opening of the Center City Tunnel Connection by Vukan Vuchic (early 80's planning expert IIRC).


Thus the never used R4 designation. The route pairings Vuchic recommended if Swampoodle would have been built discussed here:

http://www.pennways.com/Commuter_Tunnel_Line_Ops.html
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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby SCB2525 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 8:18 pm

It would likely be easier to simply electrify and signal the N. Philadelphia Connecting Track that runs from the Norristown line at 16th st junction and continues up a slope onto the the NEC. Some clearance issues exist with a couple existing catenary structures but would be cheaper to resolve than a "reverse Swampoodle". The slope is steep by general railroad and old equipment standards but would be easily negotiated by Silverliners. Additional though admittedly more pipe-dream-y engineering involving moving signal equipment in the crotch of the junction and diamonds across the Norristown tracks could also afford entry to the NEC directly from the SEPTA Main. The non-emergency benefit to doing so would be questionable though.

With the difference in grade between Norristown and CHE in the Swampoodle area, it would be unlikely you could make a crossover between the Norristown line and CHW universal (back and forth) With this and the N Philly connecting track possibility in mind; any plant at Swampoodle would make the most sense to allow an inbound CHW train into 16th St Junction the way its always been planned vs the other way around.
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Re: Reverse Swampoodle

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:39 pm

Took me a bit to figure why the red path indicating a tunnel under the NEC was there, but I think I got it - allowing the inner two tracks of the Main Line to be the only flat junction, reserving the outer two for outbound Norristown and inbound CHE/W respectively? It seems redundant without an over-under flying junction to separate outbound CHE/W from inbound Norristown though.

I was also hoping to see a southbound NEC-Main Line, northbound Main Line-NEC junction to allow the elusive NYP-PHL expresses, but that seems to be too much for the North Philadelphia neighborhood to handle in terms of land use right now.
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