Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

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Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Postby jfrey40535 » Tue Apr 15, 2008 11:07 pm

Looks like SEPTA approved a back door deal to let Montco convert the lower half of the Newtown line to a rail-trail...for $1.00. Looks like Casey will continue the SEPTA tradition of cutting up the line.

http://www2.montcopa.org/montco/cwp/fileserver,Path,MONTCO/Agendas%20and%20Minutes/Minutes%20030608.pdf,assetguid,7a308cb9-8237-4413-812834d9b563f0a2.pdf

SEPTA,as owner of a railroad corridor known as the Fox Chase/Newtown Branch, Line Code No. 0325 railroad line (the “Premises”), agrees to enter into an agreement with Montgomery County for the long term use of the corridor on which no train service currently operates until such time as Rail service is reinstated,
and WHEREAS, SEPTA, for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar ($1.00)agrees to provide the County with a Trail Lease Agreement for use of the Corridor for an interim Trail, acknowledging that SEPTA has the paramount right to continue to use the Premises for its present railroad use and to return all or part of the Premises into an operating railroad and/or use the Premises for other public transport purposes, and
WHEREAS, SEPTA deems that the Non-Operating Newtown Branch and its
associated right-of way are not abandoned and SEPTA will retain the Non-
Operating Newtown Branch as part of the rail transportation system for use on an interim basis for recreational trail purposes as if under the National Trail Systems Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1247(d), and the Pennsylvania Rails to Trails Act, and WHEREAS, Montgomery County wishes to turn a portion of the Non-Operating Newtown Branch into an interim trail (“Pennypack Trail”) for recreational lpurposes such as, but not limited to, bicycling, walking, jogging, rollerblading, and cross country skiing for use by the public consistent with the guidelines for trail development within Montgomery County. NOW, THEREFOR, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners hereby authorize and direct that the Lease Agreement by and between Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and the County of Montgomery , which provides among other things for a multi-use public use Trail upon a part of a Non-Operating railroad corridor known as the Fox Chase / Newtown Branch, Line Code No. 0325, as if under the National Trail Systems ct, 16 U.S.C. § 1247(d), and the Pennsylvania Rails to Trails Act for a consideration of $1.00 for the, be approved and signed by the Board of the County Commissioners.


Funny how UST in Bucks was told no, but Rockledge in Montco was given a green light. The Pitcairns win again!

That's all folks..............anotherone bites the dust!
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Postby whovian » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:16 am

I, for one, am not suprised. I'm suprised you are, Jfrey. :-D

Seriously speaking, a truly sad and disgraceful turn of events. So much for expansion. :(
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Postby Clearfield » Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:10 pm

Until & unless the DVRPC, the State and Municipalities themselves come to the realization that the line needs to be reactivated, it still be a trail.

SEPTA cannot in itself reactivate the line, and no one with the power to ask is asking them to.

Yeah it sucks, but it is what it is. :(
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Postby glennk419 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:43 am

jfrey40535 wrote:Funny how UST in Bucks was told no, but Rockledge in Montco was given a green light. The Pitcairns win again!

That's all folks..............anotherone bites the dust!


Just wait until all those "trailers" start peeking in the Pitcairn's windows and polluting that beloved Pennypack creek with all of their trash and beer bottles.
Last edited by glennk419 on Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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History

Postby amtrakhogger » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:50 am

Another piece of the Reading is history.
"I will stop at St. Avold."
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Postby Matthew Mitchell » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:16 pm

glennk419 wrote:Just wait until all those "trailers" start peeking in the Pitcairn's windows and polluting that beloved Pennypack creek with all of their trash and beer bottles.

Nope. The Montco trail plan ends short of Bryn Athyn.
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Postby add2718 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:00 pm

SEPTA has the paramount right to continue to use the Premises for its present railroad use


Say what? "Present railroad use"? Did they write this in 1982?

and to return all or part of the Premises into an operating railroad and/or use the Premises for other public transport purposes


Uhhh... wouldn't they have to rip up the rails if they're going to convert this ROW into a trail? 'Cos nobody's gonna hike, bike, or jog on railroad ties. So MontCo is going to invest all this time and $$$ into converting it, and then SEPTA could possibly say they want the trains to come back? Yeah right. If it sat dormant and decaying for 25 years, there's no way it'll ever come back after the ROW's been turned into a recreation path.
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Postby glennk419 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:04 pm

Matthew Mitchell wrote:
glennk419 wrote:Just wait until all those "trailers" start peeking in the Pitcairn's windows and polluting that beloved Pennypack creek with all of their trash and beer bottles.

Nope. The Montco trail plan ends short of Bryn Athyn.


Thank you, Matthew. I respectfully retract my comment.
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Postby Matthew Mitchell » Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:25 pm

R8Guy wrote:Uhhh... wouldn't they have to rip up the rails if they're going to convert this ROW into a trail?

Yeah, but realistically, they'd have to rebuild the tracks from the roadbed up if and when they were to restore service. The rails and ties may still be in place, but you wouldn't want to run on them as-is, and they're so far gone that rebuilding from scratch would likely be cheaper and more effective than repairing them. See the Quakertown/Stony Creek for a similar situation--their study assumes a complete rebuild too.
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Postby Woodcrest295 » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:16 pm

i was just looking at the "FISCAL YEARS 2012-2019 CAPITAL PROGRAM (Years 5-12) PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS" at it says that "Newtown Line Improvements ($32,000,000) This project will provide the necessary improvements required to resume rail service along the Newtown Line." its on page 70 of 75 in the budget for 2008.. why is it in there if the line will become a trail?
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Postby Matthew Mitchell » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:58 pm

Woodcrest295 wrote:i was just looking at the "FISCAL YEARS 2012-2019 CAPITAL PROGRAM (Years 5-12) PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS" at it says that "Newtown Line Improvements ($32,000,000) This project will provide the necessary improvements required to resume rail service along the Newtown Line." its on page 70 of 75 in the budget for 2008.. why is it in there if the line will become a trail?

Because the out years of the capital budget are a meaningless wish list, included because the law requires it and to keep critics at bay. Obviously those projects keep getting pushed back each year.

If someone happened to hand SEPTA $32 million in free money, and told them they couldn't spend it on consultant studies or other things that wouldn't commit them to run a new service, then they would do the project--but only then.
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Postby jfrey40535 » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:02 pm

Clearfield wrote:Until & unless the DVRPC, the State and Municipalities themselves come to the realization that the line needs to be reactivated, it still be a trail.

SEPTA cannot in itself reactivate the line, and no one with the power to ask is asking them to.

Yeah it sucks, but it is what it is. :(


So how is it that SEPTA was free to discontinue service, turn a working line that was given to them by Conrail, tear it apart and make it mush, but not be able to fix what they broke? They're holding onto the property, but making every effort to prevent it from being used for any mode of future mass transit.
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Newtown Line go's to walking trail

Postby Readingblueliner » Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:06 am

This wasn't hard to predict was it being that SEPTA prooves once again they're very adept on mismanaging a railroad?
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Postby dwm167 » Sat May 03, 2008 12:59 am

Hey this is my first post. I live in Huntingdon Valley and grew up spending time with my family in the Pennypack Watershed. I often find myself walking the tracks at least once a week, imagining the possibilities of what could be. However, the tracks along the creek which I hike at least once a week are thoroughly and utterly dilapidated, and there is no chance of restoring service to that line without completely replacing the ties, rails, bridges, crossings, the installation of power lines, and the associated clearing of heavy, new tree growth and the re-stabilization of land fill-ins that have eroded severely over the years. The cost to restore the line would be enormous, and based on the length of this line, they'd have to have two tracks which would require a lot of new rock blasting in many areas to make room. I'm just describing the one or two miles of the Welsh road to County Line Road portion of this rail line. If you google earth from Fox Chase and follow the linear clearing along the path of the line, you'll also see how windy it is (which would need to be straightened out if you want to make the trip into Philly fast enough to compete with car travel time). You'll also see that in many areas homes and developments are often within 30 yards of the tracks and 5 to 10 in some places, making the widening of the line nearly impossible without going for imminent domain. Also, if you overlay the rail map with a population density map, there aren't census block groups with more than 5,000 people in them along the entire length of the line, which makes it more difficult to substantiate the restoration cost. It's not like the Schuylkill Valley Metro line that hits at least 4 major population centers on its way to Reading. It's going to take serious federal funding (which should come with the next pres - especially if it's obama) for this restoration to come to fruition, but it will likely occur sometime within the next twenty years because oil is on the way out; because our quality of life will be defined by how much time we have to live it (and faster and hands-free travel to work via trains will become much more attractive); and because the reintegration of urban centers is paramount to sustainable development. The most important thing is that SEPTA still owns the right of way, so don't be so gloom. The line is too geographically well-positioned to be abandoned; it just might be longer than we'd hope. Time is really a moot point because it's already way too late to restore service without spending big, big bucks. When you walk the tracks, it looks like they've been abandoned for fifty years in some places...i was shocked to find out that trains still ran on the line in the 80s...i thought 50s or 60s at the latest based on the level of disrepair.
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Re: Newtown line leased to Montco for recreational trail

Postby scotty269 » Sat Jul 19, 2008 12:03 pm

Rather than starting a new topic...

http://www.timesherald.com/site/news.cf ... 3380&rfi=6


COURTHOUSE - The Montgomery County commissioners normally are spending money when they award contracts.
However, a contract recently awarded by the commissioners will put money into the county's coffers.
The county contracted with Railroad Resources and Recovery of Bethlehem to remove 2.4 miles of railroad track materials, including wooden ties and steel tracks, along the western border of the county's Lorimer Park in Abington.
The company will pay the county $205,100 for the job and materials it removes.
"With the price of steel these days..." responded county regional trails manager Rich Wood, explaining why the company would pay the county for the work.
The county has entered into a nominal lease with SEPTA to use the land for a hiking and biking trail.
SEPTA in 1983 "temporarily suspended" commuter rail traffic on the line, which extends from Fox Chase to Newtown in Bucks County. Since that time, despite pleas from some to reactivate the line, parts of the rail line have been paved over.
The section of the rail line that involves the county contract begins on the Rockledge border and extends to Huntingdon Pike.
This will be the first phase of the proposed Pennypack Trail, which eventually will extend farther north into Upper Moreland and Bryn Athyn where it will link with the county's Cross County Trail as well as trails in Bucks County, according to Wood. ~
The company will have 90 days to complete its work, Wood said.
The final design and engineering work for the trail should wrap up by the end of the year. Construction of the crushed stone trail will get under way in the spring.
"I am hoping that the trail will be operating next summer," said Wood.
Margaret Gibbons can be reached at mgibbons@timesherald.com or 610-272-2501 ext. 216.
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