RCT: First - Your three questions:
1-Late 1990s - CNJ's mention of Year 2000 extension two miles west from Paoli to Malvern seems right to me.
2-Service west of Paoli before 1990 thereabouts was almost all Amtrak Keystone Service trains.
Service to the "Western Main Line": Malvern, Exton, Whitford and Downingtown was introduced with funding
from Chester County - and for a time included limited weekday service to Coatesville and Parkesburg.
3-SEPTA RRD has run peak weekday express trains of various limited stops since direct operation began on
January 1, 1983 with the most common running nonstop between 30th Street and Bryn Mawr.
I have a set of April 25, 1976 schedules for what now is the former PRR Commuter Rail routes - the first ConRail
issues (Conrail began operation April 1, 1976) with the original name and logo. There was a Bryn Mawr-Paoli TT
(Form 40) and a card timetable for weekday Downingtown-Philadelphia service - trains #312 eastbound AM and
#337 westbound PM (Form D-1) for service to Malvern, Whitford and Downingtown.
#312: Downingtown 7:20 AM; Whitford 7:25 AM; Malvern 7:31 AM - Paoli 7:37 AM-all stops to Rosemont 7:57 AM
Express to 30th Street - 8:11 AM and Penn Center (Suburban Station) 8:15 AM
#337: 5:00 PM Penn Center (Suburban Station) - 5:03 PM 30th Street; Express to Rosemont 5:19 PM-all stops to
Paoli 5:42 PM; Malvern 5:46 PM; Whitford 5:52 PM and Downingtown 5:57 PM.
One interesting weekday AM Peak eastbound train was #318 which had only three stops: Leave Paoli 8:02 AM
nonstop to 30th Street 8:28 AM and Suburban Station 8:32 AM.
For many years Paoli has been a "magnet" station attracting riders from all over Chester County primarily.
There were two choices that Chester County had to improve rail service: 1-Enhanced Western Main Line
trains - or - Full restoration of the Elwyn-West Chester Line (Elwyn 15.1; West Chester 27.5 miles from CCP
total 12.4 miles) which would have been more expensive - to relieve pressure on Paoli parking.
The "Paoli Local" has a long established history...MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS