Open main menu

The Airport Line (formerly the R1 Airport) is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail commuter rail system in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which officially runs between Philadelphia International Airport through Center City to Temple University station. In practice, however, only a few trains originate or terminate at Temple; most are through routed with lines to the north, primarily the Warminster Line, with some through-routed trains originating and terminating at Glenside.

Airport Line
Train 829 at Airport Terminal A station.jpg
R1, the former designation of SEPTA's Airport Line
Overview
TypeCommuter rail
SystemSEPTA Regional Rail
StatusOperating
TerminiPhiladelphia International Airport Terminals
Temple University
Stations10
Daily ridership6,835[1]
Websitesepta.org
Operation
Opened1985
Operator(s)SEPTA Regional Rail
Rolling stockElectric Multiple Units
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
ElectrificationCatenary
Route map

9.4 mi
15.1 km
Terminals E & F
9.3 mi
15 km
Terminals C & D
9.1 mi
14.6 km
Terminal B
9.1 mi
14.6 km
Terminal A East/West
Zone
 4 
1
7.2 mi
11.6 km
Eastwick
Zone
 1 
C
1.8 mi
2.9 km
University City
0.9 mi
1.4 km
30th Street
SEPTA_subway–surface_trolley_lines MFL Atlantic City Line Amtrak
0 mi
0 km
Suburban
0.5 mi
0.8 km
Jefferson
2.1 mi
3.4 km
Temple University
Main Line
to Glenside or Warminster

The line between Center City and the airport runs seven days a week from 5:00 AM to midnight with trains every 30 minutes. The trip length from Suburban Station to the airport is 19 to 24 minutes. The line is fully grade-separated.

RouteEdit

 
Geographic map of the route

While geographically on the former Pennsylvania Railroad side of the Regional Rail System, the route consists of new construction, a reconstructed industrial branch of the former Pennsylvania Railroad, and a shared Conrail (formerly Reading Company) freight branch. The Airport Line opened on April 28, 1985, as SEPTA R1, providing service from Center City to the Philadelphia International Airport. By its twentieth anniversary in 2005, the line had carried over 20 million passengers to and from the airport. The line splits from Amtrak's Northeast Corridor north of Darby and passes over it via a flying junction. West of the airport, the line breaks from the old right-of-way and a new bridge carries it over I-95 and into the airport terminals between the baggage claim (arrivals) and the check-in counters (departures).

The line stops at four stations which are directly connected to each airport terminal by escalators and elevators which rise one level to the walkways between the arrival and departure areas. All airport stations feature high-level platforms to make it easier to board and alight from the train with luggage. Some stations can be accessed directly from the arrivals concourse by crossing Commercial Vehicles Road. The line ends between Terminals E and F at their combined station.

As of 2018, most weekday Airport Line trains are through routed with the Warminster Line and alternate between terminating in Glenside and Warminster. Most weekend trains either continue on to Warminster or terminate at Temple University.[2]

StationsEdit

 
An Airport Line train bound for Center City Philadelphia stops at the Airport Terminal A station

The Airport Line makes the following station stops, after leaving the Center City Commuter Connection. All stations are in the City and County of Philadelphia.

Zone
[3]
Station Miles (km)
from Center City
Date
opened
Date
closed
Connections / notes
C University City   1.8 miles (2.9 km)  1995   SEPTA: Manayunk/Norristown Line, Media/Elwyn Line, Warminster Line, West Trenton Line, Wilmington/Newark Line;   40, LUCY
1 Eastwick   7.2 miles (11.6 km)  1997   SEPTA:   37, 68, 108, 115
4 Airport Terminal A   9.1 miles (14.6 km)  1985   SEPTA:   37, 108, 115
Airport Terminal B    1985   SEPTA:   37, 108, 115
Airport Terminals C & D   9.3 miles (15.0 km)  1985   SEPTA:   37, 108, 115
Airport Terminals E & F   9.4 miles (15.1 km)  1985   SEPTA:   37, 108, 115

HistoryEdit

 
An Airport Line train after departing 30th Street Station

The line south of the Northeast Corridor was originally part of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad main line, opened on January 17, 1838. The connection between the NEC and the original PW&B is made however by the later 60th Street Branch. A new alignment of the PW&B (now the NEC) opened November 18, 1872, and on July 1, 1873, the Philadelphia and Reading Railway, later the Reading Company, leased the old line for 999 years. Connection was made over the PRR's Junction Railroad and later the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad. However, as a condition of the sale, no passenger service was provided. The line passed into Conrail in 1976 and SEPTA in 1983, with passenger service to the Airport beginning on April 28, 1985.[4]

Infill stations were planned from the beginning of service, two of which were on the Airport Line proper: one at 70th Street, the other one at 84th Street. The latter station was opened in 1997 as Eastwick, while 70th Street was never built, and has since disappeared from maps. Additionally, University City station (proposed as "Civic Center") opened in April 1995 to serve all R1, R2 and R3 trains passing it. All these stations appeared on 1984 SEPTA informational maps, the first ones to show the Center City Commuter Connection and the Airport Line.

SEPTA activated positive train control on the Airport Line on October 10, 2016.[5]

RidershipEdit

Ridership by fiscal year:

Fiscal year Average weekday Annual passengers
FY 2013 6,550 2,247,817[6]
FY 2012 6,167 2,116,435[7]
FY 2011 5,560 1,908,070[8]
FY 2010 6,907 2,282,273[9]
FY 2009 6,430 2,126,415[10]
FY 2008 6,073 2,003,900[11]
FY 2005 4,017 1,270,082
FY 2004 3,942 1,106,581
FY 2003 3,531 1,262,600
FY 2001 n/a 1,276,000
FY 2000 n/a 1,258,000
FY 1999 n/a 1,068,000
FY 1997 n/a 1,077,737
FY 1996 n/a 1,017,262
FY 1995 2,617 831,043
FY 1994 2,240 742,824
FY 1993 1,678 632,471
Note: n/a = not available

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan. p. 98" (PDF). SEPTA. April 2015.
  2. ^ "Airport Line schedule" (PDF). SEPTA. December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "Airport Line Timetable" (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. September 10, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "SEPTA – Airport Line – Celebrating 25 Years".
  5. ^ "Positive Train Control Update". SEPTA. May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  6. ^ "SEPTA (May 2014). Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Service Plan. p. 60" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-08-12. (539 KiB)
  7. ^ "SEPTA (May 2013). Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Service Plan. p. 44" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-09-22.
  8. ^ "SEPTA (May 2012). Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Service Plan. p. 55" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-24. (539 KiB)
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2011-08-23.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-02-11. Retrieved 2013-01-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-29. Retrieved 2010-12-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit