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The Chestnut Hill West Line is a commuter rail line in the SEPTA Regional Rail network. It connects Northwest Philadelphia, including the eponymous neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, as well as West Mount Airy and Germantown, to Center City.

Chestnut Hill West Line
NORTHERN END OF THE SOUTHEASTERN PENNSYLVANIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (SEPTA) TRAIN ROUTE IN THE SUBURBS OF... - NARA - 556772.jpg
A Penn Central Silverliner at Chestnut Hill West station in May 1974.
Overview
TypeCommuter rail
SystemSEPTA Regional Rail
StatusOperating
TerminiChestnut Hill West
Temple University
Stations10
Daily ridership5,651 (2016)
Websitesepta.org
Operation
Operator(s)SEPTA
Rolling stockElectric Multiple Units
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
ElectrificationCatenary
Operating speed50 mph (Chestnut Hill West to North Philadelphia) 70 mph (North Philadelphia to Zoo Interlocking)
Route map

11.3 mi
18.2 km
Chestnut Hill West
10.7 mi
17.2 km
Highland
10.2 mi
16.4 km
St. Martins
9.4 mi
15.1 km
Allen Lane
9.0 mi
14.5 km
Carpenter
7.9 mi
12.7 km
Tulpehocken
Zone
 2 
1
7.4 mi
11.9 km
Chelten Avenue
6.8 mi
10.9 km
Queen Lane
Westmoreland
Zone
 1 
C
4.5 mi
7.2 km
North Philadelphia Amtrak
NEC & TRE
to Trenton & Boston
0.9 mi
1.4 km
30th Street
SEPTA_subway–surface_trolley_lines MFL NJ Transit Amtrak
0 mi
0 km
Suburban
0.5 mi
0.8 km
Jefferson
2.1 mi
3.4 km
Temple University

Route descriptionEdit

The Chestnut Hill West Line branches off from Amtrak's Northeast Corridor at North Philadelphia station and runs entirely within the City of Philadelphia. Its terminal is named Chestnut Hill West to distinguish it from the end of the Chestnut Hill East Line (a competing line of the Reading Company until 1976, when SEPTA assumed operations). Some stations are less than half a mile apart, a characteristic more commonly seen in an urban rapid transit system rather than a commuter rail line. The line runs roughly parallel to the Chestnut Hill East, and the two terminals are rather close. The line is fully grade-separated.

HistoryEdit

The line was originally opened June 11, 1884 by the Philadelphia, Germantown and Chestnut Hill Railroad, and was operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1968.[citation needed] Electrified service began on March 30, 1918.[1] The Penn Central operated it until 1976, turning operations over to Conrail until 1983, when SEPTA took over.[citation needed]

Between 1984–2010 the route was designated R8 Chestnut Hill West as part of SEPTA's diametrical reorganization of its lines. Chestnut Hill West trains operated through the city center to the Fox Chase Line.[2] Plans had called for the line to be paired with West Chester/Elwyn Line and designated R3, but this depended on a never-built connection from the Chestnut Hill West Line to the ex-Reading near Wayne Junction.[3] As of 2018, most Chestnut Hill West Line trains continue through Center City to the Fox Chase Line.[4]

Between June 26, 1987–December 17, 1989 service terminated at Allen Lane with shuttle buses serving St. Martin's, Highland and Chestnut Hill West because of unsafe conditions on the Cresheim Valley bridge. The original iron bridge dated to 1884 and was replaced with a $7.6 million steel structure financed by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration.[5]

SEPTA activated positive train control on the Chestnut Hill West Line on August 22, 2016.[6]

StationsEdit

 
The Pennsylvania Railroad opened St. Martins in 1883
 
Queen Lane station

The Chestnut Hill West makes the following station stops after leaving 30th Street Station; stations indicated with gray background are closed. All stations are located within Philadelphia.

Zone
[7]
Station Miles (km)
from Center City
Date
opened
Date
closed
Connections / notes
C Zoological Garden 1.9 miles (3.1 km) 1874 November 24, 1901[8] Station served the Philadelphia Zoo.
Engleside 2.8 miles (4.5 km)   April 5, 1903[9] Engelside was closed as part of the discontinuance of four stations on April 5, 1903.[9]
Ridge Avenue 3.2 miles (5.1 km)   April 5, 1903[9] Ridge Avenue was closed as part of the discontinuance of four stations on April 5, 1903.[9]
22nd Street 3.9 miles (6.3 km)  
1 North Philadelphia 4.5 miles (7.2 km)     Amtrak: Keystone Service, Northeast Regional
SEPTA: Trenton Line, Broad Street Line,   4, 16
Westmoreland 5.5 miles (8.9 km)   October 29, 1994[10]
Queen Lane   6.8 miles (10.9 km)     SEPTA:   K
Chelten Avenue 7.4 miles (11.9 km) June 11, 1884[11]   SEPTA:   26, J
2 Tulpehocken 7.9 miles (12.7 km) June 11, 1884[11]   SEPTA:   53, 65
Upsal 8.4 miles (13.5 km)     SEPTA:   H
Carpenter 9.0 miles (14.5 km) June 11, 1884[11]  
Allen Lane   9.4 miles (15.1 km)    
St. Martins 10.2 miles (16.4 km)    
Highland 10.7 miles (17.2 km) June 11, 1884[11]  
Chestnut Hill West   11.3 miles (18.2 km) June 11, 1884[11]   SEPTA:   23, 77, 94, 97, L
Chestnut Hill East station is two blocks north.

RidershipEdit

Yearly ridership on the Chestnut Hill West Line between FY 2008–FY 2014 has remained steady around 1.5–1.6 million:[12]:94[13][14][15][16][17][18]

500,000
1,000,000
1,500,000
2,000,000
FY 2008
FY 2009
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Williams, Gerry (1998). Trains, Trolleys & Transit: A Guide to Philadelphia Area Rail Transit. Piscataway, NJ: Railpace Company. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-9621541-7-1. OCLC 43543368.
  2. ^ Lustig, David (November 2010). "SEPTA makeover". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing: 26.
  3. ^ Vuchic, Vukan; Kikuchi, Shinya (1984). General Operations Plan for the SEPTA Regional High Speed System. Philadelphia: SEPTA. pp. 2–8.
  4. ^ "Chestnut Hill West Line schedule" (PDF). SEPTA. December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Hollman, Laurie (December 17, 1989). "A Bridge Is Rebuilt With Clout". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "Positive Train Control Update". SEPTA. May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  7. ^ "Trenton Line Timetable" (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. September 10, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  8. ^ Baer, Christopher T. (April 2015). "A General Chronology of the Successors of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company and Their Historical Context: 1901" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical Historical Society. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  9. ^ a b c d "Discontinuing All Stops of Trains at Paschal, South Street, Engelside and Ridge Avenue". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. April 3, 1903. p. 2. Retrieved October 17, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  10. ^ Rider, Phantom (October 26, 1994). "Eulogy for an R8 Station". The Philadelphia Daily News. p. 8. Retrieved November 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  11. ^ a b c d e "Steam Roads: Opening of Pennsylvania's New Branch Line". The Philadelphia Inquirer. June 11, 1884. p. 2. Retrieved November 10, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  12. ^ "Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  13. ^ "Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2014. p. 60. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  14. ^ "Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2013. p. 44. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  15. ^ "Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2012. p. 55. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  16. ^ "Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. July 2011. p. 94. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  17. ^ "Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2010. p. 70. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  18. ^ "FY 2010 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2009. p. 63. Retrieved August 13, 2016.

External linksEdit