SEPTA Main Line
The SEPTA Main Line is the section of the SEPTA Regional Rail system from the Zoo Interlocking in West Philadelphia to Lansdale Station in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The line is 26.25 miles (42.25 km) long, and serves all 13 SEPTA Regional Rail lines.
A train operating on the SEPTA Main Line arrives at Fern Rock Transportation Center
|Type||Commuter rail line|
|System||SEPTA Regional Rail|
|Operator(s)||SEPTA Regional Rail|
|Line length||26.25 miles (42.25 km)|
|Number of tracks||2–4|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
Service on the Main Line segment between Glenside and Center City is given a special combined public timetable known as the Glenside Combined, allowing riders to see the schedules of all trains on the Main Line without having to look at multiple schedules. This is a partial legacy of the former SEPTA route number designations, which had the R1 Glenside designation for trains that turned at the station, paired with the Airport Line. That few trains actually terminated there and instead continued on to stations farther out was a contributing factor to the elimination of the route designators.
The Main Line was mostly built by the North Pennsylvania Railroad. However, the oldest section was part of the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad (PG&N), the first railroad in Philadelphia. The first section of it opened on June 7, 1832, from downtown to Germantown (now on the Chestnut Hill East Line). Later a new alignment was built to Norristown, leaving the old route from North Philadelphia to Germantown as a branch; this is now the Manayunk/Norristown Line. The PG&N south of Wayne Junction, the Ninth Street Branch, is now part of the Main Line.
The North Pennsylvania Railroad (North Penn) opened south of Gwynedd (north of Glenside) on July 2, 1855, and the continuation to Lansdale (including the branch to Doylestown, now the Lansdale/Doylestown Line) opened October 7. The short part of the Main Line from Wayne Junction northeast to north of Newtown Junction was built as a connection to the PG&N at Wayne Junction.
On December 1, 1870, the Philadelphia and Reading Railway (later the Reading Company) leased the PG&N. The North Penn was leased May 1, 1879, placing the future "Reading side" of the SEPTA Main Line under Reading control. Electrification to Glenside, Hatboro, Lansdale, Doylestown and West Trenton was completed on July 26, 1931. In 1976 Conrail took over the Reading, and in 1983 SEPTA gained control of the commuter operations. The Center City Commuter Connection was tied into the former Reading main line on November 12, 1984, completing the SEPTA Main Line as it is defined today.
The term "Main Line" is also sometimes used on the SEPTA Regional Rail system to refer to the Paoli/Thorndale Line, which runs along the original main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which is now Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line.