- R3 (SEPTA)
The R3 is a route of the
SEPTA Regional Rail commuter railsystem. The former Pennsylvania Railroadend of the route serves the western suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniawith service to Media, terminating in Elwyn in Middletown Township, Pennsylvania, and the former Reading Companyend serves the northern suburbs with service via Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, terminating at West Trenton in Ewing, New Jersey. Service once extended further on both ends - west beyond Elwyn to West Chester and northeast beyond West Trenton to Jersey City, New Jersey.
The Media/Elwyn Line connects Center City Philadelphia with Elwyn, branching from the
Northeast Corridorat Arsenal Interlocking, just south of 30th Street Station. The line, known officially as the "SEPTA West Chester Line," is a two-track line and was electrified in the 1920s, at the same time the present day Northeast Corridorwas electrified between Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware. Electrified service to Media and West Chester was opened on December 2, 1928.
between Media and Elwyn. The present crossings were built by the PRR in the early 1920s during the electrification project.
The line was originally built by the
West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad. The first section opened November 15, 1853, from Philadelphia to Burmont. On October 19, 1854an extension to Media opened, and further extensions were built, culminating with the completion to West Chester on November 11, 1858. In the early 1880s the Pennsylvania Railroadgained control, merging into Penn Centralin 1968 and Conrailin 1976. SEPTA took over operations in 1983. As of 2005, most R3 weekday Media/Elwyn trains continue through downtown as R3 West Trenton trains. All weekend trains terminate downtown.
The R3 Elwyn makes the following station stops, proceeding west from 30th Street Station:
R3 West Trenton
The West Trenton Line connects Center City Philadelphia with the West Trenton section of
Ewing, New Jersey, where a branch formerly ran to downtown Trenton. Like all of the Reading Company's commuter lines, the West Trenton Line was electrified in the early 1930s and has a mix of at-grade and grade separated crossings. Electrified service to West Trenton (and to Hatboro, Lansdale and Doylestown) was opened on July 26, 1931. The line splits from the SEPTA Main Lineat Jenkintown, running northeast. At Bethayres, it crosses over the remnants of the former Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad, which once connected with the R8 Fox Chase line. At Oakford, the former New York Short Line Railroad, once part of the Reading's main line to West Trenton and Jersey City, merges. The West Trenton Railroad Bridge, a concrete arch bridge, crosses the Delaware Riverto the final stop at West Trenton.
Prior to 1983, the line continued north to Newark (Jersey City prior to the
Aldene Planof the 1960's), using Budd Company-built diesel-powered multiple-unit cars, but was dropped when SEPTA eliminated funding for Conrailoperations north of the electrified lines. Currently, New Jersey Transitis looking at starting a commuter service between West Trenton and Newark, allowing an alternative to the SEPTA/NJ Transit service on the nearby Northeast Corridorline, as well as expanding rail service to currently unserved areas of Central New Jersey.
The line north of the split at Jenkintown was originally built as the
National Railwayproject, opened on May 1, 1876to provide an alternate to the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Companies' monopolyover Philadelphia- New York Citytravel. From Jenkintown to the Delaware River it was built by the North Pennsylvania Railroadas a branch, while the New Jerseysection was built by the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad, merging with the Central Railroad of New Jerseyat Bound Brook. In addition to the Philadelphia and Reading Railway(later the Reading Company), which leased the North Pennsylvania Railroad on May 14, 1879, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroadalso used the line for passenger and freight service to New York City. In the mid-1900s, the New York Short Line Railroadopened, providing a cutoff from the Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad(now the R8 Fox Chase line) to the main New York line at Oakford. That cutoff is no longer used, and the R3 West Trenton uses the original route via Jenkintown. In 1976 the Reading merged into Conrail, and in 1983 SEPTA took over operations.
North of Neshaminy, track operations are controlled using
Currently, most weekday R3 trains continue through downtown to Media/Elwyn, while almost all weekend trains are paired with
The R3 West Trenton makes the following station stops, proceeding east from Market East Station:
List of stations:
Ridership on the West Trenton line has grown 30% between 1995 and 2005. Data from SEPTA Annual Service Plans:
* [http://www.septa.org/service/sched/pdfs/R3WT.pdf SEPTA - R3 West Trenton] schedule (PDF)
* [http://www.septa.org/service/sched/pdfs/R3ME.pdf SEPTA - R3 Media/Elwyn] schedule (PDF)
* [http://www.earlpleasants.com/search_1.asp Railroad History Database]
* [http://www.prrths.com/PRR_hagley_intro.htm PRR Chronology] (Christopher T. Baer)
* [http://www.dvrpc.org/transportation/capital/tip/tip-search/Detailpa05.asp?projid=60636&searchtype=MPMS DVRPC Project Page]
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