Fox Chase to Newtown

The Newtown Branch

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Note: This line is not officially abandoned.

This branch of the Reading Railroad was almost absorbed by Conrail in 1976 if it was not for SEPTA, who purchased the line outright with the intent on running a commuter rail service between Fox Chase (near downtown Philadelphia) northeast to the end-of-the-line at Newtown, PA. Commuter rail service commenced in 1981 using Budd RDCs, but proved troublesome from the start due to SEPTA's inexperience with commuter rail operations, along with local resistance to the operation and an aging fleet of RDCs that were not properly maintained. In addition, there were many grade crossings along the line that remained unprotected, one of the few SEPTA lines to have this problem. Inadequate or nonexistent warning signs were the causes of many accidents, including notable ones in Newtown (Lincoln Avenue), Southampton (2nd Street Pike, one of the worst in SEPTA history), and Holland (Old Jordan Road) in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The financial and, in some cases, legal burdens placed on SEPTA after these accidents contributed to the decline of the Newtown Branch. By January, 1983, the service had all but vanished, being replaced by bus transit service.

The last SEPTA train to run on the branch was a British BRE-Leyland diesel railbus, which made a test run to Newtown on the Branch on September 3, 1985. However, this was not the last train in general to run on the branch. FRA reports indicate Conrail switch trains ran on the line as recently as 1988. An FRA accident report dated January 11, 1988 states a Conrail switch train traveling at a mere two miles per hour was hit by a speeding motorist at the location of the former State Street crossing in Newtown, PA. By this time, the line was reported as out of service (nearest station listed as "Croydon" in the accident report), and most of the crossing signals along the line were placed out of service also (report states no crossing protection existed; crossing was flagged by crew). It is not known why Conrail operated trains on the line after its "temporary" abandonment during this time; perhaps CR was clearing cars off the line that were placed in storage.

There has been many discussions of restoring the line and continuing to provide passenger service, but none of them have come to fruition. Up until just recently, the FRA listed the entire Newtown Branch as "active" and all grade crossing "open". Today, the records have been changed to show the branch and its crossings are "closed".

Wikipedia's entry on this line (below) has a much more in-depth history of SEPTA's ownership/operation of the line.

I see the line allot in many diferent roads and sometimes see this gateless grade crossing missing some lights

christopher palmer
aston, PA
3/13/2012

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i looked at this abandoned line on the website.is anything going to be done now or in the future concerning this abandoned rail line?i see a lot of rail and equipment that can be removed to make this a possible rail to trail.any information on plans for this please let me know.thank you.

george oakley
reading, PA
12/4/2012

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Hi George

We are working on getting the Bucks County portion of this line converted to a trail. You can check out our website www.buildourtrail.org for more information. We look forward to seeing you on the trail!

Build Our Trail
Southampton, PA
12/6/2012

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thanks for the info about turning the bucks county portion into a trail.i will visit your website because i do have more info that you might find useful.

george oakley
originally quakertown, PA
12/7/2012

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i myself would like to see the railroad restore the service to the line. traffic is getting worse around the area. i think more trains would help reduce the over crowed roads and help the peopls get to there destanations faster then cars. we need more trains and other public transpotaion to slow down the traffic problems an gas problems. also put more people to work also. a win win situation

nick
bensalem, PA
1/31/2013

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I added a map of some of the stations based on wikipedia's GPS coordinates, and more-or-less the way between them. Rough around the edges, but at least you can trace where it used to go. I can see them reinstating service at some point along the Pennyback trail and a bit further, at least as far as Holland/Village Shires area, near point-C. Or maybe they can just start expanding it slowly outwards. Technically the Pennyback Trail is railbanked, and the people who pushed for its creation are ACTIVELY for the restoration of the line as a railway line. (Really, rails-to-trails isn't anti-rail. They would much rather have rails-with-trails or just rails, and a trail is easier to convert to a railway than a completely abandoned line.)

The possibilities are very many.

https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=40.2266%C2%B0N+74.9312%C2%B0W&daddr=Unknown+road+to:40.204448,-74.952072+to:40.1964128,-74.9733869+to:40.1935%C2%B0N+74.9851%C2%B0W+to:40.1849%C2%B0N+75.0137%C2%B0W+to:40.1730801,-75.0413269+to:40.1720%C2%B0N+75.0438%C2%B0W+to:40.1648%C2%B0N+75.0600%C2%B0W+to:40.1596451,-75.0667389+to:40.15769%C2%B0N+75.0722%C2%B0W+to:40.1540412,-75.0714043+to:40.1491493,-75.0783977+to:40.1380111,-75.0745417+to:40.132631,-75.0729553+to:40.1302%C2%B0N+75.0708%C2%B0W+to:40.125241,-75.074121+to:40.1210%C2%B0N+75.0729%C2%B0W+to:40.0970%C2%B0N+75.0744%C2%B0W+to:40.0837641,-75.0826237+to:40.0800301,-75.0862235+to:40.080316,-75.084502+to:fox+chase+septa+station&hl=en&ie=UTF8&ll=40.202674,-74.949675&spn=0.035465,0.066862&sll=40.081092,-75.079021&sspn=0.017764,0.033431&geocode=FSjPZQIdAKSI-w%3BFRyQZQIdeY2I-w%3BFaB4ZQIdeFKI-ynHV0-nW1PBiTF5UK5WLtDBlA%3BFTxZZQIdNv-H-ynT1FUKtqzGiTEIoWSlEv7KLQ%3BFdxNZQIddNGH-w%3BFUQsZQIdvGGH-w%3BFRj-ZAId0vWG-yljsvTKx63GiTHHHyClhPi70Q%3BFeD5ZAIdKOyG-w%3BFcDdZAId4KyG-w%3BFZ3JZAIdjpKG-yntvjnXCK7GiTEzhgyPrfcKpQ%3BFfrBZAIdOH2G-w%3BFbmzZAIdVICG-ykNfpG_BK7GiTECWmR0xnNVTg%3BFZ2gZAIdA2WG-ymLZ8wV4rHGiTHozDV2N9Dmrw%3BFRt1ZAIdE3SG-ynhw7R85bHGiTHtw_EUGnerLw%3BFRdgZAIdRXqG-ynLRqyW7bHGiTGlEaGNOWYoag%3BFZhWZAIdsIKG-w%3BFTlDZAIdt3WG-ylbiNhskrHGiTEUb_mLB7orFQ%3BFagyZAIdfHqG-w%3BFejUYwIdoHSG-w%3BFTShYwIdgVSG-ymBxZ41R7HGiTHQgoZEpoOVKA%3BFZ6SYwIdcUaG-ykFxaIjOLHGiTFZAk45JC58xQ%3BFbyTYwIdKk2G-ynfwJP1R7HGiTGqK0KORH-Fyw%3BFWWEYwIdu1GG-yH8eXM5AGw_Yym1hFrJSbHGiTH8eXM5AGw_Yw&t=h&dirflg=b&mra=dpe&mrsp=20&sz=15&via=2,3,6,9,11,12,13,14,16,19,20,21&z=14&lci=bike

Joel
Arden, DE
5/20/2013

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i can tell you personally that rail service will not be restored.information available is that it would cost upwards of $100,000,000.00 to restore this line.does anyone have that kind of money?think about it.converting the railbed to either a trail or back to nature makes more sense than trying to restore the rail line to service.public opinion also does count.me myself would love to see a trail or returned to nature railbed.either way everybody wins.

george oakley
originally quakertown, PA
5/24/2013

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George, do you live in Southampton? Your profile says Quakertown. Why are you so concerned about a railroad in someone else's community? You're also so concerned about public input on spending money to restart train service, why is this a bad thing? If the government can come up with that kind of money to invest in my neighborhood, let's do it! I bet you're not so concerned with other government expenditures.

Southampton needs train service back, not a trail for a special interest group. We are choking in traffic. Bring the trains back!

Jim Gilshane
Upper Southampton, PA
6/7/2013

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to answer your questions,i do live in the quakertown area and am just wondering why septa does not invest money in this line.as for the estimate on how much it would cost to restart this line,i feel i am right because the rail and bridges along with the equipment would have to be replaced.as for the traffic,i do also agree.would you not say i am right for a rail to trail be put in barring the cost to replace the line and reactivate it?think about it.i do live along an abandoned line which will never be restarted so i do know.thanks for your questions.let me know if you do hear anything about this rail line.

george oakley
quakertown, PA
6/8/2013

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Earthen / Stone RR overpass, over Shady Lane (Fox Chase ~ Rockledge area) collasped many years ago and all remaining structure was demolished & removed. I doubt there will ever be any service north of SEPTA's R-8 Fox Chase station

Chris
Fox Chase, Phila, PA
8/6/2013

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Actually, a construction company looked at this a few years ago when an independent railroad was considering buying the line. A study they did suggested that the culvert would be replaced with a simple steel span bridge with a abutments on either side and single support pillar in the middle. The span is about 225'. This would be better than a culvert since it would not interfere with the creek anymore. The cost didn't seem that high either, but the company decided to invest elsewhere for other reasons.

Bob Allen
Abington, PA
8/6/2013

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thanks guys for the info.i do agree that there probably will not be rail service north of where the line ends.however,a smart idea would be to put a rail to trail in.we can only wait and see.if anyone does hear of any new developments,please let me know.thank you.

george oakley
quakertown, PA
8/7/2013

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Personally I would like to see this line running again in either a commuter line or even a recreational/tourist railroad. With a lot of the infrastructure still intact along 11 miles of track and a lot of the old stations, in bucks county and montgomery county, it would make a nice scenic railroad. Also if it was ever reconnected to Septa tracks in Fox Chase, it could allow for more possibilities like It would be neat to see a Reading T1 operating on any old Reading RR Track including this line. The is one owned by Andrew Muller in Port Clinton. I heard he is interested in having it up in running condition again. I have found footage of it running all the way to Oreland, Pa back in 91. I admit I like the idea of rails to trails but I also believe that it doesn't have to always be the answer for some of these abandoned or retired lines. A lot of these lines can be saved for future generations to show the history of our area, state, and country. Look at places like The Strasburg RR and The New Hope and Ivyland RR. As young as I am at 27, I feel like too much our history has and still is being taken away from mine and future generations.

Andrew
Glenside, PA
11/3/2013

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i do agree with you that it would be nice to restart rail service but now with what is happening with septa concerning the fox chase line you and i may not see nothing happening in the future.i do not know if you are aware of it but septa needs operating capitol from the government to keep operating.if they do not get this money they need then rail lines like the fox chase line will be shut down.we do not need that now,do we?so i think any talk about conversion of the newtown line would be put on the backburner.getting back to the issue of the newtown line if septa cannot find the money to restart the line do not be surprised if someone comes to them with a rail to trail plan.bus service is also possible.keep in touch.

george oakley
quakertown, PA
11/4/2013

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I have also heard that instead of connecting at fox chase, the line could possibly connect to the west trenton branch near bethayres where the newtown line crossed the west trenton branch. This could save some money in areas where track was ripped up as well as allow the Pennypack Trail to still exist. In the future this could also allow New Hope Ivyland RR to run special excursions using the wye that looks to still be somewhat intact in Jenkintown while passing through Glenside. Septa has allowed NHIRR to run these special excursions from Lansdale and Willow Grove so far. Maybe NHIRR could lease it. Again I am not against rails to trails, I totally support one that would run on former Fort washington and plymouth branches that would link many major trails systems in the area. Infrastructure is still in place on the newtown branch, spend the money on trails of old rail beds that have already been removed.

Andrew
Glenside, PA
11/4/2013

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i agree 100% with what you say.it mainly boils down to money.who is going to put it where and how.we will see,won't we.if you hear any information about this line and possible reactivation,please let me know.keep in touch.

george oakley
quakertown, PA
11/5/2013

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This line is mentioned with considerable interest in PennDOT's transportation plan for the next 20 years:

Newtown to Philadelphia

SEPTA suspended service between Fox Chase and Newtown in 1982. The line had been operated as a shuttle using Rail Diesel Cars (RDC). SEPTA maintained a line item

in its long-term capital budget for restoration of the line

until 2009,but the agency has never acted to restore service. Recently, SEPTA entered into agreements to remove

the track for a rail trail; however, interest still persists in restoring the service, despite local pposition. Alternative configurations of extending rail service may be possible, including tying the line into the R3 Warminster line via the Trenton Cutoff.

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/Internet/Bureaus/pdBRF.nsf/RailFreightHomepage?OpenFrameSet&frame=main&src=RailPlan2035?OpenForm

Stefan Banaszak
Lancaster, PA
1/11/2014

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you are correct stefan about what is happening with thw rail line.if septa does not get the funding they need you may see the whole fox chase-newtown line shut down.as for the trail,i know there is opposition against it.please let me know if you hear anything down the road about this rail line.thanks.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/11/2014

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I know it says Trenton Cutoff but it seems like there are better choices for the Newtown Branch. If they connected to the West Trenton Branch (Septa/formerly Reading) it would allow septa to use its existing main line to jenkintown where it branches off towards Trenton via Nobel, Rydal,... The original Newtown Branch had a diamond crossing right before Betharyes area. There is also the Wye that looks to be (possibly overgrown) at jenkintown to allow freight movement from both directions via lansdale (possibly Bethlehem in the distant future) or Philadelphia. The connection would be near the original crossing which is near Meadowbrook Golf Club and a lot of the land in that area isn't in use so it would allow for easy construction of a connection of the Newtown Branch.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
1/11/2014

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*correction on the map

It's the Trenton Cutoff not the Northeast Corridor.

And its Fox Chase not the Fox River.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
1/11/2014

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thank you for the information.i did not know what you found out.you mentioned lansdale.i lived there and went to school there.i know that line very well by actually riding the rail line itself.is it possible that those two lines,the one from newtown would have been hooked up to the lansdale line?who knows.not me.i do know for a fact that the rail line from quakertown to bethlehem is being converted to a trail.so count out any rail service up there.as for bethayres i am not familiar with that area.i also will look at google earth to see if that wye is overgrown.keep in touch with any new information.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/12/2014

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While its tempting to take a shortcut in getting the line back by going through Bethayres or the Trenton Cutoff, the optimal solution is the original alignment from Fox Chase. Its quicker, will bolster the operating ratio on the entire line (in terms of cost sharing) and it provides an alternate route to Center City that does not involve Jenkintown. If wires are down at Elkins Park, Newtown trains still get through.

Its odd that PennDOT would mention the line since its been quiet for so long. It would be nice if some money came with their suggestion. Abington is swimming with traffic and the other SEPTA stations have no parking, so this would be a big welcome investment in Abington/Huntingdon Valley.

Bob Allen
Abington, PA
1/12/2014

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Track between Fox Chase and Bethayres that was part of the Newtown Branch have been removed by montgomery county and converted into a trail. There was also the bridge collapse near Shady Lane. It would cost more money to build that infrastructure back in place. The quickest and most cost affective solution would be to build a switch in the Bethayres area right on the west trenton branch (bound brook on old maps) where the Newtown Branch used to cross over the west trenton/Bound Brook Branch.

George, the active line that runs through Jenkintown, Glenside, Oreland, Ft. Washington, Ambler…. all the way to Lansdale was a Reading mainline (originally known as the North Pennsylvania RR) that ran through Quakertown and continued all the way to Bethlehem. In that same link to the PENNDOT Report they were talking about the possibilities of opening up service from Norristown all the way to Reading via Pottstown and the possibility of opening service back from Landsale to Bethlehem. Looking at BING MAPS birds eye view you can see remnants of a WYE in Jenkintown in 2012. The use of this wye would come in handy for Freight operations in the area as well as possible excursions via the New Hope Ivyland Railroad which have traveled on Septa's tracks in recent years. So far I have seen they did trips from Willow Grove to New Hope as well as a trip from Lansdale to New Hope Via Glenside (Carmel Interlocking) as part of their Founder's day celebrations. Septa doesn't have to immediately start using the newtown branch if they allowed other railroads to update the infrastructure for them through freight operation. If freight operations opened up they could upgrade the track (updated in '84) and crossings, Septa could invest the bulk of their budget for upgrading the newtown branch for the installation of an electrification system on the branch.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
1/12/2014

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George, thanks for your insight. It would not be that costly to go back through Fox Chase. Shady Lane can be easily replaced with a bridge (a RRD construction company looked at this a few years ago for a private party). The tracks on the whole line have to be replaced anyway, so the temporary trail actually makes installation of new track that much easier.

It is encouraging to hear however that PennDOT has an interest in this corridor.

Bob Allen
Abington, PA
1/12/2014

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it is surely amazing that penndot would even mention anything dealing with the rails in pa.as we all know,penndot is associated with highways,not rails.now do not get me wrong,there are alot of abandoned bridges that penndot is concerned about which need attention.also the money has to be there before anything gets done.as for septa,whatever idea they come up with,hopefully it is the best for everyone involved.the newtown line is one line that does have potential but what will septa do with it?antyone who has answers please let me know.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/13/2014

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I am glad too se more people would like to see the rail line put back in service, Again it would help out the traffic and put people back to work. We need more trains less cars. gas prices keep going up with no end to stop. it would help make those gas companies thinking about lowering the gas prices to a normal price. plus it would help our air pollution problems buy getting more cars off the road. lets start using trains an busses to help traffic too.

Nick
Bensalem, PA
1/14/2014

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*correction on the map

It's the Trenton Cutoff not the Northeast Corridor.

And its Fox Chase not the Fox River.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
1/14/2014

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According to Google Street View, a crossing signal relay case still exists along the line at Old Jordan Road near PA 532. There's another one just down the line at East Holland Road along with an old crossing signal base. A third one exists at Holland Road as well. Others exist at Bristol Road, County Line Road, Fetters Mill, and Moredon Road. There are some old crossing signal bases at 2nd Street Pike. Terwood Road has a pair of abandoned crossing signals at it. Another abandoned crossing signal remains at Rhawn Street.

freebrickproductions
Huntsville, AL
1/15/2014

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i agree that trains are very beneficial to the economy.right now though with the way things look i do not really know for sure what will happen with this rail line for example.it can actually go either way.on one hand you have people who want rail reestablished because it would stop the congestion on the roadways.this is a good argument which i do not disagree with.on the other hand you have septa who is stuck with the decision to start rail service or totally abandon the line.of course money is always the deciding factor.only time will tell.i myself would like to see all rail service started back up but in alot of areas it is not feasable according to the rail providers because the ridership has to be there which in most cases is not.that is why that you see more and more abandoned rail lines in pa.i read that you said nick about using buses.good idea.up here in reading they are using what is called hybrid buses that use less emission causing fuels.all which benefits the environment.does septa run buses to newtown?maybe they should look into that if they do not want to reactivate the newtown rail line.keep in tough.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/15/2014

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as vto the most recent comment about the rail crossings on pa.532 i did see them on google earth street view.i do not know for sure if they and the equipment i saw on the maps are still there.when i mean equipment i mean the junction boxes and other items that are seen at some crossing.thanks for the information freebrick productions.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/15/2014

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Correction on my last comment: There are actually two signals on Rhawn Street. One was used for cars and the other was for pedestrian signals. The pedestrian signal still has a gate.

freebrickproductions
Huntsville, AL
1/15/2014

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I have a couple of questions about the crossings you and I have both seen.did you go to google earth like I did and is there verifiable proof the crossings are still there?i do know that some maps are not updated like they should be.i found this out by looking at street view and overhead satellite images of abandoned rail in Quakertown.the difference was unexplainable.i will explain.on the overhead view I saw rail cars.when I went to street view the cars were gone.i know the cars are still there because the line is abandoned.i was just wondering the same thing might be possible with this rail line.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/16/2014

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Welsh Road still has (or at least had) a Septa sign left at it for quite a while.

freebrickproductions
Huntsville, AL
1/23/2014

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even though I grew up in Quakertown I do know where you are talking about.i will check everything that has to do with the rail line when I do get my drivers license back and get a vehicle.i look forward to it and will print out the results since it seems that no one lives close enough to look at the whole line.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/23/2014

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I have 3 pictures from the welsh road/terwood road area. I sent them in to be added. I been planning on hiking this line for a while. As of what I have seen, the Welsh road septa sign has been taken down however some other railroad signage still exist like what looks to be unique crossing signal at Terwood rd.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
1/23/2014

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thank you andrew.i would love to see the pictures when they get put on the site.as for hiking it,that is the only true way to know what is still remaining on the rail line.let me know whatever you do find when you do hike because when i do become mobile rail hiking is something i really enjoy.of course only on abandoned rails.as for the crossing signs,they probably removed the ones that have been inactive the longest.by the way,someone made a comment about the wye at jenkintown.i did look and saw that the towers that hold the wire are still up and if you go to google maps you will see possible rail abndoned on the map.of course this line is active so anyone would have to be very careful as to the rail.i just wanted to mention that.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/24/2014

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That study that was posted commenting on connecting to the R3 has some misguided information. The R3 was the West Trenton line (Reading) and continues through philly to the Media/elwyn line (PRR) most of the time. So in what they really meant to say was what I have been saying about connecting near Bethayres and heading to Jenkintown via the West Trenton line (formally known as the R3). In other news I have heard that NJ transit wants to open up from newark to where the West Trenton Line ends which would give another route from the NYC area to PA with the help of Septa and not having to travel through Philly first.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
1/24/2014

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thanks for the information which is always useful.if nj transit wants to do what they want to do with their side of rail track,they must have looked long and hard at it because right now nobody is giving up any money especially the states.of course do not count out grants.let me know what happens with any new developments,andrew.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/25/2014

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The line will never become a trail in BucksCo because the county wants it preserved as a railroad. MontCo wants it out and they are making good on that promise. All crossings have been paved over, all signage removed except for station signs at Newtown, Churchville and Bryn Athyn. There are still crossbucks and wigwag poles in place on Terwood Road. PennDOT requires that trackage is cleared at least 100 feet on both sides of derelict grade crossings, which is why tracks are visible for a short distance. PA-TEC worked their tails off in 2009-2012 to get all townships on board with restoration efforts; politicians publically in favor were silenced and threatened by SEPTA and DVRPC so the project died again.http://newtownline.pa-tec.org/documents/ http://newtownline.pa-tec.org/n1.html

Carroll Pratt
Bensalem, PA
1/26/2014

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thank you carol for the info.i can see the counties wanting to preserve the rail line as such but also you have people who would not mind seeing a trail.as for the crossings i figured they were probably pulled out being that it would make no sense having crossing gates on an abandoned line.like i said,thanks again carol for the info and i look forward to hearing from you any future info concerning this line.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
1/27/2014

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It should be reactivated as a railroad branch and if this were any other metro area on the east coast, it already would be if not at least of active official interest. I would vehemently oppose any effort to convert Northampton Township's portion into a trail, and I'm kind of annoyed that the push to do so is being done by people who live nowhere near it.

All-in-all, I honestly think rails-to-trails on viable passenger routes such as Newtown, Bethlehem, Ivy Ridge are a waste of taxpayer money and a future hindrance to their needed reactivation. Why don't you shift your efforts to truly redundant ex-freight lines like the the ex-Philadelphia and Thorndale branch? It's certainly closer to Reading.

Mike D
Northampton Twp.
1/31/2014

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i agree with what you are saying because it seems alot of people do not want a trail on the newtown line.i would not mind myself seeing it reactivated.in the meantime i hope it will be there for people like me to hike and see what is still there.as for the other rail lines you mentioned as far as i know i have not heard nothing about trails.if you do hear anything about these rail lines let me know.thanks.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
2/1/2014

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@ george oakley. You had mentioned that you haven't heard of any groups working towards conversion of this rail line into hiking/biking trail. The Penn-Tammany Greenway Coalition is an organization that is currently working towards making this a reality. You can view their activity here: http://www.penntammany.org/

Chris Weale
Warminster, PA
3/14/2014

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thanks chris.will look at the website.i meant that I only hear about rails to trails on this website,not the newspapers.keep in touch.thanks.

george oakley
reading, PA
3/18/2014

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It appears the ball is now rolling to lift the tracks from County Line to Bethayres. The county is making it a bicycle trail. This is criminal and defies SEPTA's purpose for existence, by law. I would urge anyone who cares about the future of this corridor to contact their state representative and ask for an investigation.

Jim Liceum
Upper Southampton, PA
3/18/2014

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@Jim - montgomery county has leased the line from SEPTA for the express purpose of converting it to a trail. There is nothing criminal about it.

Chris Weale
Warminster, PA
3/18/2014

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Mr. Weale, I know all about your trail group. SEPTA's conversion is quite illegal as it goes against the laws written that created SEPTA. The State Attorney General's office is aware of this situation, and an investigation may be pending. Adjacent property owners are also aware, and I wouldn't be surprised if a lawsuit brings this to a halt, or reveals that SEPTA doesn't even own the property (much of it in Montco is by quiet claim only).

Jim Liceum
Upper Southampton, PA
3/18/2014

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There is an article on a site called pa-tec.org about the land issue thing. Apparently these people got the maps of the railroad from somebody and it doesn't really make clear who owns the land. I wonder if this will be challenged in court???

Bob Allen
Abington, PA
3/19/2014

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@Bob - this issue was most likely raised due to a recent federal case in Wyoming where property rights along an abandoned line were awarded back to the original property owners? This ruling affected a very specific type of rail/trail conversion and would not apply to "rail banked" trails, where the rail owner retains the right to convert back to the rail line, which the fox chase-Newtown line would be.

There are parties out there who oppose a trail and would use fear and intimidation to halt any trail progress. Until I read of an official lawsuit, I'm taking this threat as just such a tactic

Chris Weale
Warminster
3/19/2014

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Nobody is making threats sir, but it's interesting that these maps popped up all of the sudden now that a trail movement has taken hold. From what I know about SEPTA's other trails, they haven't been part of the national RTT network and are not railbanked. SEPTA is just leasing the land.

So as I said in my last post, it will be interesting to see if SEPTA can produce deeds, or if a suit pops up. I know there are many unhappy about this for a variety of reasons.

Bob Allen
Abington, PA
3/19/2014

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@ Chris. Bob Allen has a very good point. This line is not officially "railbanked," just "out of service." The Federal ruling may have serious ramifications on any SEPTA, NJT or MBTA rail trails. The Reading Company Trustee deeds for the Newtown Line property were discovered missing in the 1970s whenever ownership changed from Conrail to SEPTA, the latter who holds the Newtown line property on a quitclaim deed — a legal instrument used to release one person's right, title or interest to another without providing a guarantee or warranty of title. SEPTA later informed the presss they will not indemnify any leasor in the event of a challenge to the Conrail/SEPTA quitclaim deed. In other words, if a landowner wants the land back, no trail and no tracks. SEPTA has been quiet about this for many years because of the huge legal and financial ramifications about this. There is little reason to suggest current landowners near the line in both counties will not become informed about the Federal ruling and the pending trail in MontCo. This is very serious.

Carroll Pratt
Bensalem, PA
3/19/2014

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i just read all of the articles recently submitted on this rail line which i always thought was totally abandoned.it is amazing the information everyone has on this rail line.only septa i guess holds the answers to all of the questions.please let me know of any important information on this rail line that comes up in the future.i did read the article in the paper about the federal case in wyoming.that could have implications almost everywhere.we shall see.keep in toush.

george oakley
reading, PA
3/21/2014

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Here is the link from NJ transit on the suggestion of opening up their part of the west trenton line to Newark, NJ. As I wrote here before. this would provide an alternate route to from Pilly to NYC via Jenkintown. If the newtown branch connected to the west trenton line, as well as NJ transit reinstating this line, It would provide many Pa and NJ residents with an easier way to get in and out of NYC.

http://www.njtransit.com/tm/tm_servlet.srv?hdnPageAction=Project016To

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
3/22/2014

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Montco plans to convert more of rail line for recreation:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/breaking/20140322_Montco_plans_to_convert_more_old_rail_line_to_recreational_trail.html

Chris Weale
Warminster, PA
3/24/2014

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@ Chris Weale. I advise you to tread lightly, sir. This line breeds controversy and posting the same article about this line being further converted to a trail no less than five times is borderline spam. This is the wrong audience to be promoting rail trails, especially on the Newtown Branch. Perhaps it speaks volumes about your ill-conceived group that formed to convert the Bucks County portion to a trail and since said county has already confirmed they want the line preserved as a railroad, your group shifted gears and went where the winds are in your favor: MontCo. Tread very lightly: your group has made many enemies, especially because it consists of outsiders like yourself from Warminster telling residents along the railroad "you need a trail."

James Day
Southampton, PA
3/24/2014

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This Montgomery resident supports the newtown branch staying a railroad also. Why change a line that can be useful? Focus on something like the reading viaduct in philly and turn it into a park like the highline in nyc.

Andrew Carbine
Glenside, PA
3/24/2014

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@ James - the multiple postings were not intentional and if I had the capability edit them, it would have been done already.

Since a few people have asked in this thread for an update about the state of this line, I wanted to add this article of importance. Sorry it does not conform to your view points.

"Tread lightly"? "Our group has made many enemies"? Should I expect a horse's head in my next?

Chris Weale
Warminster, PA
3/24/2014

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"I wanted to add this article of importance." You wanted to promote your agenda and website in a patronizing fashion.

"Should I expect a horse's head in my next?" Only if it is seen galloping along the trail. Otherwise, a disfigured bicycle is more apropo.

James Day
Southampton, PA
3/24/2014

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@ James - as I said, the reposts were an error. I didn't realize that when I hit refresh, it reposted.

I merely stated a fact that is both recent and relevant, so I'm sorry if you took it as patronizing. it was not intended that way.

Chris Weale
Warminster, PA
3/24/2014

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Gentlemen: let's keep this on the up and up. I think the issue at hand is to determine if SEPTA even owns any of this line. The quitclaim deed fact may hurt them and the trail, particularly if residents along the ROW challange them in a court of law. Here is a link to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling: http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-1173_nlio.pdf

Carroll Pratt
Bensalem, PA
3/24/2014

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carol,thanks for that last comment on the newtown branch.as for the quitclaim deed that is a good argument that can be disputed.also there is alot of opposition about whether to turn the rail line into a trail.sounds like this is going to be a long battle either for reactivavation or a trail.only time will tell.either way something will be done.in the meantime we can only wait and see.as for the viaduct,has anyone heard about converting that over to a trail yet?keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
3/24/2014

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Hello, please forgive the duplicate postings, it is a known problem with my website and I'm sure they were unintentional. I've gone through and deleted them.

Thanks for being mindful of other guests on my site and keeping your debate courteous.

--Greg

Owner, Abandoned Rails.com

Greg Harrison
Haslet, TX
3/25/2014

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thanks greg.things like this happen.i did talk to people involved in the rail business and they did tell me that even though a rail line may be listed as abandoned does not mean it is truly abandoned.as for this rail line i would not be surprised it stays the way it is for the time being.just thought i would throw this piece of information out there.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
3/25/2014

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There is an abandoned train somewhere on the line. The engine is completely bbunt out, but the passanger car and flatbed car are intact.

Jack Day
Philadelphia, PA
4/19/2014

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There is an abandoned train somewhere on the line. The engine is completely bbunt out, but the passanger car and flatbed car are intact.

Jack Day
Philadelphia, PA
4/19/2014

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thanks jack for the info.i looked on the map on the site and did not see any engine or cars on the line.see if you could possibly find out where it is.i would love to take a look at it.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
4/22/2014

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There is no abandoned rolling stock on the line, I assure you. I have a feeling you're referring to an engine and cars on the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad.

Also of note; a couple of the pushpins on the map are wrong; the line at no point crosses under, over or otherwise the Northeast Corridor. The pushpin shows the line passing under the Trenton Cutoff.

Also, the line connects to the Fox Chase line not the Fox River line

Mike D
Northampton Twp., PA
4/22/2014

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thanks mike.i did not know there was abandoned rolling stock on the new hope and ivyland line.is it accessible so it can be looked at?let me know.as for google maps i would never rely on them so i do agree that some locations are wrong.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
4/24/2014

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They have started taking up the rails at Welsh road and Terwood road. Shame, it's history will be gone

Ken Nesbitt
Philadelphia, PA
6/13/2014

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thanks ken for the information.it is a shame but this is what I have been telling people for a long time.the track and railbeds along with the equipment will be ripped up if the right deal is arranged to where septa does not lose money.let me know if you can if anything else gets removed.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
6/17/2014

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ken,i forgot to ask you how much rail was taken up.please let me know if you can how much was taken up.keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
6/19/2014

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They seem to have taken up all the rail from Foc Chase, across Welsh road, the trestle over the pennypack creek on Terwood rd and well into the park that is near there as far back as I can see. They've just graded it with a bulldozer and compactor. There is a photo online somewhere of the old Hunting Valley station with the rails overgrown with grass, This is the area I am talking about, now there is a smooth dirt road in front of the station and the rails are gone. Sad

Kenny
Philadelphia, PA
6/25/2014

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Typo, it is Huntington Valley, not Hunting Valley. Here's a link with the photo I'm talking about. Not sure if anything is going to happen to the station

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huntingdon_Valley_(SEPTA_station)

Kenny
philadelphia, PA
6/25/2014

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thanks for the information ken.i thought for a second there that they were starting to remove the whole line.even though they removed a portion it still stinks.would not you agree?keep in touch.

george oakley
reading, PA
6/26/2014

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There is a lot of misinformation being circulated around. The line is inactive and there is no longer any listing in SEPTA's long-range plans to restore service. SEPTA owns the line, it having been conveyed from the Reading Company on April 1, 1976 when Conrail was formed. It should also be pointed out that SEPTA has a contract with a fiber-optic cable company, who has a cable line buried underneath the right-of-way. The tracks are being removed from the crossing of SEPTA's West Trenton Line to Byberry Road (not County Line) as a part of the Pennypack Trail. I would urge people to check their facts before they post misinformation.

Larry Eastwood
Huntingdon Valley, PA
7/13/2014

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My original comments of 08/16/13 are no longer true. Drove Shady Lane this past Tuesday (10/08/14) and saw where the portion of collapsed right-of-way is now spanned by a new pedestrian bridge and is becoming part of the Pennypack Trail as described in the news article linked below.

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/06/06/work-begins-on-3-2-mile-extension-of-pennypack-trail-in-montco/

Chris
Fox Chase, PA
10/9/2014

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