||This section possibly contains original research. (September 2010)|
The Lansdale-Doylestown line utilizes what is known as the SEPTA Main Line, a four-track line that has been owned by SEPTA since 1983 (prior to that, by Conrail between 1976 and 1983 and by the Reading Railroad before 1976), and the former Reading Railroad (RDG) Doylestown Branch. Historically, the main part of the line, from Philadelphia north to Lansdale, was part of the Reading Railroad's route from Philadelphia to Bethlehem, and then to Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
Originally arriving and departing at the former Reading Terminal, now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the line has, since 1985, been directly connected to the ex-PRR/Penn Central side by the Center City Commuter Rail Tunnel. Unlike the ex-PRR/Penn Central Paoli/Thorndale Line it is often paired with for through-service, the ex-RDG line was not as heavily built, as the RDG segregated its through-freight and passenger movements. While the four-track section between the tunnel and Wayne Junction and the two-track section from Wayne Junction to Jenkintown are grade-separated, the two-track section from Jenkintown to Lansdale and the single track from Lansdale to Doylestown has both at-grade railroad crossings and over- and underpasses.
Electrified service between Philadelphia and Hatboro, Lansdale, Doylestown and West Trenton was opened on July 26, 1931. The RDG planned to also electrify tracks between West Trenton and the CNJ Terminal in Jersey City for long-distance service, but had to drop plans for electrification outside of the commuter service area due to economic setbacks as a result of the Great Depression.
As a result, the RDG (along with the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad (B&O), which operated its Royal Blue Washington-New York service on its tracks) could not compete with the PRR with Philadelphia-New York service, as both RDG and B&O rail service terminated at Jersey City, New Jersey (although ferry service to New York's Financial District was available); later to be cut back to Newark Penn Station due to the Aldene Connection in 1967. Service to Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley languished due to the post-World War II surge of the automobile as well as the opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension in 1957. Service north of Lansdale in the non-electrified territory was terminated by SEPTA on July 29, 1981. Trackage north of Quakertown was dismantled after the railbed was leased for use as the interim Saucon Rail Trail.
Although the RDG and PRR electric overhead catenary wires are similar, they are electrically isolated from each other. The power for the ex-PRR electrical traction system (now Amtrak) is generated at the Safe Harbor Dam near York, Pennsylvania, or converted from the grid through transformers built and operated by PECO. The ex-Reading's electrification system, however, relies on a transformer at Wayne Junction, and separate high-voltage pylons for longer-distance trains, similar to those found on European high-speed rail systems and on the Northeast Corridor between New Haven, Connecticut and Boston.
RDG cars used for suburban service were similar to the PRR MP54 cars, although slightly more modern. They were distinguished by square windows at cab ends and a dark grey-green livery. Some cars were rebuilt during the 1970s and received a new blue paint scheme; these were called "Blue Fleet" cars or "Blueliners". Today, the line uses the same Silverliner EMU (electric multiple-unit) cars as like that of the rest of the system.
On August 29, 2011, SEPTA adjusted the midday service pattern to encourage ridership at Colmar station, which had available parking capacity immediately adjacent to Pennsylvania Route 309. Previously, every other train turned back at Lansdale; those trains now call at Colmar before terminating at Link Belt, providing half-hourly service at Colmar between the morning and afternoon rush hours.
On December 18, 2011, SEPTA eliminated weekend service at Link Belt and New Britain due to low ridership.
On July 25, 2010 SEPTA renamed the service from the R5 Lansdale/Doylestown to simply the Lansdale/Doylestown Line as part of system-wide service change that drops the R-number naming and makes the Center City stations the terminus for all lines.[not in citation given]
All stations have low level platforms unless otherwise noted
|C||2.1||Temple University||3122||Philadelphia||Philadelphia||boardings include all lines; high level platforms|
|1||2.9||North Broad||176||boardings include Warminster Line and Manayunk/Norristown Line; low level platforms with mini-high-level platforms|
|5.1||Wayne Junction||628||boardings include Warminster Line, West Trenton Line, Chestnut Hill East Line, and Fox Chase Line; high-level platforms on outbound main line|
|7.3||Fern Rock Transportation Center||758||boardings include Warminster Line and West Trenton Line; high-level platforms|
|2||8.4||Melrose Park||443||Cheltenham||Montgomery||boardings include Warminster Line and West Trenton Line; high-level platforms|
|9.2||Elkins Park||565||boardings include Warminster Line and West Trenton Line; upgrade to high-level platforms planned|
|3||10.8||Jenkintown-Wyncote||1776||Cheltenham/Jenkintown||boardings include Warminster Line and West Trenton Line; upgrade to high-level platforms planned Aerial photo|
|11.9||Glenside||1074||Cheltenham||boardings include Warminster Line;|
|15.9||Fort Washington||897||Whitemarsh||high-level platforms|
|4||22.4||North Wales||833||North Wales||high-level platforms|
|24.4||Lansdale||1391||Approximately half of Lansdale/Doylestown trains terminate here|
|25.9||Fortuna||75||Hatfield||upgrade to a high-level platform planned|
|27.5||Link Belt||47||high-level platform|
|31.5||New Britain||54||New Britain||high-level platform|
|32.8||Delaware Valley College||62||Doylestown Township||high-level platform|
|Fiscal year||Average weekday||Annual passengers|
|Note: n/a = not available|
- Williams, Gerry (1998). Trains, Trolleys and Transit: A Guide to Philadelphia Area Rail Transit. Piscataway, New Jersey: Railpace Company, Inc. pp. 80–83. ISBN 0-9621541-7-2.
- "SEPTA adds more Colmar stops". September 1, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
- "List of new SEPTA schedules".
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