Swampoodle Connection

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The Swampoodle Connection was a proposed connection of the present-day Chestnut Hill West Line with the Manayunk/Norristown Line in the Swampoodle neighborhood in Philadelphia. This connection, proposed by SEPTA in 1983 after taking over commuter rail operations from Conrail (which absorbed, in 1976, the commuter rail operations of the bankrupt Penn Central and Reading Railroads), would have allowed SEPTA trains from the Chestnut Hill West line, a former Penn Central route, to enter the Center City Commuter Connection on the ex-Reading side of the Regional Rail System without having to use Amtrak's Northeast Corridor between 30th Street Station and North Philadelphia Station, which routinely delayed Chestnut Hill West and Trenton Line trains due to the need to facilitate the movement of Amtrak services to New York City.

The location of the connection, where the Manayunk/Norristown Line and Chestnut Hill West Line parallel each other for a short five-block area, would have allowed SEPTA to through-route the rerouted Chestnut Hill West trains to West Chester on the present-day Media/Elwyn Line, while at the same time, through-routing the Fox Chase/Newtown Line onto a new R4 Bryn Mawr local service and allowing SEPTA to run existing Paoli service in express between 30th Street Station and Bryn Mawr and local between Bryn Mawr and Paoli. The Airport Line, which was under construction at the time of the proposal, would have run north on the present-day West Trenton Line (which at the time was the R1-West Trenton), while the remaining SEPTA service would have remained unaffected.

Like most SEPTA service upgrade plans, the Swampoodle Connection was dropped due to both a lack of funds (most of it were redirected to its RailWorks Project on the Reading Viaduct in the mid-1990s), the crippling railroad workers strike in 1983, and from neighborhood opposition.

SEPTA currently has no plans of resurrecting the project, although a continued ridership increase on the Chestnut Hill West Line may have an impact on the future in the need to build the Swampoodle Connection with the Manayunk/Norristown line if such a project is warranted in the future.

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