Airport Line (SEPTA)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Airport Line
Train 829 at Airport Terminal A station.jpg
An Airport Line train bound for Center City Philadelphia stops at the Airport Terminal A station
TerminiPhiladelphia International Airport Terminals
Temple University
TypeCommuter rail
SystemSEPTA Regional Rail
Operator(s)SEPTA Regional Rail
Rolling stockElectric Multiple Units
Daily ridership5,542 (FY 2018)[1]
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map

9.4 mi
15.1 km
Terminals E & F
9.3 mi
15 km
Terminals C & D
9.1 mi
14.6 km
Terminal B
9.1 mi
14.6 km
Terminal A
7.2 mi
11.6 km
1.8 mi
2.9 km
Penn Medicine
0.9 mi
1.4 km
30th Street
SEPTA_subway–surface_trolley_lines MFL Atlantic City Line Amtrak
0 mi
0 km
0.5 mi
0.8 km
2.1 mi
3.4 km
Temple University
Main Line
to Glenside or Warminster

The Airport Line (formerly the R1 Airport) is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail commuter rail system in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which officially runs between Philadelphia International Airport through Center City to Temple University station. In practice, however, only a few trains originate or terminate at Temple; most are through routed with lines to the north, primarily the Warminster Line, with some through-routed trains originating and terminating at Glenside.

The line between Center City and the airport runs seven days a week from 5:00 AM to midnight with trains every 30 minutes. The trip length from Suburban Station to the airport is 19 to 24 minutes. The line is fully grade-separated.


Geographic map of the route

While geographically on the former Pennsylvania Railroad side of the Regional Rail System, the route consists of new construction, a reconstructed industrial branch of the former Pennsylvania Railroad, and a shared Conrail (formerly Reading Company) freight branch. The Airport Line opened on April 28, 1985, as SEPTA R1, providing service from Center City to the Philadelphia International Airport. By its twentieth anniversary in 2005, the line had carried over 20 million passengers to and from the airport. The line splits from Amtrak's Northeast Corridor north of Darby and passes over it via a flying junction. West of the airport, the line breaks from the old right-of-way and a new bridge carries it over I-95 and into the airport terminals between the baggage claim (arrivals) and the check-in counters (departures).

The line stops at four stations which are directly connected to each airport terminal by escalators and elevators which rise one level to the walkways between the arrival and departure areas. All airport stations feature high-level platforms to make it easier to board and alight from the train with luggage. Some stations can be accessed directly from the arrivals concourse by crossing Commercial Vehicles Road. The line ends between Terminals E and F at their combined station.

As of 2018, most weekday Airport Line trains are through routed with the Warminster Line and alternate between terminating in Glenside and Warminster. Most weekend trains either continue on to Warminster or terminate at Temple University.[2]


An Airport Line train in 2007, after departing 30th Street Station

The Airport Line makes the following station stops, after leaving the Center City Commuter Connection.

Zone[3] Location Station Miles (km)
from Center City
Connections / notes
C University City, Philadelphia Penn Medicine Handicapped/disabled access 1.8 (2.9) SEPTA Regional Rail: Manayunk/Norristown, Media/Elwyn, Warminster, West Trenton, and Wilmington/Newark lines
SEPTA City Bus: 40, LUCY
1 Eastwick, Philadelphia Eastwick Handicapped/disabled access 7.2 (11.6) SEPTA City Bus: 37, 68
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 108, 115
4 Philadelphia International Airport Terminal A Handicapped/disabled access 9.1 (14.6) SEPTA City Bus: 37
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 108, 115
Terminal B Handicapped/disabled access SEPTA City Bus: 37
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 108, 115
Terminals C & D Handicapped/disabled access 9.3 (15.0) SEPTA City Bus: 37
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 108, 115
Terminals E & F Handicapped/disabled access 9.4 (15.1) SEPTA City Bus: 37
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 108, 115


R1, the former designation of SEPTA's Airport Line

The line south of the Northeast Corridor was originally part of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad main line, opened on January 17, 1838. The connection between the NEC and the original PW&B is made however by the later 60th Street Branch. A new alignment of the PW&B (now the NEC) opened November 18, 1872, and on July 1, 1873, the Philadelphia and Reading Railway, later the Reading Company, leased the old line for 999 years. Connection was made over the PRR's Junction Railroad and later the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad. However, as a condition of the sale, no passenger service was provided. The line passed into Conrail in 1976 and SEPTA in 1983, with passenger service to the Philadelphia International Airport beginning on April 28, 1985.[4]

Infill stations were planned from the beginning of service, two of which were on the Airport Line proper: one at 70th Street, the other one at 84th Street. The latter station was opened in 1997 as Eastwick, while 70th Street was never built, and has since disappeared from maps. Additionally, University City station (proposed as "Civic Center", now Penn Medicine station) opened in April 1995 to serve all R1, R2 and R3 trains passing it. All these stations appeared on 1984 SEPTA informational maps, the first ones to show the Center City Commuter Connection and the Airport Line.

SEPTA activated positive train control on the Airport Line on October 10, 2016.[5]


Between FY 2008-FY 2018 annual ridership on the Airport Line peaked at 2,457,743 during FY 2015, but fell to 1,902,127 by FY 2018.[note 1]

FY 2008
FY 2009
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014
FY 2015
FY 2016
FY 2017
FY 2018


  1. ^ Annual ridership statistics compiled from SEPTA's Annual Service Plans.[1][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]


  1. ^ a b "Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2019. p. 42. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  2. ^ "Airport Line schedule" (PDF). SEPTA. December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  3. ^ "Airport Line Timetable" (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. September 10, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "SEPTA – Airport Line – Celebrating 25 Years".
  5. ^ "Positive Train Control Update". SEPTA. May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  6. ^ "Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2018. p. 74. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  7. ^ "Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2017. p. 44. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  8. ^ "Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. October 2016. p. 70. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  9. ^ "Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2015. p. 94. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  10. ^ "Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2014. p. 60. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  11. ^ "Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2013. p. 44. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  12. ^ "Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2012. p. 55. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  13. ^ "Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. July 2011. p. 94. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  14. ^ "Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2010. p. 70. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  15. ^ "Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2009. p. 63. Retrieved December 14, 2019.

External links[edit]