Chestnut Hill West Line

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Chestnut Hill West Line
An old Penn Central Silverliner at Chestnut Hill West station in May 1974.
Type Commuter rail line
System SEPTA Regional Rail
Status Operating
Termini Chestnut Hill West
Temple University
Daily ridership 5,420[1]
Operator(s) SEPTA
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification Catenary
Route map

The Chestnut Hill West Line (formerly called R8 Chestnut Hill West) is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail (commuter rail) system. The route serves the northwestern section of Philadelphia with service to Germantown, Mount Airy, and Chestnut Hill. It is one of two commuter lines that serve these Northwest Philadelphia neighborhoods, the other being the Chestnut Hill East Line.

Route description[edit]

The Chestnut Hill West Line branches off from Amtrak's Northeast Corridor at North Philadelphia station and runs entirely within the City of Philadelphia. Its terminal is named Chestnut Hill West to distinguish it from the end of the Chestnut Hill East Line (a competing line of the Reading Company until 1976). Some stations are less than half a mile apart, a characteristic more commonly seen in an urban rapid transit system rather than a commuter rail line. The line runs roughly parallel to the Chestnut Hill East, and the two terminals are rather close.


The line was originally opened June 11, 1884 by the Philadelphia, Germantown and Chestnut Hill Railroad, and was operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1968. The Penn Central operated it until 1976, turning operations over to Conrail until 1983, when SEPTA took over. The Chestnut Hill West Line was originally to be numbered the R3 due to the proposed Swampoodle Connection bringing it into the Reading Company side of the Center City Commuter Connection.

Electrified service began on March 30, 1918.

In June 1987, inspectors found the 103-year-old Cresheim Valley bridge (Bridge 5.44, its distance in miles from North Philadelphia Station) to be unsafe and condemned it. Service was terminated at Allen Lane with shuttle buses serving St. Martin's, Highland and Chestnut Hill West. Funding for a replacement bridge was not obtained until March 1988, and the replacement bridge opened December 1989. SEPTA also took advantage of this closure to initiate rail and catenary replacement on the line.

Name change[edit]

R8 CHW.gif

On July 25, 2010 SEPTA renamed the service from the R8 Chestnut Hill West to simply the Chestnut Hill West Line as part of system-wide nomenclatural change that eliminated the R-number naming system.[2]

The Chestnut Hill West makes the following station stops, after leaving 30th Street Station:

Zone Milepost Station Boardings[3] City Notes
C 1.9 Zoological Garden 0 Philadelphia Station operated from 1886 to circa 1911
2.8 Engleside 0 Abandoned April 5, 1903, due to competition from trolley companies
3.2 Ridge Avenue 0 Abandoned April 5, 1903, due to competition from trolley companies
3.9 22nd Street 0 Abandoned; not to be confused with the Allegheny station on the Manayunk/Norristown Line which was formerly called 22nd Street.
4.7 North Philadelphia 184 flag stop; also Trenton Line, Amtrak; formerly Germantown Junction
5.5 Westmoreland 0 station closed 1983[4]
6.5 Midvale freight siding
6.8 Queen Lane 521
7.4 Chelten Avenue 324 high-level platforms
2 7.9 Tulpehocken 171
8.4 Upsal 440
9.0 Carpenter 401
9.4 Allen Lane 289 high-level platforms
10.2 St. Martins 241 known as Wissahickon Heights Station from 1883 to 1906
10.7 Highland 51
11.3 Chestnut Hill West 433 high-level platforms

Boardings are for fiscal year 2011. Data for North Philadelphia includes Trenton Line boardings.

From SEPTA Annual Service Plans:

Fiscal year Average weekday Annual passengers
FY 2014 5,420 1,531,564[5]
FY 2013 5,505 1,555,748[6]
FY 2012 5,694 1,609,198[7]
FY 2011 5,252 1,482,120[8]
FY 2010 5,626 1,597,237[9]
FY 2009 5,060 1,[10]
FY 2008 5,596 1,588,700[11]
FY 2005 5,216 1,470,921
FY 2004 4,965 1,393,701
FY 2003 5,437 1,459,000
FY 2001 n/a 1,556,000
FY 2000 n/a 1,631,000
FY 1999 n/a 1,474,000
FY 1997 n/a 1,576,059
FY 1996 n/a 1,568,560
FY 1995 4,968 1,513,926
FY 1994 5,623 1,592,462
FY 1993 3,990 1,564,842
Note: n/a = not available

External links[edit]