Lansdale/Doylestown Line

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Lansdale/Doylestown Line
SEPTA 290 at Jenkintown, November 2013.jpg
Jenkintown-Wyncote station, a major stop on the Lansdale/Doylestown line
Type Commuter rail
System SEPTA Regional Rail
Status Operating
Termini 30th Street Station
Stations 28
Daily ridership 16,267[1]:94
Operator(s) SEPTA Regional Rail
Rolling stock Electric Multiple Units
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification Catenary
Route map

The Lansdale/Doylestown Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line connecting Center City Philadelphia to Doylestown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Until 1981, diesel-powered trains continued on the Bethlehem Branch from Lansdale to Quakertown, Bethlehem, and Allentown. Restored service has been proposed, but is not planned by SEPTA. The line is currently used by the East Penn Railroad, serving Quakertown's industrial complexes.


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.

A Reading Company Silverliner II at Doylestown in 1970

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.[2]

Electrified service between Philadelphia and Hatboro, Lansdale, Doylestown and West Trenton was opened on July 26, 1931. Equipment consisted of dark green painted electric multiple unit cars built at the Reading's own shops. Some of the cars were rebuilt during the 1960s receiving air conditioning, refreshed interior and a new blue paint scheme resulting in their being referred to as "Blueliners". Today, the line uses the Silverliner family of EMU cars which operate throughout SEPTA's Regional Rail system.[2]

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.[2] Trackage north of Quakertown was dismantled after the railbed was leased for use as the interim Saucon Rail Trail.

R5 Lansdale.gif
R5 Doylestown.gif

Between 1984–2010 the route was designated R5 Doylestown and R5 Lansdale as part of SEPTA's diametrical reorganization of its lines. Lansdale and Doylestown trains operated through the city center to the Paoli Line on the ex-Pennsylvania side of the system.[3] The R-number naming system was dropped on July 25, 2010.[4]

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.[5]

On December 18, 2011, SEPTA eliminated weekend service at Link Belt and New Britain due to low ridership.

A large parking garage is to be built at Lansdale station. 9th Street station opened nearby on November 15, 2015 as an alternate parking location during construction; it will remain open afterwards to as part of planned transit-oriented development.[6]


The Reading Company constructed the current building at Jenkintown–Wyncote in 1932
Penllyn opened in 1930
9th Street station opened in 2015
Colmar in 2006

The Lansdale/Doylestown Line makes the following station stops after leaving the Center City Commuter Connection; stations indicated with italics are closed. Weekday boardings are from FY 2013; data for stations between Temple University and Glenside include all lines serving those stations.[1]:95–96

Zone Milepost Station Boardings City/Township County Connections
C 2.1 Temple University 3,028 Philadelphia Philadelphia All SEPTA Regional Rail lines
1 2.9 North Broad 103
5.1 Wayne Junction 527
7.3 Fern Rock Transportation Center 825
2 8.4 Melrose Park 458 Cheltenham Montgomery
9.2 Elkins Park 632
3 10.8 Jenkintown-Wyncote 1,998 Cheltenham/Jenkintown
11.9 Glenside 1,064 Cheltenham
13.0 North Hills 202 Abington
13.9 Oreland 276 Springfield
-- Fellwick Whitemarsh
15.9 Fort Washington 1,108
17.3 Ambler 1,017 Ambler
18.8 Penllyn 216 Lower Gwynedd
20.0 Gwynedd Valley 210
4 22.4 North Wales 790 North Wales
23.5 Pennbrook 467 Lansdale
24.4 Lansdale 1,396
25.0 9th Street [note 1]
25.9 Fortuna 60 Hatfield
26.8 Colmar 370
27.5 Link Belt 46
29.7 Chalfont 136 Chalfont Bucks
31.5 New Britain 51 New Britain
32.8 Delaware Valley College 68 Doylestown Township
34.4 Doylestown 383 Doylestown


Between FY 2008–FY 2014 yearly ridership on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line has held steady at 4.6 million, save for a brief dip to 4.3 million in FY 2010–2011.[1]:94[7][8][9][10][11][12]

FY 2008
FY 2009
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014


  1. ^ Station opened on November 15, 2015[6]


  1. ^ a b c "Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c Williams, Gerry (1998). Trains, Trolleys & Transit: A Guide to Philadelphia Area Rail Transit. Piscataway, NJ: Railpace Company. pp. 80–83. ISBN 978-0-9621541-7-1. OCLC 43543368. 
  3. ^ Vuchic, Vukan; Kikuchi, Shinya (1984). General Operations Plan for the SEPTA Regional High Speed System. Philadelphia: SEPTA. pp. 2–8. 
  4. ^ Lustig, David (November 2010). "SEPTA makeover". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing: 26. 
  5. ^ "SEPTA adds more Colmar stops". September 1, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "9th Street Station". Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  7. ^ "Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2014. p. 60. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2013. p. 44. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2012. p. 55. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. July 2011. p. 94. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2010. p. 70. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 
  12. ^ "FY 2010 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2009. p. 63. Retrieved August 13, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°14′35″N 75°17′07″W / 40.24305°N 75.28537°W / 40.24305; -75.28537