Lansdale/Doylestown Line

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Lansdale/Doylestown Line
Jenkintown-Wyncote SEPTA station inbound Doylestown train November 2017.jpg
Jenkintown-Wyncote station, a major stop on the Lansdale/Doylestown line
Montgomery County
Bucks County
Termini30th Street Station
TypeCommuter rail
SystemSEPTA Regional Rail
Route numberR5 Doylestown and R5 Lansdale (1984–2010)
Depot(s)SEPTA Yards and maintenance facilities
Rolling stockElectric multiple units
Daily ridership16,016[1]
ElectrificationJuly 26, 1931 (1931-07-26)
CharacterGrade-separated and At-grade street running
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
ElectrificationSEPTA's 25 Hz traction power system
Amtrak's 25 Hz traction power system
Route map

34.4 mi
55.4 km
32.8 mi
52.8 km
Delaware Valley University
31.5 mi
50.7 km
New Britain
29.7 mi
47.8 km
27.5 mi
44.3 km
Link Belt
26.8 mi
43.1 km
25.9 mi
41.7 km
25.0 mi
40.2 km
9th Street
24.4 mi
39.3 km
23.5 mi
37.8 km
22.4 mi
36 km
North Wales
20.0 mi
32.2 km
Gwynedd Valley
18.8 mi
30.3 km
17.3 mi
27.8 km
15.9 mi
25.6 km
Fort Washington
13.9 mi
22.4 km
13.0 mi
20.9 km
North Hills
11.9 mi
19.2 km
10.8 mi
17.4 km
9.2 mi
14.8 km
Elkins Park
8.4 mi
13.5 km
Melrose Park
7.3 mi
11.7 km
Fern Rock
5.1 mi
8.2 km
Wayne Junction
2.9 mi
4.7 km
North Broad
2.1 mi
3.4 km
Temple University
0.5 mi
0.8 km
0 mi
0 km
0.9 mi
1.4 km
30th Street
SEPTA subway-surface trolley lines MFL Atlantic City Line Amtrak

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 and distribution centers.


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] As of 2021, most Lansdale/Doylestown Line trains continue through Center City to Wilmington or Newark on the Wilmington/Newark Line on weekdays and to Malvern or Thorndale on the Paoli/Thorndale Line on weekends.[5]

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.[6]

On December 18, 2011, SEPTA eliminated weekend service at Link Belt and New Britain due to low ridership. In the fall of 2012, New Britain was added back to the weekend schedule as a flag stop.

A large parking garage opened at Lansdale station on April 17, 2017, offering space for over 600 vehicles.[7][8] 9th Street station opened nearby in 2015 as an alternate parking location during construction, and remains open as part of planned transit-oriented development.[9]

SEPTA activated positive train control on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line from Doylestown to Glenside on June 13, 2016. Positive train control was activated from Glenside to Fern Rock on December 12, 2016 and from Fern Rock to 30th Street on January 9, 2017.[10]

On April 9, 2020, service on the line was truncated to Lansdale due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Service to Doylestown resumed on June 22, 2020.[11][12]


The Reading Company constructed the current building at Jenkintown–Wyncote station in 1932
Penllyn station opened in 1930
Lansdale station, a major station along the line
Colmar station in 2006
Doylestown station, which serves as the terminus of the Lansdale/Doylestown Line

The Lansdale/Doylestown Line makes the following station stops after leaving the Center City Commuter Connection; stations indicated with a gray background are closed.

Zone[13] Station Miles (km)
Center City
Date opened Connections / notes
C Temple University Disabled access 2.1 miles (3.4 km) 1911 SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail: All Lines
1 North Broad Disabled access 2.9 miles (4.7 km) 1929 SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail:      Manayunk/​Norristown Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA Rapid Transit: BSL Broad Street Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA City Bus: Bus transport 4, 16, 54
The station was originally known as North Broad Street until 1992.
Wayne Junction Disabled access 5.1 miles (8.2 km) 1881 SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail:      Airport Line,      Chestnut Hill East Line,      Fox Chase Line,      Warminster Line,      West Trenton Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA City Bus: Bus transport 2, 23, 53
SEPTA.svg SEPTA Trackless Trolley: Trolleybus 75
Logan One of four stations discontinued by SEPTA on October 4, 1992.[14]
Fern Rock Transportation Center Disabled access 7.3 miles (11.7 km) September 9, 1956 SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail:      Airport Line,      Warminster Line,      West Trenton Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA Rapid Transit: BSL Broad Street Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA City Bus: Bus transport 4, 28, 57, 70
Philadelphia city line
2 Melrose Park Disabled access 8.4 miles (13.5 km)   SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail:      Airport Line,      Warminster Line,      West Trenton Line
Elkins Park 9.2 miles (14.8 km) May 14, 1899[15] SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail:      Airport Line,      Warminster Line,      West Trenton Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA City Bus: Bus transport 28
The station was originally known as Elkins, but has also been known as Ashbourne.
3 Jenkintown–Wyncote 10.8 miles (17.4 km) 1859 SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail:      Airport Line,      Warminster Line,      West Trenton Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA City Bus: Bus transport 77
The station was originally known as Jenkintown.
Glenside 11.9 miles (19.2 km)   SEPTA.svg SEPTA Regional Rail:      Airport Line,      Warminster Line
SEPTA.svg SEPTA City Bus: Bus transport 22, 77
North Hills 13.0 miles (20.9 km)  
Oreland 13.9 miles (22.4 km) 1890
Fellwick 14.8 miles (23.8 km) 1855[16] Known as Sandy Run from 1855–March 1884,[17] Camp Hill from March 1884–February 16, 1931,[18] and Sellwick.[18]
Closed on November 10, 1996 due to low ridership.[19]
Fort Washington Disabled access 15.9 miles (25.6 km) 1903 SEPTA.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus: Bus transport 94, 95, 201
Ambler Disabled access 17.3 miles (27.8 km) 1855[16] SEPTA.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus: Bus transport 94, 95
The station was known as Wissahickon until 1869, when it was renamed after Mary Johnson Ambler, a local hero who helped in the Great Train Wreck of 1856.[16]
Penllyn 18.8 miles (30.3 km) 1930 SEPTA.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus: Bus transport 94
Gwynedd Valley 20.0 miles (32.2 km) 1888
4 North Wales Disabled access 22.4 miles (36.0 km) 1873[20] SEPTA.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus: Bus transport 96
Pennbrook Disabled access 23.5 miles (37.8 km)   SEPTA.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus: Bus transport 94
Lansdale Disabled access 24.4 miles (39.3 km) February 7, 1903[21] SEPTA.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus: Bus transport 96, 132
9th Street Disabled access 25.0 miles (40.2 km) November 15, 2015[22][23]
Fortuna Disabled access 25.9 miles (41.7 km)   SEPTA.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus: Bus transport 132
Colmar Disabled access 26.8 miles (43.1 km) 1856 The station was originally called Line Lexington after the village of the same name until it was renamed in 1871.
Link Belt Disabled access 27.5 miles (44.3 km) December 2, 1952[24]
Chalfont Disabled access 29.7 miles (47.8 km)   BCT: Bus transport DART West
New Britain Disabled access 31.5 miles (50.7 km)   BCT: Bus transport DART West
Delaware Valley University Disabled access 32.8 miles (52.8 km)   BCT: Bus transport Doylestown DART, DART West
The station was originally named Farm School by the Reading Company until the 1960s, reflecting the college's original name of National Farm School. The station was then called Delaware Valley College until the until the university changed its name in 2015.
Doylestown Disabled access 34.4 miles (55.4 km) 1871 SEPTA.svg SEPTA City Bus: Bus transport 55
BCT: Bus transport Doylestown DART
Bus interchange Trans-Bridge Lines (to New Hope and New York City)


Between FY 2008–FY 2018 yearly ridership on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line has held steady at 4.6 million, save for dips to 4.3 million in FY 2010–2011 and FY 2017 and a spike to 5 million in FY 2016.[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][25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34]


  1. ^ a b "Fiscal Year 2020 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2019. p. 42. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Williams, Gerry (1998). Trains, Trolleys & Transit: A Guide to Philadelphia Area Rail Transit. Piscataway, New Jersey: Railpace Company. pp. 80–83. ISBN 978-0-9621541-7-1.
  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. ^ "Lansdale/Doylestown Line schedule" (PDF). SEPTA. December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  6. ^ "SEPTA adds more Colmar stops". September 1, 2011. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved December 11, 2011.
  7. ^ "Lansdale Parking Garage". SEPTA. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  8. ^ Stamm, Dan (April 17, 2017). "SEPTA Adds Hundreds of Parking Spots to Montgomery County Regional Rail Station". Philadelphia, PA: WCAU-TV. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  9. ^ "9th Street Station". SEPTA. Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  10. ^ "Positive Train Control Update". SEPTA. May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  11. ^ "Service Information". SEPTA. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  12. ^ "SEPTA Regional Rail & Rail Transit Lifeline Service" (PDF). SEPTA. 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  13. ^ "Lansdale/Doylestown Line Timetable" (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. September 10, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  14. ^ "New Rail Schedules Set". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. October 2, 1992. p. 36. Retrieved October 19, 2017 – via open access
  15. ^ "Elkins Station Opened at Ogontz Park". The Philadelphia Times. May 15, 1899. p. 3. Retrieved July 3, 2019 – via open access
  16. ^ a b c Ambler Borough Open Space Plan. Montgomery County Planning Commission (Report). 2006. p. 2. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  17. ^ "Railroad Notes". The Harrisburg Daily Independent. March 27, 1884. p. 1. Retrieved April 17, 2018 – via open access
  18. ^ a b "Camp Hill Station". The Harrisburgh Telegraph. February 16, 1931. p. 16. Retrieved April 17, 2018 – via open access
  19. ^ Dougherty, Frank (October 25, 1996). "Septa Board Cuts Service But Opposition Is Spirited". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  20. ^ Schlegel, Bradley (June 21, 2009). "SEPTA Plans NW Train Station Renovation". The Reporter. Retrieved April 17, 2018.
  21. ^ "New Station is Opened". The Buffalo Enquirer. February 7, 1903. p. 6. Retrieved April 17, 2018 – via open access
  22. ^ McQuade, Dan (November 13, 2015). "SEPTA Opening First New Train Station in 20 Years". Philly Magazine. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  23. ^ Sokil, Dan (November 5, 2015). "SEPTA, Lansdale planning soft opening for Ninth Street rail station". The Reporter. Retrieved November 15, 2015.
  24. ^ "Link Belt Opens New Philadelphia Plant". The Wilkes-Barre Record. December 2, 1952. p. 6. Retrieved April 17, 2018 – via open access
  25. ^ "Fiscal Year 2019 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2018. p. 74. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  26. ^ "Fiscal Year 2018 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2017. p. 44. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  27. ^ "Fiscal Year 2017 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. October 2016. p. 70. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  28. ^ "Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2015. p. 94. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  29. ^ "Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2014. p. 60. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  30. ^ "Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2013. p. 44. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  31. ^ "Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2012. p. 55. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  32. ^ "Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. July 2011. p. 94. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  33. ^ "Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2010. p. 70. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  34. ^ "Fiscal Year 2010 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2009. p. 63. Retrieved December 14, 2019.

External links[edit]

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