|Former SEPTA Regional Rail station|
Former Wawa station site in March 2017. The left track formerly diverged to become the Octoraro Branch.
US 1 (Baltimore Pike)|
Chester Heights, Pennsylvania.
|Line(s)||West Chester Line|
|Platforms||1 side platform|
|Previous names||Baltimore Central Junction|
Wawa station is a defunct commuter rail station on the SEPTA Regional Rail R3 West Chester Line, located to U.S. Route 1 in Chester Heights, Pennsylvania. Originally built by the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad, it later served the Pennsylvania Railroad's West Chester Branch, which finally became SEPTA's R3 line. The outer section of the line, including Wawa station, was closed in 1986.
SEPTA will restore service on the Media/Elwyn Line from its current terminus at Elwyn station to Wawa in mid-2020.
The West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad (WC&P) began constructing its rail line from Philadelphia in 1852 and reached Wawa in 1857. The remainder of the line to West Chester was completed in 1858. The WC&P merged with the P&BC in 1881, and both were controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Wawa station was originally known as the Baltimore Central Junction Station, being the northern terminus of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad (P&BC), later called the Octoraro Branch. This line was built by the P&BC between 1855 and 1868, and originally connected with the Columbia & Port Deposit Railroad in Maryland. Tourist operator Wawa & Concordville Railroad leased the Concordville-Wawa segment in 1967 and 1968 to operate passenger trains. Damage caused by Hurricane Agnes 1972 rendered the line unusable.
The station, and all of those west of Elwyn station, was closed in September 1986, due to deteriorating track conditions and Chester County's desire to expand facilities at Exton station on SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line. Service was "temporarily suspended" at that time, with substitute bus service provided. Wawa Station still appears in publicly posted tariffs.
Wawa station was demolished shortly after service ended. Some concrete foundations remain, as do the concrete curb for the platform edge, and the pedestrian tunnel under the track. The pedestrian tunnel is sealed off with sheets of metal. The access road and parking lot still exist albeit in a state of decay.
Planned service restoration
In the early 1990s, SEPTA began discussing the prospect of restoring commuter rail service between Elwyn and Wawa. Little was done until June 2005, when engineering and design for the resumption of rail service finally began. SEPTA initially estimated that the cost for the 3-mile extension of service would be $51 million; the estimate cited in SEPTA's 2009 Capital Budget was $80 million. The construction project will include new track, catenary, signals, communications equipment, and structures; and a new station at Wawa with a large park-and-ride facility.
Wawa was chosen as the new terminal due to its proximity to the heavily travelled U.S. Route 1. The new ADA-compliant Wawa station will have high platforms, a sales office, ticket vending machines, and a passenger waiting room. SEPTA will also construct a new railcar storage facility at the Lenni station.
Wawa station is estimated to have 500 commuters on a typical weekday. The engineering phase of the terminal project began in July 2005. This included preliminary engineering, environmental impact analysis, and final engineering. Shortfalls in funding delayed completion of this phase due to the failing economy in 2008. SEPTA announced in 2015 in their Rebuilding for the Future project that service is expected to return to Wawa Station by, at the latest, 2020. Construction will take 24 to 36 months to complete. As of May 2018, the total budget has been revised to $177,900,000.
- "Elwyn to Wawa". septa.org. SEPTA. February 2016.
- "R-3 rail line extension on track." Delaware County Times. 2004-10-18.
- "R3 extension expected to ease Elwyn parking." Delaware County Times. 2006-04-06.
- Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). "SEPTA Fiscal Year 2009 Capital Budget and Fiscal Years 2009-2020 Capital Program." p. 45.
- "SEPTA proposed Capital Budget 2010" (PDF). SEPTA.
- "Elwyn to Wawa - Station & Loop Improvements - Rebuilding For The Future - SEPTA.org". septa.org.
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