West Trenton Line (SEPTA)

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This article is about the SEPTA commuter rail line. For the proposed NJ Transit line, see West Trenton Line (NJ Transit).
West Trenton Line
Langhorne SEPTA railroad station.jpg
Langhorne station on the West Trenton Line.
Type Commuter rail line
System SEPTA
Status Operating
Termini University City
West Trenton
Stations 24
Daily ridership 11,774
Website septa.org
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 West Trenton Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line connecting Center City Philadelphia to West Trenton, New Jersey.


West Trenton station.

The West Trenton Line connects Center City, Philadelphia with the West Trenton section of Ewing, New Jersey. Like all of the Reading Company's commuter lines, the West Trenton Line was electrified in the early 1930s and has a mix of at-grade and grade separated crossings. Electrified service to West Trenton was opened on July 26, 1931. The RDG planned to also electrify tracks between West Trenton and the CNJ Terminal in Jersey City for long-distance service, but had to drop plans for electrification outside of the commuter service area due to economic setbacks as a result of the Great Depression.

The line splits from the SEPTA Main Line at Jenkintown, running northeast. At Bethayres, it crosses over the remnants of the former Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad, which once connected with the Fox Chase Line. At Oakford, the former New York Short Line Railroad, once part of the Reading's main line to West Trenton and Jersey City and currently CSX's Trenton Subdivision, merges. North of Oakford, the West Trenton Line follows CSX's Trenton Subdivision and track operations are controlled using CSX radio frequencies. The West Trenton Railroad Bridge, a concrete arch bridge, crosses the Delaware River to the final stop at West Trenton.

Passenger Schedule (eff. 1974-09-30) of Reading Railway and Central of New Jersey joint service between Newark, N.J. and Phila. Reading Terminal via Belle Mead, N.J. on today's SEPTA West Trenton Line and NJT Raritan Valley Line.

Prior to 1983, the line continued north to Newark, New Jersey (Jersey City prior to the Aldene Plan of the 1960s), using Budd Company-built Diesel multiple units, but was dropped in 1983. Currently, New Jersey Transit is looking at starting a commuter service between West Trenton and Newark, allowing an alternative to the SEPTA and NJ Transit service on the nearby Northeast Corridor line, as well as expanding rail service to currently unserved areas of Central New Jersey.

The line north of the split at Jenkintown was originally built as the National Railway project, opened on May 1, 1876, to provide an alternate to the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Companies' monopoly over Philadelphia-New York City travel. From Jenkintown to the Delaware River it was built by the North Pennsylvania Railroad as a branch, while the New Jersey section was built by the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad, merging with the Central Railroad of New Jersey at Bound Brook. In addition to the Reading Company, which leased the North Pennsylvania Railroad in 1879, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad also used the line for passenger and freight service to New York City, including its famed Royal Blue service. In 1976 the Reading merged into Conrail, and in 1983 SEPTA took over operations.

Currently, most weekday West Trenton trains continue through downtown to Philadelphia International Airport via the Airport Line. Prior to the abandonment of the R-designations on the regional rail system, inbound West Trenton line trains continued on to Elwyn.

Name change[edit]

R3 West Trenton.gif

On July 25, 2010 SEPTA renamed the service from the R3 West Trenton to simply the West Trenton Line as part of system-wide service change that drops the R-number naming and makes the Center City stations the terminus for all lines. This also ended the combined R3 West Trenton/R3 Elwyn service.[1]

Station list[edit]

All stations have low level platforms unless otherwise noted. Boldface indicates a major station.

Zone Milepost Station Boardings City/Township County Notes
C 2.1 Temple University 3,028 Philadelphia boardings include all lines
1 5.1 Wayne Junction 527 boardings include Warminster Line, Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Chestnut Hill East Line, and Fox Chase Line
7.3 Fern Rock TC 825 boardings include Warminster Line and Lansdale/Doylestown Line
2 8.4 Melrose Park 458 Cheltenham Montgomery boardings include Warminster Line and Lansdale/Doylestown Line
9.2 Elkins Park 632 boardings include Warminster Line and Lansdale/Doylestown Line
3 10.8 Jenkintown-Wyncote 1,998 Cheltenham/Jenkintown boardings include Warminster Line and Lansdale/Doylestown Line; Aerial photo
12.0 Noble 222 Abington Township
12.8 Rydal 147
13.8 Meadowbrook 141
15.1 Bethayres 578 Lower Moreland Township
16.4 Philmont 633
17.7 Forest Hills 434 Philadelphia
18.2 Somerton 676
19.9 Trevose 283 Bensalem Township Bucks
21.1 Neshaminy Falls 276
4 23.9 Langhorne 643 Penndel
26.4 Woodbourne 702 Middletown Township
30.8 Yardley 392 Yardley
NJ 32.5 West Trenton 292 Ewing Mercer New Jersey


Fiscal year Average weekday Annual passengers
FY 2013 12,569 3,494,288[2]
FY 2012 12,478 3,468,772[3]
FY 2011 12,825 3,565,750[4]
FY 2010 11,774 3,287,368[5]
FY 2009 12,290 3,431,587[6]
FY 2008 11,851 3,308,800[7]
FY 2005 9,488 2,372,816
FY 2004 9,958 2,795,338
FY 2003 10,604 2,637,500
FY 2001 n/a 2,684,000
FY 2000 n/a 2,706,000
FY 1999 n/a 2,205,000
FY 1997 n/a 2,268,269
FY 1996 n/a 2,215,097
FY 1995 7,498 2,027,012
FY 1994 7,106 1,601,685
FY 1993 6,093 1,350,442
Note: n/a = not available


External links[edit]