Bethlehem Line

Last updated
Bethlehem Line
Service type Commuter rail
Last serviceJuly 27, 1981
Former operator(s) Conrail
Start Philadelphia
End Bethlehem
Line(s) used Bethlehem Branch

The Bethlehem Line was a SEPTA Regional Rail service on the former Reading Company Bethlehem Branch between Lansdale and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Some trains continued over the electrified Lansdale/Doylestown Line to the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia. Between 1978–1979 SEPTA extended service to Allentown. Service ended altogether in 1981 as SEPTA eliminated its former Reading diesel services. The Bethlehem Line remains owned by SEPTA and is used for freight service by the Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad between Lansdale and Telford and the East Penn Railroad between Telford and Quakertown. The Quakertown-Bethlehem section is out of service, with several portions serving as the interim Saucon Rail Trail. It is not officially abandoned.



The route between Philadelphia and Bethlehem was constructed in the 19th century by the North Pennsylvania Railroad, a forerunner of the Reading Company.[ citation needed ] The Reading continued to operate passenger services between the two cities into the 20th century; at one time Bethlehem was a major interchange with the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Commuter services survived into the Conrail era but fell victim to SEPTA's decision in 1981 to eliminate diesel services. Service between Bethlehem and Quakertown ended on July 1, 1981; service between Quakertown and Lansdale followed on July 26. [1]


Bethlehem trains made the following station stops; stations indicated with italics closed prior to the discontinuation of service in 1981. Mileage and fare zones are from the July 30, 1978 timetable. [2]

10 mi (0.0 km) Reading Terminal Philadelphia
1A0.8 mi (1.3 km) Spring Garden Street
1.8 mi (2.9 km) Temple University
2.9 mi (4.7 km) North Broad Street
4.0 mi (6.4 km)Tioga
4.3 mi (6.9 km)Nicetown
5.1 mi (8.2 km) Wayne Junction
25.9 mi (9.5 km)Logan
6.7 mi (10.8 km)Tabor
7.3 mi (11.7 km) Fern Rock
2E8.4 mi (13.5 km) Melrose Park Cheltenham Montgomery
9.2 mi (14.8 km) Elkins Park
2J10.8 mi (17.4 km) Jenkintown
11.9 mi (19.2 km) Glenside
313.0 mi (20.9 km) North Hills Abington
13.9 mi (22.4 km) Oreland Springfield
14.8 mi (23.8 km) Fellwick Whitemarsh
415.9 mi (25.6 km) Fort Washington
17.3 mi (27.8 km) Ambler Ambler
18.8 mi (30.3 km) Penllyn Lower Gwynedd
20.0 mi (32.2 km) Gwynedd Valley
522.4 mi (36.0 km) North Wales North Wales
23.5 mi (37.8 km) Pennbrook Lansdale
24.4 mi (39.3 km) Lansdale
627.1 mi (43.6 km) Hatfield Hatfield
29.6 mi (47.6 km) Souderton Souderton
730.9 mi (49.7 km) Telford Telford
33.6 mi (54.1 km) Sellersville Sellersville Bucks
35.0 mi (56.3 km) Perkasie Perkasie
840.2 mi (64.7 km) Quakertown Quakertown
1047.6 mi (76.6 km) Centre Valley Coopersburg Lehigh
1152.6 mi (84.7 km) Hellertown Hellertown Northampton
56.6 mi (91.1 km) Bethlehem Bethlehem
1261.3 mi (98.7 km) Allentown Allentown Lehigh

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  1. Williams, Gerry (1998). Trains, Trolleys & Transit: A Guide to Philadelphia Area Rail Transit. Piscataway, NJ: Railpace Company. p. 83. ISBN   978-0-9621541-7-1. OCLC   43543368.
  2. Allentown–Bethlehem–Philadelphia, Conrail/SEPTA, July 30, 1978