Bethlehem Line

Last updated
Bethlehem Line
Overview
Service type Commuter rail
StatusDiscontinued
Last serviceJuly 27, 1981
Former operator(s) Conrail
SEPTA
Route
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.

Contents

History

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]

Stations

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]

ZoneDistanceStationCity/TownshipCounty
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

Related Research Articles

Perkasie, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Perkasie is a borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, 35 miles (56 km) north of Philadelphia. Establishments in the borough early in the twentieth century included silk mills, brickyards, lumber mills, tile works, a stone crusher, and manufacturies of cigars, tags and labels, wire novelties, etc. The population in 1900 was 1,803; in 1910, 2,779 people lived in Perkasie. The population was 8,511 at the 2010 census.

Telford, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Telford is a borough in Bucks and Montgomery Counties in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The population was 4,872 at the time of the 2010 census. Of this, 2,665 were in Montgomery County, and 2,207 were in Bucks County.

SEPTA Regional Rail commuter rail service

The SEPTA Regional Rail system is a commuter rail network owned by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) and serving the Philadelphia Metropolitan area. The system has 13 branches and more than 150 active stations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, its suburbs and satellite towns and cities. It is the fifth-busiest commuter railroad in the United States, and the busiest outside of the New York and Chicago metropolitan areas. In 2016, the Regional Rail system had an average of 132,000 daily riders.

Raritan Valley Line New Jersey Transit railroad line

The Raritan Valley Line is a commuter rail service operated by New Jersey Transit (NJT) which serves passengers in municipalities in Union, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey, United States. The line's most frequent western terminus is Raritan station in Raritan. Some weekday trains continue farther west and terminate at the High Bridge station, located in High Bridge. Most eastbound trains terminate in Newark; passengers bound for New York make a cross-platform transfer. A limited number of weekday trains continue directly to New York.

SEPTA Main Line

The SEPTA Main Line is the section of the SEPTA Regional Rail system from the Zoo Interlocking in West Philadelphia to Lansdale Station in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The line is 26.25 miles (42.25 km) long, and serves all 13 SEPTA Regional Rail lines.

Lansdale station SEPTA Regional Rail station

Lansdale station, also known as the Lansdale Transportation Center, is a SEPTA Regional Rail station in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. Located at Main Street and Green Street, it serves the Lansdale/Doylestown Line. It was originally built in 1902 by the Reading Company, opening on February 7, 1903; a freight house was added in 1909. In FY 2013, Lansdale station had a weekday average of 1396 boardings and 1272 alightings.

The North Pennsylvania Railroad was a railroad company which served Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County and Northampton County, Pennsylvania. It was formed in 1852 and began operation in 1855. The Philadelphia and Reading Railway, predecessor to the Reading Company, leased the North Pennsylvania in 1879. Its tracks were transferred to Conrail and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) in 1976.

Lehigh Valley Transit Company

The Lehigh Valley Transit Company (LVT) was a regional transport company, headquartered in Allentown, Pennsylvania, that began operations in 1901 as an urban trolley and interurban rail transport company. It operated successfully into the 1930s, struggled financially during the Depression, and was saved from abandonment by a dramatic ridership increase due to the Second World War. In 1951, the LVT, once again financially struggling, ended its 36-mile (58 km) interurban rail service from Allentown to Philadelphia. In 1952, it ended its Allentown area local trolley service. It operated local bus service in the Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, Pennsylvania areas until going out of business in 1972.

East Penn Railroad

The East Penn Railroad is a short-line railroad that operates a number of mostly-unconnected lines in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania and Delaware. Except for two industrial park switching operations, all are former Pennsylvania Railroad or Reading Company lines, abandoned or sold by Conrail or its predecessors.

Perkasie Tunnel

The Perkasie Tunnel is a train tunnel located behind the Post Office in Perkasie, Pennsylvania on 7th Street, on a line owned by SEPTA and operated by the East Penn Railroad. The tunnel itself is located near 8th Street and Ridge Road. Northbound passenger trains going through the tunnel traveled to Union Station in Bethlehem and points beyond. Many southbound passenger trains were destined for Reading Terminal in Philadelphia. The Perkasie station on 8th Street was formerly equipped with a water tower, of which not a trace remains.

Lansdale/Doylestown Line SEPTA Regional Rail line travelling from Philadelphia to Doylestown

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.

Fox Chase Line SEPTA Regional Rail line

The Fox Chase Line is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail system. The Fox Chase Line branches from the SEPTA Main Line at Newtown Junction, north of the Wayne Junction station. It runs entirely within the city of Philadelphia. The line is fully grade-separated, except for one grade crossing on Oxford Avenue. Under the Reading Company service continued north to Newtown, but this ended in January 1983. Various proposals to resume this service have failed, and the line within Montgomery County was converted into a rail trail in 2008 and 2014, respectively, ending any chance of resumed passenger service for the foreseeable future.

Quakertown station

The Quakertown Passenger and Freight Station is a historic train station and freight depot located at Quakertown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The two buildings were designed by Wilson Bros. & Company in 1889 and built by Cramp and Co. for the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1902. The passenger station is constructed of dark Rockhill granite and Indiana limestone and is in a Late Victorian style. It is 1 1/2 stories tall and measures 25 feet wide by 97 feet, 6 inches, long. It has a hipped roof with an eight-foot overhang. The freight station is a 1 1/2-story, rectangular stone block building measuring 128 feet by 30 feet. Also on the property is a large crane that was used for freight movement. The Quakertown station had passenger rail service along the Bethlehem Line to Bethlehem and Philadelphia until July 27, 1981, when SEPTA ended service on all its intercity diesel-powered lines.

Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad

The Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad is a short-line railroad operating on trackage mostly in Bucks and Montgomery counties to the north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was created in 2011, taking over former operations from CSX Transportation. The Pennsylvania Northeastern Railroad interchanges with CSX in Lansdale, the East Penn Railroad in Telford, and the New Hope Railroad in Warminster.

Lehigh Line (Norfolk Southern) Norfolk Southern rail line in New Jersey and Pennsylvania

The Lehigh Line is a railroad line in central New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania. It is owned and operated by the Norfolk Southern Railway. The line runs west from the vicinity of the Port of New York and New Jersey (via Conrail's Lehigh Line to the Susquehanna River valley at the south end of the Wyoming Valley Coal Region. Administratively it is part of Norfolk Southern's Harrisburg Division and is also part of the Crescent Corridor. As of 2016 the line is freight-only, although there are perennial proposals to restore passenger service over all or part of the line.

Bethlehem Union Station Former railway station in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem Union Station is a former train station located in the South Side neighborhood of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1924 by the Lehigh Valley Railroad and the Reading Company, replacing an earlier station built in 1867. Passenger service to Philadelphia on the SEPTA Regional Rail Bethlehem Line lasted until 1981. The station was renovated in 2002 and used for medical clinics beginning in 2003. It is owned by St. Luke's Hospital.

New York Branch

The New York Branch or the Bound Brook Route was a railway line in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. It was operated by the Reading Company and owned by two of its subsidiaries, the North Pennsylvania Railroad and the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad. It formed part of the Reading's route from Philadelphia to New York City, used by the famed Crusader. The line was transferred to Conrail in 1976 and was split into the Neshaminy Line and Trenton Line. SEPTA continues to operate commuter trains to West Trenton as part of its West Trenton Line.

Ninth Street Branch

The Ninth Street Branch was an elevated railway line in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was operated by the Reading Company; ownership was split between the Reading and its subsidiary the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad. It was a four-tracked main line beginning at the Reading Terminal, the Reading's terminus in Philadelphia, and extending north into the city to a junction with the Bethlehem Branch. After the final bankruptcy of the Reading the line passed to Conrail and later SEPTA. The portion south of the Temple University station was abandoned in 1984 with the opening of the Center City Commuter Connection and is now known as the Reading Viaduct; the portion north is now part of the SEPTA Main Line.

Hellertown station was a train station in Hellertown, Pennsylvania on the former Bethlehem Line. The station was last used by SEPTA diesel service and was closed in July 1981 after SEPTA terminated all diesel routes. The station was razed on December 6, 1982, and not a trace of it remains.

Perkasie station

Perkasie is a defunct train station formerly operated by SEPTA Regional Rail in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, USA. It closed on July 29, 1981 after SEPTA cancelled its diesel train routes.

References

  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