Chestnut Hill West Line

Last updated
Chestnut Hill West Line
A Penn Central Silverliner at Chestnut Hill West station in May 1974.
Type Commuter rail
System SEPTA Regional Rail
StatusSuspended [1]
Termini Chestnut Hill West
Temple University
Daily ridership4,968 (FY 2018) [2]
Operator(s) SEPTA
Rolling stock Electric Multiple Units
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Electrification Catenary
Operating speed50 mph (Chestnut Hill West to North Philadelphia) 70 mph (North Philadelphia to Zoo Interlocking)
Route map


BSicon KHSTACCa.svg
11.3 mi
18.2 km
Chestnut Hill West
BSicon HST.svg
10.7 mi
17.2 km
BSicon HST.svg
10.2 mi
16.4 km
St. Martins
BSicon exCONTgq.svg
BSicon eABZgr.svg
BSicon HST.svg
9.4 mi
15.1 km
Allen Lane
BSicon HST.svg
9.0 mi
14.5 km
BSicon HST.svg
7.9 mi
12.7 km
BSicon STR+GRZq.svg
BSicon HST.svg
7.4 mi
11.9 km
Chelten Avenue
BSicon HSTACC.svg
6.8 mi
10.9 km
Queen Lane
BSicon eHST.svg
Westmoreland (closed)
BSicon STR+GRZq.svg
BSicon INT.svg
4.5 mi
7.2 km
North Philadelphia BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon ABZg+l.svg
BSicon CONTfq.svg
to Trenton & Boston
BSicon PORTALf.svg
BSicon INTACC.svg
0.9 mi
1.4 km
30th Street
BSicon TRAM.svg MFL NJT logo.svg BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg
BSicon tINTACC.svg
0 mi
0 km
BSicon tINTACC.svg
0.5 mi
0.8 km
BSicon PORTALg.svg
BSicon ACC.svg
2.1 mi
3.4 km
Temple University
BSicon CONTf.svg

The Chestnut Hill West Line is a commuter rail line in the SEPTA Regional Rail network. It connects Northwest Philadelphia, including the eponymous neighborhood of Chestnut Hill, as well as West Mount Airy and Germantown, to Center City.

Since April 9, 2020, the line has been suspended indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, [1] though North Philadelphia station is still being served by other rail services. [3]

Route description

The Chestnut Hill West Line branches off from Amtrak's Northeast Corridor at North Philadelphia station and runs entirely within the City of Philadelphia. Its terminal is named Chestnut Hill West to distinguish it from the end of the Chestnut Hill East Line (a competing line of the Reading Company until 1976, when SEPTA assumed operations). Some stations are less than half a mile apart, a characteristic more commonly seen in an urban rapid transit system rather than a commuter rail line. The line runs roughly parallel to the Chestnut Hill East, and the two terminals are rather close. The line is fully grade-separated.


R8 CHW.gif

The line was originally opened June 11, 1884 by the Philadelphia, Germantown and Chestnut Hill Railroad, and was operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad until 1968.[ citation needed ] Electrified service began on March 30, 1918. [4] The Penn Central operated it until 1976, turning operations over to Conrail until 1983, when SEPTA took over.[ citation needed ]

Between 1984–2010 the route was designated R8 Chestnut Hill West as part of SEPTA's diametrical reorganization of its lines. Chestnut Hill West trains operated through the city center to the Fox Chase Line. [5] Plans had called for the line to be paired with West Chester/Elwyn Line and designated R3, but this depended on a never-built connection from the Chestnut Hill West Line to the ex-Reading near Wayne Junction. [6] As of 2018, most Chestnut Hill West Line trains continue through Center City to the Fox Chase Line. [7]

Between June 26, 1987–December 17, 1989 service terminated at Allen Lane with shuttle buses serving St. Martin's, Highland and Chestnut Hill West because of unsafe conditions on the Cresheim Valley bridge. The original iron bridge dated to 1884 and was replaced with a $7.6 million steel structure financed by the Urban Mass Transportation Administration. [8]

SEPTA activated positive train control on the Chestnut Hill West Line on August 22, 2016. [9]


The Pennsylvania Railroad opened St. Martins in 1883 St Martins SEPTA.JPG
The Pennsylvania Railroad opened St. Martins in 1883
Queen Lane station Queen Lane SEPTA.JPG
Queen Lane station

The Chestnut Hill West makes the following station stops after leaving 30th Street Station; stations indicated with gray background are closed.

Zone [10] LocationStation Miles (km)
from Center City
Date openedConnections / notes
C Mantua, Philadelphia Zoological Garden 1.9 miles (3.1 km)1874Closed November 24, 1901 [11]
Brewerytown, Philadelphia Engleside2.8 (4.5)Closed April 5, 1903 [12]
Strawberry Mansion, Philadelphia Ridge Avenue3.2 (5.1)Closed April 5, 1903. [12]
22nd Street3.9 miles (6.3 km)
1 Glenwood, Philadelphia North Philadelphia 4.5 (7.2) Amtrak: Keystone Service , Northeast Regional
SEPTA Regional Rail: Trenton Line
SEPTA City Transit: Broad Street Line
SEPTA City Bus: 4 , 16
Nicetown–Tioga, Philadelphia Westmoreland 5.5 (8.9)Closed October 29, 1994 [13]
Germantown, Philadelphia Queen Lane Wheelchair symbol.svg 6.8 (10.9)SEPTA City Bus: K
Chelten Avenue 7.4 (11.9)June 11, 1884 [14] SEPTA City Bus: 26 , J
2 Tulpehocken 7.9 (12.7)June 11, 1884 [14] SEPTA City Bus: 53 , 65
Mount Airy, Philadelphia Upsal 8.4 (13.5)SEPTA City Bus: H
Carpenter 9.0 (14.5)June 11, 1884 [14]
Allen Lane Wheelchair symbol.svg 9.4 (15.1)
Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia St. Martins 10.2 (16.4)
Highland 10.7 (17.2)June 11, 1884 [14]
Chestnut Hill West Wheelchair symbol.svg 11.3 (18.2)June 11, 1884 [14] SEPTA City Bus: 23 , 77 , L
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 94 , 97


Yearly ridership on the Chestnut Hill West Line between FY 2008–FY 2018 has remained steady around 1.5–1.6 million: [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. [2] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24]

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