|Norristown High Speed Line|
|Locale||Delaware and Montgomery Counties, Pennsylvania|
|Termini|| 69th Street Transportation Center (south)|
Norristown Transportation Center (north)
|Website||Norristown High Speed Line|
|Type||Interurban/Light rapid transit|
|System||SEPTA Suburban Division|
|Route number||100 (former)|
|Rolling stock||26 ASEA (Asea Brown Boveri) Type N-5 MU|
|Daily ridership||10,895 (2018)|
|Line length||13.4 mi (21.6 km)|
|Number of tracks||1–3|
|Character||Surface (grade separated)|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Electrification||(630) V DC Third rail|
|Operating speed||55 mph (89 km/h)|
The Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL, also called the Purple Line, the P&W, or the Route 100 13.4-mile (21.6 km) interurban light rapid transit line operated by SEPTA, running between the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby and the Norristown Transportation Center in Norristown, Pennsylvania, United States. The rail line runs entirely on its own right-of-way, inherited from the original Philadelphia and Western Railroad line (still referred to by locals as the "old P&W" or as Route 100). In 2018, the Norristown High Speed Line had an average weekday ridership of over 10,000 passengers.) is a
The Norristown High Speed Line is unique in its combination of transportation technologies. Originally chartered as a Class I (steam) railroad, the line is fully grade separated, collects power from a third rail, and has high-level platforms common to rapid transit systems or commuter rail systems such as New York City's Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, but has onboard fare collection, mostly single-car operation, and frequent stops more common to light rail systems. Previously, the Norristown High Speed Line was considered to be a heavy rail line, according to a 2008 SEPTA budget report;however, the line is currently considered an interurban heavy rail line, according to a 2009 SEPTA business plan, and subsequent capital budgets. It has also been categorized by the American Public Transportation Association as "Intermodal High Speed rapid rail transit".
The purple color-coded line was formerly known simply as Route 100, but was officially changed to its current name in September 2009 as part of a customer service initiative by SEPTA.The line has been subject to multiple accidents in recent years. In August 2017, there was a crash involving an unoccupied railcar at 69th Street Terminal that injured more than 40 people. As a result, the maximum operating speed on the line was decreased to 55 mph. Another crash occurred near an Ardmore stop on January 26, 1987 injuring 19. The operator tested positive for drugs and was convicted on reckless endangerment. Another crash occurred on July 6, 2012 between Beachwood-Brookline and Penfield stations when the cars detached and came back together injuring 2.
The Norristown High Speed Line began service in 1907 as the Philadelphia and Western Railroad (P&W), which ran from the present 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania to a converted farmhouse station in Strafford, Pennsylvania. In 1911, the line was extended 0.47 miles (0.76 km) west to a new Strafford P&W station adjacent to the Pennsylvania Railroad's Strafford station, allowing easy interchange between the two lines. In 1912, a 6.2-mile (10 km) branch was constructed from Villanova Junction, 0.33 miles (0.53 km) west of the existing Villanova station, to Norristown. When the newly built branch quickly attracted more ridership than the Strafford main line, the Norristown section became the main line and the Strafford stretch was demoted to branch status; in the mid-1930s, the Strafford spur was narrowed to a single track for its last 1.74 miles (2.8 km) between the Wayne-St. Davids and Strafford stations, while the Norristown line received a sleek new art deco terminus at Main and Swede Streets.
From Norristown, the P&W RR connected its tracks with the Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Route to provide direct electric train service from 69th St. Terminal to Allentown, Pennsylvania. However, in 1951, the Lehigh Valley Transit Company ended its service on the Liberty Bell Route, and in 1953 the company ended all its remaining rail service. Two years later, the P&W RR was taken over by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (PSTC), which was more popularly known as the Red Arrow Lines. In 1956, the PSTC abandoned the original branch between Villanova and Strafford, leaving only electric MU train service between 69th Street and Norristown, as it is today.Part of the Strafford branch right of way has been converted into the Radnor Trail. The PSTC was absorbed into SEPTA in 1970, eliminating the original railroad charter and immediately becoming the "Norristown High-Speed Line Trolley", officially known as Route 100.
Ridership on the Norristown Line peaked in 2015 at 3,429,300. The previous peak came in 2014 with 3,147,209 trips. Prior to this modern escalation in ridership the line's ridership was highest in 1973 at 2.86 million annual linked trips, and again in 1980 with 2.579 million annual linked trips. Ridership statistics for fiscal years 2000 and later are from SEPTA annual service plans. Data for years 1972 to 1997 are from the SEPTA 1997 ridership census. There may be some discrepancy in how the ridership is reported since the annual service plans report total unlinked trips, while the ridership census uses linked trips, which may exclude passengers transferring from other lines.
|Fiscal year||Average weekday||Annual passengers|
|Fiscal year||Annual linked trips||Fiscal year||Annual linked trips|
Effective June 14, 2010, SEPTA changed the names of four stations to reflect the streets on which they were located. Township Line Road (formerly West Overbrook Station), Roberts Road (formerly Rosemont Station), Stadium – Ithan Avenue (formerly Stadium Station) and DeKalb Street (formerly King Manor Station).
In summer 2013, SEPTA closed the bridge (the Bridgeport Viaduct) carrying the Norristown High Speed Line over the Schuylkill River for four months.The bridge, which was built in 1911, had been deteriorating and needed to be rebuilt at a cost upwards of $30 million, though this repair project was budgeted at $7.5 million. As a result of closing the bridge, buses were used to transport passengers between the Bridgeport station and the Norristown Transportation Center. The bridge was reopened in November 2013. The remaining $30 million renovation of the entire bridge structure is currently unscheduled.
The fare for a single ride as of January 2020 is $2.50 using cash or $2.00 using the Travel Wallet feature on a SEPTA Key card.Until September 1, 2014, the line used a "pay-as-you-exit" fare collection system on trains towards 69th Street Transportation Center. As part of a general change on several routes approaching 69th Street, passengers now pay onboard upon entering the train. Starting February 22, 2021, fares at 69th Street Transportation Center and Norristown Transportation Center are collected from station turnstiles at all times.
The service runs seven days a week, from about 5:00 am to 1:00 am. Local trains from 69th Street to Norristown stop at all 22 stations, and the trip lasts approximately 32 minutes. Occasionally, local trains may run only between 69th Street and Bryn Mawr, stopping at ten stations, or 69th Street and Hughes Park, stopping at 18 stations.
During weekday peak periods (6:00–9:00 AM, 2:15–6:45 PM), the Norristown High Speed Line features express and limited services, which stop only at select stations, therefore decreasing travel time between 69th Street and Norristown. Norristown Express service, denoted by red destination signs, travels between 69th Street and Norristown in approximately 26 minutes, and stops at 17 stations. Norristown Limited service, denoted by blue destination signs, travels between 69th Street and Norristown in approximately 22 minutes, stopping at only eight stations. All trains share the same two tracks, so a limited leaving Norristown, for example, will be immediately followed by a local, which stops at more stations, and therefore is spaced farther from the previous train. The next limited will catch up with it. Similarly, a local may leave Bryn Mawr right after an express stops there, and gets to 69th Street just before the next express or limited catches up with it.
A former Hughes Park Express service, was denoted by green destination signs, traveled nonstop from 69th Street to Beechwood–Brookline, and made all stops from there to Hughes Park in approximately 22 minutes.
Before December 7, 2020, if passengers wanted to board the train at the station, they would have to press a button on the platform, that turns on a light, that tells the engineer to stop at the station (this was not the case at terminals). Only if the train is scheduled to stop at the station (see below), will it will stop (otherwise it will not, despite the person hitting the button). After December 7, 2020 if passengers want to board the train at the station they have to be physically visible to the engineer for the train to stop (this is the same as on a light rail or tram/trolley line). In both cases detraining passengers must press a button on board to request the train to stop.
|Location||Miles (km)||Station||Notes/Connections||Weekday Ridership (2018)|
|Upper Darby||0.0 (0.0)||69th Street Transportation Center|| SEPTA Rapid Transit: Market–Frankford Line |
SEPTA Suburban Trolley: 101 , 102
SEPTA City Bus: 21 , 30 , 65 , 68
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 103 , 104 , 105 , 106 , 107 , 108 , 109 , 110 , 111 , 112 , 113 , 120 , 123 , 126
|Haverford||1.4 (2.3)||Township Line Road||SEPTA Suburban Bus: 103||83|
|2.5 (4.0)||Beechwood – Brookline||210|
|3.1 (5.0)||Wynnewood Road||140|
|3.4 (5.5)||Ardmore Junction||SEPTA Suburban Bus: 103||500|
|3.9 (6.3)||Ardmore Avenue||116|
|Radnor||5.4 (8.7)||Bryn Mawr||562|
|5.9 (9.5)||Roberts Road||65|
|6.4 (10.3)||Garrett Hill||562|
|6.8 (10.9)||Stadium – Ithan Avenue|
|7.0 (11.3)||Villanova||SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106||357|
|7.9 (12.7)||Radnor||SEPTA Suburban Bus: 106||462|
|Lower Merion||8.6 (13.8)||County Line||14|
|Upper Merion||10.3 (16.6)||Gulph Mills||SEPTA Suburban Bus: 95 , 124 , 125||577|
|11.0 (17.7)||Hughes Park||339|
|Bridgeport||12.3 (19.8)||DeKalb Street||SEPTA Suburban Bus: 99||314|
|Norristown||13.4 (21.6)||Norristown Transportation Center|| SEPTA Regional Rail: Manayunk/Norristown Line |
SEPTA Suburban Bus: 90 , 91 , 93 , 96 , 97 , 98 , 99 , 131
In 2013, it was proposed to create a branch off the Norristown High Speed Line to serve the King of Prussia mall, Valley Forge office parks, and the Valley Forge Casino Resort.Many possible routes were planned for this extension, including one following US 202 from Norristown to King of Prussia, another following a utility right-of-way paralleling US 202 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and another following the utility right-of-way and Gulph Road. In 2014, SEPTA estimated that the expansion would cost between $500 million to $650 million, and was at least eight years away.
On February 29, 2016, SEPTA announced which of those routes it would prefer as being most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.The route will branch off from the main route between Hughes Park and DeKalb Street, and will follow a PECO transmission line right-of-way from the wye junction to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. From there, it will run parallel to the Pennsylvania Turnpike until it reaches the King of Prussia mall. It will then follow Mall Boulevard, before crossing the Turnpike and following First Avenue. Stations will be located at Henderson Road, Allendale Road, Mall Boulevard, at the intersection of First and Clark avenues in the King of Prussia Business Park, and on First Avenue near the Valley Forge Casino Resort.
On January 25, 2018, the SEPTA board approved a final route alignment, selecting the locally preferred routing from among the options studied in the project's draft environmental impact statement (EIS). 7.2-kilometer (4.5 mi) line was estimated to cost between $1 billion and $1.2 billion, with ridership estimated at 9,500 daily by 2040. In January, 2019, SEPTA engaged the engineering firm HNTB to design Phase I of the project. On December 1, 2020, SEPTA held a meeting to update the proposed alignment. The final environmental impact statement is planned to be submitted to the Federal Transit Administration in early 2021. Construction on the spur to King of Prussia is projected to cost $2 billion and service is expected to begin between 2025 and 2027.The
Five new stations will be added to the line as follows:
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is a regional public transportation authority that operates bus, rapid transit, commuter rail, light rail, and electric trolleybus services for nearly 4 million people in five counties in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It also manages projects that maintain, replace and expand its infrastructure, facilities and vehicles.
The SEPTA Regional Rail system is a commuter rail network owned by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority 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.
The 69th Street Transportation Center is a SEPTA terminal in the Terminal Square section of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, just west of the city limits of Philadelphia. The terminal serves the Market–Frankford Line, Norristown High Speed Line, and the Media–Sharon Hill Line trolleys, and multiple bus routes. It is located in the at the end of 69th Street, a major retail corridor in Upper Darby, across Market Street from the Tower Theater. Until 2011, the station was primarily known as 69th Street Terminal.
Norristown Transportation Center is a two-level multimodal public transportation regional hub located in Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA, operated by SEPTA. It opened in 1989 to replace the older Norristown High Speed Line terminus one block away at Main and Swede Streets, and integrated the former Reading Company DeKalb Street Norristown railroad station into its structure. A plaque embedded in the sidewalk commemorates the location of one of the columns of the dismantled segment of the Philadelphia and Western Railroad (P&W) trestle.
The Trenton Line is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail system. The route serves the northeastern suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with service in Bucks County along the Delaware River to Trenton, New Jersey.
The Wilmington/Newark Line is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail commuter rail system in the Philadelphia area. The line serves southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, with stations in Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania, Wilmington, Delaware, and Newark, Delaware. It is the longest of the 13 SEPTA Regional Rail lines.
The Schuylkill Valley Metro (SVM) was a proposal for a 62-mile railway system that would link Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the city of Reading, Pennsylvania in central Berks County, using the SEPTA Manayunk/Norristown Line and Cynwyd Line, plus two Norfolk Southern Railway freight-only lines. The proposal was rejected by the Federal Transit Administration; there are no plans to move forward with the project.
Main Street station is a SEPTA Regional Rail station in Norristown, Pennsylvania, United States. It serves the Manayunk/Norristown Line. It is one of the two stations on the short electrified branch to Elm Street in Norristown. This branch leaves the main (diesel-only) line to Pottsville and Reading. Currently owned by Norfolk Southern Railway, the Reading Railroad once operated passenger service on that line. The station has 76 parking spaces. It is located at Main and Markley Streets. In FY 2013, Main Street station had a weekday average of 189 boardings and 181 alightings.
Villanova station is a SEPTA rapid transit station near the campus of Villanova University in Radnor Township, Pennsylvania. It serves the Norristown High Speed Line. Local, Hughes Park Express, and Norristown Express trains stop at Villanova. The station lies 7.0 track miles from 69th Street Terminal. The station has off-street parking available.
Radnor station is a SEPTA rapid transit station in Radnor, Pennsylvania. It is in Radnor Township.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority operates or contracts operations of these routes serving points in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties, with a few routes operating into the city of Philadelphia. The Suburban Transit Division is broken down into three districts: Victory, Frontier, and Contract Operations.
The Warminster Line is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail commuter rail system. It serves stations between its namesake town, Warminster, and Center City, Philadelphia. Half of the route is shared by other lines, including the Lansdale/Doylestown Line, West Trenton Line, Fox Chase Line, Chestnut Hill East Line, and Manayunk/Norristown Line. The great majority of trains continue as part of the Airport Line.
The Media/Elwyn Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line that runs from Center City Philadelphia west to Elwyn in Delaware County.
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.
The Paoli/Thorndale Line, commonly known as the Main Line, is a SEPTA Regional Rail service running from Center City Philadelphia to Thorndale in Chester County. It operates on Amtrak's Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line, which in turn was once the Main Line of the Pennsylvania Railroad and is now part of the Keystone Corridor, a federally-designated high-speed rail corridor.
The Cynwyd Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line running from Center City Philadelphia to Cynwyd in Montgomery County. Originally known as the Ivy Ridge Line, service was truncated on May 17, 1986, at its current terminus at Cynwyd. Track between Cynwyd and Ivy Ridge was dismantled between 2008 and 2010 for conversion as an interim rail trail, preventing service restoration for the foreseeable future. The Cynwyd line is the shortest of the SEPTA regional rail lines, and is the second shortest regional rail line in the United States, with only the New Jersey Transit Princeton Branch being shorter. It is by far the least ridden and least trafficked SEPTA Regional Rail Line. It is fully grade-separated.
The Manayunk/Norristown Line is a commuter rail line in Southeastern Pennsylvania, and one of the 13 lines in SEPTA's Regional Rail network.
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 has been gradually converted into a rail trail from 2008 onward, ending any chance of resumed passenger service on the abandoned section of line for the foreseeable future.
The Chestnut Hill East Line is a route of the SEPTA Regional Rail system. The route serves the northwestern section of Philadelphia with service to Germantown, Mount Airy, and Chestnut Hill. It is one of two lines that serve Chestnut Hill, the other one being the Chestnut Hill West Line. The line is fully grade-separated.
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.
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