Alternative R8 - Electrification Fox Chase to Newtown

Description: This project restores regional rail service betweeen the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia, and Newtown Borough in Bucks County. Mass transit service is restored to Lower Moreland, Bryn Athyn, Upper Southampton, Northampton and Newtown Townships. New mass transit capacity is added to Eastern Montgomery County and Lower Bucks County.

Fox Chase Station, 1981

Years of neglect by SEPTA has left all of the existing infrastructure on the Newtown regional rail line as unusable. This project will entail rebuilding several bridges, embankment stabilization, new track, grade crossing installation, ATC signallization, station construction and electrification. Due to the tremendous cost, PA-TEC recommends incremental service restoration: Fox Chase to Huntingdon Valley (3 miles, 500 riders), Huntingdon Valley to Southampton (6 miles, 1,200 riders), Southampton to Newtown (6 miles, 1,000 riders).

The Newtown corridor is a high-population growth area, largely unserved by SEPTA and DVRPC transportation planning. Existing regional rail lines are at capacity, and further investments in parking will only be in the form of expensive structured facilities. Restoration of this service will reduce road congestion, travel distances to mass transit, improve air quality, and spur economic development, as well as increase property values along the corridor.

Out of all possible rail extensions in the DVRPC PA service area, PA-TEC ranks this project first since it is most likely to generate daily center city commuters, is a single track corridor with minimal infrastructure, and is under direct control by its owner, SEPTA.

Alternative highlights

  • Capital investment: $350 million
  • 1,435 NEW riders (4,226 daily NEW fares)
  • 3 park and ride stations, 7 walk-up community stations
  • Zero local emissions from railcars

Benefit Summary

  • Full integration of restored service with SEPTA Regional Rail. Operation and equipment standardized
  • Maximization of new ridership with single seat ride option
  • Creates new ridership on Warminster, West Trenton and Newtown Regional Rail lines
  • Eliminates funneling of ridership from Bucks County to downstream stations

PA-TEC endorses this alternative as the preferred method for reinstating public transportation on the Newtown Regional Rail Line.