SEPTA’s plan to extend rail service on its R-3 line from Elwyn to Wawa continues to move forward.And, of course, there's this little project called the $chuylkill Valley "Metro" which is currently going nowhere...
However, although a 3-mile extension of the line has been in the works for years, commuters won’t be able to board the train at Wawa any time soon. It’ll still be many months before work on the $50 million project is completed and the rehabilitated line is operational.
That’s what Gerald J. Kane, manager of SEPTA’s capital and long range planning department, told the Middletown Township Business and Professional Association at its luncheon meeting at Brodeur’s Country House Inn.
Kane noted so far it’s taken $2 million and 42 months of engineering studies and related research, starting in the early 1990s, to get the project to this point. He said project engineers next must select a firm and then a contract must be negotiated by SEPTA.
The construction phase probably will get under way in three or four years.It will take 24 to 36 months to complete."Cost", of course, didn't stop SEPTA from trying to propose the aforementioned $2 billion (and counting) $chuylkill Valley fiasco.
Kane said extensive rehabilitation work on the three-mile stretch of track includes straightening out an existing curve. Along with new infrastructure and a new station, a parking lot for 300-350 vehicles on three or more acres must be developed,
For northbound traffic, there would have to be a new entrance to the station, with traffic channeled by such measures as a jug handle or left turn light.
Kane said extending the line to Wawa and providing a park-and-ride station is expected to attract 500 commuters per day, or 1,000 daily trips. Of those 500 riders, 30-35 percent would be people who currently are driving to Elwyn to catch the train. The other 70 percent would be new riders.
As for extending the line nine miles beyond Wawa to West Chester, Kane indicated cost is the main reason why this is unlikely to happen.
Asked what can be done about illegal parking at the Elwyn station, Kane said some minor work is being done to provide 90 additional spaces.You also don't win friends further down the line when you choose not to extend a rail line that is primarily in tact (save for signaling and catenary in some segments) to the only county seat in the four suburban counties without direct rail service to Philadelphia. As I have noted to SEPTA many times before, failing to extend the R3 all the way to West Chester is not an acceptable option. Of course, Chester County has never been a high priority to the Rotating Resumes at 1234 Market.
"You don’t win friends by towing away your customers," he added.