Renovation finally starts at Wayne Junction

Snow at Wayne Junction

On August 28, 2007, we first wrote about a planned community meeting in Germantown to solicit community input on the renovation of the historic Wayne Junction station.  The Wayne Junction station dates from the 1880s.  Today it serves five regional rail lines and a couple bus lines.  And it’s definitely showing its age.

But in January, construction has gotten underway on an $18 million renovation of the station.  Planned renovations include:

  • New elevators and an ADA-compliant egress throughout the station
  • New high level platform on the inbound platform and repairs to the existing high level outbound platform
  • Rehabilitation of the historic site features, including the station building, Germantown Headhouse, and canopies
  • Restoration of passenger tunnels and stairways from Wayne Avenue, Germantown Avenue and Windrim Avenue
  • Improved passenger amenities including audio-visual public announcement system, signage, windscreens and benches
  • Painting the Chestnut Hill East Line Wayne Avenue Bridge

Want to stay up-to-date on the latest developments, check out SEPTA’s Gateway to Germantown homepage.  Or, as always, keep reading SEPTA Watch.

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Zoo building new parking garage. Is a new rail stop far behind?

Philadelphia Zoo ca. 1920
Until my daughter was born three years ago, I had managed to live in Philadelphia for nearly a decade without ever going to the Zoo.

In the past year, I’ve become a member and visited practically every other month.

It’s a pain to get there on SEPTA from where I live, so normally I ride my bike.

So I wasn’t all that excited to hear last week that the Zoo plans on spending $24 million to build a parking garage off of Girard Ave, just west of the zoo.  But I was excited to hear that they still intend to push for a stop on the Regional Rail.  Now that would be exciting!

Judging from the comments on this forum, it might just have some interest.  I sure would use that stop.  And if rider/writer Jeff’s email to us here at SEPTAwatch.com is correct, a rail stop behind the zoo might have added benefits as well:

My reason for pushing for a Zoo stop on Amtrak’s N E Corridor Line is so N. J. Transit’s Atlantic City Rail Line trains could also stop there. Having the ability to take N. J. Transit rail passengers directly to the Philadelphia Zoo will enhance ridership on the Atlantic City line. That, coupled with a stop at North Philadelphia Station, use of the new dual mode locomotives and the terminus being at a centrally located Suburban Station will greatly improve the viability of the Atlantic City Rail Line.

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Grocery shopping while waiting for the train?

Philadelphia’s transit system is the pilot project for an advertising program from internet grocery chain Peapod.  Peapod hopes to attract riders to purchase groceries while waiting for the next train through their colorful advertising, which is designed to look like an aisle in the grocery store.  If you want to buy something, you need to upload the store app and then scan a QR code, which enables you to purchase groceries from GIANT grocery stores and have the products delivered to your home. 

I could see this being very helpful during the weekend or late evening when the 1 hour+ headways can be a miserable wait!

Let us know if you actually try this out!

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Inquirer steps up its coverage of SEPTA, runs two great stories in the past week

Two really great SEPTA stories in the Inquirer over the past few days.  Did you catch them?

On Friday, Kia Gregory reported on a training program run by SEPTA to teach bus drivers–350 so far–about conflict avoidance and de-escalation techniques.

There were about 90 assaults on them while on duty in 2011, 81 of them physical. That was up from 20 in 2010, partly due to more aggressive reporting.

It’s tough out there.

Then on Sunday, Miriam Hill reported on the old Philadelphia & Reading railroad tunnel, now owned and maintained by SEPTA that runs from Girard Avenue down south under the  Art Museum and out near the Whole Fields behind the soon-to-open Barnes Museum.

It’s good to see the Inquirer finding good interesting SEPTA stories to write about.  I’ve previously complained about the typical boring SEPTA story that runs in the Inquirer.  Here’s hoping that this is the beginning of a trend.

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How to stop railroad fatalities?

An article in the Inquirer examines statistics on recent fatalities, including a higher number of suicides than in previous years.

Here are some of the basic statistics cited:

  • In 2011, 11 people were killed by SEPTA trains
  • 5 people have died since June 2011 because of accidents or suicides SEPTA trains on the Warminster line near Hatboro
  • Nationally, 434 people were killed by trains in 2010 and statistics for 2011 show that 365 died between January – October 2011.
  • SEPTA conducted rail-safety sessions at 18 stations in 2011, handing brochures to about 6,200 customers.

One of the suggestions is to include 5 foot barriers on the platforms, similar to those in Korea, so that people can’t jump onto the tracks.   

(image credit:  Medill News Service)

Paoli Station upgrade may give you a reason to go out to Paoli

Almost lost in all the hoopla of last week’s SEPTA board meeting’s approval of a contract to renovate City Hall station was an announcement about Paoli.

Quick digression?  Apparently, Paoli is not really a town.  It’s a “census-designated place.”   What we call Paoli is actually parts of the township of Tredyferrin and the township of Willistown.  Even the 1777 Battle of Paoli during the American Revolution was held in nearby Malvern.  Go figure.  But on to the news.

According to State Representative Kampf, Paoli’s going to be getting $7.5 million to build a new regional rail station.

Maybe it’s time I got off the train in Paoli and had a look around.