West Trenton Line (SEPTA)

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West Trenton Line
Langhorne SEPTA railroad station.jpg
Langhorne station on the West Trenton Line.
TypeCommuter rail
SystemSEPTA Regional Rail
TerminiUniversity City
West Trenton
Daily ridership12,711[1]:94
Operator(s)SEPTA Regional Rail
Rolling stockElectric Multiple Units, push-pull trains
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Route map

1.8 mi
2.9 km
University City
0.9 mi
1.4 km
30th Street Station Amtrak NJ Transit
0 mi
0 km
Suburban Station
0.5 mi
0.8 km
Jefferson Station
2.1 mi
3.4 km
Temple University
Manayunk/Norristown Line
to Elm Street
5.1 mi
8.2 km
Wayne Junction
Chestnut Hill East Line
to Chestnut Hill East
Fern Rock
Broad Street Line
8.4 mi
13.5 km
Melrose Park
9.2 mi
14.8 km
Elkins Park
10.8 mi
17.4 km
Main Line
to Glenside
12.0 mi
19.3 km
12.8 mi
20.6 km
13.8 mi
22.2 km
15.1 mi
24.3 km
16.4 mi
26.4 km
17.7 mi
28.5 km
Forest Hills
18.2 mi
29.3 km
19.9 mi
32 km
21.1 mi
34 km
Neshaminy Falls
23.9 mi
38.5 km
Fairless Junction
26.4 mi
42.5 km
30.8 mi
49.6 km
New Jersey
32.5 mi
52.3 km
West Trenton
service ended in 1982
service ended in 1982
Belle Mead
Raritan Valley Line
to High Bridge
Bound Brook NJ Transit
Newark Penn Station Amtrak NJ Transit

The West Trenton Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line connecting Center City Philadelphia to the West Trenton section of Ewing Township, New Jersey.


Outbound train on the West Trenton Line between the Meadowbrook and Bethayres stations

The West Trenton Line connects Center City, Philadelphia with the West Trenton section of Ewing, New Jersey .The line splits from the SEPTA Main Line at Jenkintown, running northeast. At Bethayres, it crosses the Pennypack Trail that runs along the former Philadelphia, Newtown and New York Railroad, which once connected with the Fox Chase Line. At Oakford, the former New York Short Line Railroad, once part of the Reading's main line to West Trenton and Jersey City and currently CSX's Trenton Subdivision, merges. North of Oakford, the West Trenton Line runs parallel to CSX's Trenton Subdivision. The West Trenton Railroad Bridge, a concrete arch bridge, crosses the Delaware River to the final stop at West Trenton.


West Trenton station

Like all of the Reading Company's commuter lines, the West Trenton Line was electrified in the early 1930s and has a mix of at-grade and grade separated crossings. Electrified service to West Trenton was opened on July 26, 1931. The RDG planned to also electrify tracks between West Trenton and the CNJ Terminal in Jersey City for long-distance service, but had to drop plans for electrification outside of the commuter service area due to economic setbacks as a result of the Great Depression.

The line north of the split at Jenkintown was originally built as the National Railway project, opened on May 1, 1876, to provide an alternate to the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Companies' monopoly over Philadelphia-New York City travel. From Jenkintown to the Delaware River it was built by the North Pennsylvania Railroad as a branch, while the New Jersey section was built by the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad, merging with the Central Railroad of New Jersey at Bound Brook. In addition to the Reading Company, which leased the North Pennsylvania Railroad in 1879, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad also used the line for passenger and freight service to New York City, including its famed Royal Blue service. In 1976 the Reading merged into Conrail, and in 1983 SEPTA took over operations.

Prior to 1981, limited service continued north to Newark, New Jersey (Jersey City prior to the Aldene Plan of the 1960s), using Budd Company-built Diesel multiple units. This service was the last remains of the Reading's Crusader service, which began in 1937 using streamlined steam locomotives and passenger cars. SEPTA ended service beyond West Trenton on August 1, 1981; connecting NJT diesel service lasted until December 1982.[2][3] NJT has since considered service resumption on their West Trenton Line.[4]

R3 West Trenton.gif

Beginning in 1984 the route was designated R1 West Trenton as part of SEPTA's diametrical reorganization of its lines. West Trenton Line trains operated through the city center to the Airport Line on the ex-Pennsylvania side of the system.[5] In later years this behavior changed; the line was designated R3 West Trenton and trains continued on to the Media/Elwyn Line on weekdays and the Airport Line on weekends.[6] The R-number naming system was dropped on July 25, 2010.[7] As of 2019, most West Trenton Line trains terminate at 30th Street Station on weekdays, while most evening trains operate to Elwyn on the Media/Elwyn Line. Most weekend trains operate to Malvern or Thorndale on the Paoli/Thorndale Line.[8]

Between Oakford and West Trenton, the West Trenton Line previously followed CSX's Trenton Subdivision until passenger and freight operations were separated. SEPTA and CSX trains were separated between Woodbourne and West Trenton in 2015 ahead of the implementation of positive train control (PTC) on the West Trenton Line.[9]

SEPTA activated PTC on the West Trenton Line on October 24, 2016.[10]


Passenger Schedule (eff. 1974-09-30) of Reading Railway and Central of New Jersey joint service between Newark, N.J. and Phila. Reading Terminal via Belle Mead, N.J. on today's SEPTA West Trenton Line and NJT Raritan Valley Line.

The West Trenton Line includes the following stations north of the Center City Commuter Connection; stations indicated with a gray background are closed.

Station Miles (km)
from Center City
Connections / notes[12]
C Temple University Handicapped/disabled access 2.1 miles (3.4 km)     SEPTA: All Regional Rail lines
1 Wayne Junction Handicapped/disabled access 5.1 miles (8.2 km)     SEPTA: Chestnut Hill East Line, Fox Chase Line, Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Warminster Line, Bus transport 2, 23, 53, 75
Logan October 4, 1992[13] Logan was one of four stations discontinued by SEPTA on October 4, 1992.[13]
Fern Rock Transportation Center Handicapped/disabled access 7.3 miles (11.7 km)     SEPTA: Broad Street Line, Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Warminster Line, Bus transport 4, 28, 57, 70
Philadelphia city line
2 Melrose Park Handicapped/disabled access 8.4 miles (13.5 km)     SEPTA: Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Warminster Line
Elkins Park 9.2 miles (14.8 km) May 14, 1899[14]   SEPTA: Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Warminster Line, Bus transport 28
3 Jenkintown–Wyncote 10.8 miles (17.4 km)     SEPTA: Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Warminster Line, Bus transport 77
Noble 12.0 miles (19.3 km)     SEPTA: Bus transport 55
Rydal 12.8 miles (20.6 km)    
Meadowbrook 13.8 miles (22.2 km)    
Bethayres Handicapped/disabled access 15.1 miles (24.3 km)     SEPTA: Bus transport 24, 88
Philmont Handicapped/disabled access 16.4 miles (26.4 km)    
Philadelphia city line
Forest Hills Handicapped/disabled access 17.7 miles (28.5 km)     SEPTA: Bus transport 84
Somerton Handicapped/disabled access 18.2 miles (29.3 km)     SEPTA: Bus transport 58, 84
Philadelphia city line
Trevose Handicapped/disabled access 19.9 miles (32.0 km)    
Neshaminy Falls Handicapped/disabled access 21.1 miles (34.0 km)     SEPTA: Bus transport 58
Parkland March 1978[15]
4 Langhorne 23.9 miles (38.5 km)     SEPTA: Bus transport 14, 130
Fairless Junction March 1978[15]
Woodbourne 26.4 miles (42.5 km)    
Yardley 30.8 miles (49.6 km)    
Delaware River; PennsylvaniaNew Jersey state line
NJ West Trenton 32.5 miles (52.3 km)     NJ Transit Bus: Bus transport 608

Originally continued out to Newark, NJ until 1981.


Between FY 2008–FY 2014 yearly ridership on the West Trenton Line held steady at 3.5 million.[1]:94[16][17][18][19][20][21]

FY 2008
FY 2009
FY 2010
FY 2011
FY 2012
FY 2013
FY 2014


  1. ^ a b "Fiscal Year 2016 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  2. ^ Williams, Gerry (1998). Trains, Trolleys & Transit: A Guide to Philadelphia Area Rail Transit. Piscataway, NJ: Railpace Company. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-9621541-7-1. OCLC 43543368.
  3. ^ Pawson, John (March 1993). "New Backing for "Crusader" Route". The Delaware Valley Rail Passenger. Delaware Valley Association of Railroad Passengers. 13 (3).
  4. ^ "Chapter 1: Purpose and Need" (PDF). Proposed Restoration of Passenger Rail Service on the West Trenton Line Draft Environmental Assessment. New Jersey Transit. November 2007. p. 1-1.
  5. ^ Vuchic, Vukan; Kikuchi, Shinya (1984). General Operations Plan for the SEPTA Regional High Speed System. Philadelphia: SEPTA. pp. 2–8.
  6. ^ "R3 West Trenton" (PDF). SEPTA. June 21, 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 27, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
  7. ^ Lustig, David (November 2010). "SEPTA makeover". Trains Magazine. Kalmbach Publishing: 26.
  8. ^ "West Trenton Line" (PDF). SEPTA. December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  9. ^ "SEPTA West Trenton Passenger Service To Separate from CSX Freight Operations". SEPTA. August 20, 2015. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "Positive Train Control Update". SEPTA. May 1, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2017.
  11. ^ "West Trenton Line Timetable" (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. September 10, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  12. ^ "Trenton Line Timetable" (PDF). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. September 10, 2017. Retrieved October 17, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "New Rail Schedules Set". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. October 2, 1992. p. 36. Retrieved October 19, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  14. ^ "Elkins Station Opened at Ogontz Park". The Philadelphia Times. May 15, 1899. p. 3. Retrieved July 3, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  15. ^ a b "Rail Hikes Stalled". The Philadelphia Daily News. March 23, 1978. p. 58B. Retrieved July 4, 2019 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  16. ^ "Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2014. p. 60. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  17. ^ "Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2013. p. 44. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  18. ^ "Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. May 2012. p. 55. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  19. ^ "Fiscal Year 2012 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. July 2011. p. 94. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  20. ^ "Fiscal Year 2011 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2010. p. 70. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  21. ^ "FY 2010 Annual Service Plan" (PDF). SEPTA. June 2009. p. 63. Retrieved August 13, 2016.

External links[edit]