Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Media to West Chester Line - The (Rail)Road Less Traveled

A LOT has been said, written and spent over the last few years regarding the feasibility of restoring the Media/Elwyn line all the way out to West Chester, as it once was back in 1986.    There's still much work to complete that vision, but that doesn't mean things haven't been happening.  Budgets and lack thereof,  have been the major factor toward progress, especially with regard to the proposed parking garage to be located between the Franklin Mint property and Wawa.

What has taken place and routinely worked on by SEPTA is the segment of rail between Elwyn Station and Lenni.  As a kid, these tracks were a sort of adventure for us and we would enthusiastically explore every inch of this line.  Even in the last few years, broken up over a few trips, we've walked the whole line all the way out to West Chester.  A great adventure for those who like that kind of stuff.

Here's a trip we did last weekend that shows a totally refurbished, and looks to me as ready,  rail line that spans 2.3 miles from Elwyn to Lenni.  Much of this work wasn't done recently, as it has been in this state of repair for around two or three years.

Recent work done to build a platform near Rt 352.
This is the old Williamson School Train Station not far from the local sledding hill "Baker's Hill"  Or at least that's what we called it.  This train station was still occupied by someone who lived there up until the 80's.  I don't remember it ever being a being a functional station.  (looking towards Lenni)
Signal lights on and operating near Williamson School (looking towards Media)

New gravel ballast and timbers. (looking towards Lenni)

New posts for catenary cabling


  1. Seems that they are getting serious. But this stretch of track that was continually worked on services the training yard at Lenni. After that its seriously in need of repair. Epically the bridges !

  2. Very cool post. I thought the extension to wawa was definitely going to happen. I doubt they'll ever get the projected ridership numbers to support the restoration to west chester. Cool pictures and information nonetheless.

  3. The RR was reworked between Glen Riddle and Lenni 4 years ago as part of the American Recovery Act putting America back to work,they did that stretch and stopped cold,it's been collecting dust ever since,it's true they have been [Septa] working in the Williamson Station area,I wouldn't count on the RR going any farther than Wawa,if anyone [including myself] has hiked those tracks in the last 10 years,they will see just what kind of bad condition the rails and track bed are in from Wawa out to Glen Mills,I'd be careful walking it from Glen Mills out to West Chester,last time I did it locals that live along the tracks in the Cheyney area gave me some nasty looks......

  4. A few years ago I saw the work putting in new ballast and replacing track near Lenni. But also heard that some neighbors of the tracks who had some kind of political connection found a way to delay or stop the plans. Hoping it still goes forward.

  5. From SEPTA website:

    See Tracks? Think Train!

    Operation Lifesaver, Inc., a non-profit organization founded in 1972 and dedicated to rail safety public education has partnered with federal safety agencies and the nation's railroads to launch the See Tracks? Think Train! campaign aimed at raising awareness about risky pedestrian and driver behavior around railroad tracks.
    *Did you know:
    A person or vehicle is struck by a train roughly once every three hours

    908 pedestrians were injured or killed while walking on or near railroad tracks in 2013, up 7.7 percent from 843 in 2012

    95 percent of all rail-related deaths involve drivers trying to beat a train, or people trespassing on railroad tracks

    More than 50 percent of people injured or killed while trespassing on railroad tracks have drugs or alcohol in their system

    *Statistics and information provided by Operation Life Saver "See Tracks? Think Train!"
    Learn more about the See Tracks? Think Train! campaign here and get safety tips when riding SEPTA on the Safety Tips page of this website