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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Day - 01/19/2016

Reading-Conrail City Branch Philadelphia PA January 16 2016

On January 16 2016, Friends of the Rail Park and the Center City District sponsored a tour of the proposed Rail Park that would occupy the former Reading Railroad (and later Conrail) City Branch and the remaining portion of the unused Reading Viaduct up to Fairmount Avenue. The first part of the tour started at the tunnel near 22nd Street, proceeded along the streets above the cut and ended at Broad and Noble Streets.

The territory covered in the second part of the tour is much closer to becoming a park than the tunnel and the cut. FRP and CCD are hoping to break ground on Phase 1 of the project, starting at the foot of the viaduct at Noble and 13th Streets, later in 2016. To that end, to provide support for the creation and maintenance of the park, the Bacon Brothers will be playing a benefit concert on February 4 2016 at Union Transfer on Spring Garden Street. You can also join the Friends of the Rail Park here.

In a bit of fortuitous luck, the grade of the ramp from the bridges over 13th Street to the elevated section, designed by 19th century engineers, just happens to match the requirements for the 21st century's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Talk about thinking ahead.
The approach and the viaduct up to the point where it merges with the Ninth Street Branch will be landscaped to add a green ribbon to the concrete jungle.
Beyond Phase 1, the future of the Ninth Street Branch promises spectacular views of the city from Vine Street with a pedestrian overpass to connect the park to the convention center and Chinatown.
Much of the old Reading Company infrastructure should remain, a poignant connection with nature and the past just blocks from City Hall.
A bit of the old and the new: Comcast Tower framed by the catenary/signal supports of the Ninth Street Branch.
Like this signal (lit by the sun), the project will hopefully proceed (actually two reds over a yellow is "restricting" but you get the idea).

I think the spirit of the park can be best summed up by the enterprising genius who managed to erect a swing in the middle of the right of way, hanging down from the overhead catenary support.

Just another day in the (future) park.

All pictures January 16 2016 Copyright © 2016 John P. Almeida

Photographs for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image. Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.

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Last Updated January 19, 2016

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