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Philly NRHS - Railfan Pictures of the Week


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The Philadelphia Chapter of the

National Railway Historical Society

Established in 1936


Railfan Pictures of the Week - 01/12/2003

September 1992

CP Belmont on Conrail Harrisburg Line and Logan Station on SEPTA Main Line

During the two year Railworks Project that began in the summer of 1992, SEPTA service on the former Reading side of the system was terminated at newly constructed Fern Rock Station so that the line below Wayne Junction to Market East Station could be rebuilt. At Fern Rock, passengers from the R5 Doylestown/Lansdale, R2 Warminster, and R3 West Trenton trains would transfer to the Broad Street Subway to continue their journey to center city Philadelphia. Initially all service on the R8 Fox Chase line was to be suspended for the duration, as it entered the main line below Fern Rock. After vocal opposition was mounted to the suspension, SEPTA offered an alternative: 2 trips each morning and evening rush hour run directly from Fox Chase to center city Philadelphia.

The route was the Conrail Low Grade line from CP Newtown Junction to CP River, onto CP Belmont and the Belmont Connecting Railroad to CP Zoo where it could connect to Amtrak's NEC and into the Suburban Concourse at 30th Street Station. Although 30th Street Station is actually west of center city, SEPTA could not run the trains into the tunnels to Suburban Station and Market East due to the fumes emitted by the diesel engines used for the runs. SEPTA used its new RL1 locomotives, #60 and #61 built by Republic Locomotive Works, for the power along with some of its new Bombadier coaches and cab control cars.

Unfortunately the new units were not always reliable, and sometimes the trains were rescued by one of SEPTA's SW1200's or cancelled altogether and, as such, ridership did not reach expected levels. The next year the experiment was not repeated on the Fox Chase line. Instead SEPTA temporarily sent a couple of its AEM-7's on loan to New Jersey Transit in exchange for a trio of ex Erie-Lackawanna U34CH's. The units, one in NJT Disco paint, one in EL Bluebird and the third in SEPTA colors, were used for work train service and to haul similar runs on the more heavily traveled R5 Lansdale and R3 West Trenton lines. The RL1's were also used occasionally in this service, usually as a pair but sometimes alone.

c. 2003 John P. Almeida


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Website created June 12, 2002

Last Updated January 12, 2003