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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 - 5/30/2010

SEPTA Main Line North Wales Station North Wales PA May 16 2010
North Wales Station is one of the oldest station buildings still in use on the SEPTA system. Built in 1873 by the North Pennsylvania Railroad, it originally featured a cupola (as seen from a postcard from the turn of the twentieth century). Sometime after the North Penn was absorbed by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1879, the station's brick exterior was painted cream with brown trim. For at least the last 100 plus years, the building has always worn a coat of paint, the latest courtesy of the last business to occupy the station. Part of the restoration of the building by SEPTA was to strip off the garish paint down to the bare brick in anticipation of repainting it in the cream and brown scheme of the Reading Company.
Once the paint was removed, however, many people voiced their appreciation of the bare brick appearance, which is the way it probably looked when first built. In an effort restore one of the most historic buildings in the borough to its original state, a call went out in search of evidence documenting the station in its pre-painted form. The problem is that pre-1900 photographs are few and far between, and so far none of the station have been found.
Complicating matters is the fact that in repointing the brick as part of the restoration, a modern cement-based mortar was used instead of the original lime-based mortar, which if left exposed to the elements could ultimately destroy the facade. That coupled with the fact that the method of paint removal apparently destroyed the hard fire-skin of the bricks, which protected their softer core, may mean the eventual return of the cream and brown of 1906, if only to preserve the building's structural integrity. As of now, an agreement between the borough, the North Wales Historic Preservation District and SEPTA has the exterior brick being treated with a translucent sealer which should last 5-7 years, at which time the matter will be revisted. At least the station is still standing, and looking good.

All pictures May 16 2010 Copyright © 2010 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 May 30, 2010

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