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The SEPTA Regional Rail Division provides commuter rail service on thirteen branches to over 150 active stations in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker and its suburbs. Service on most lines runs from 5:30 AM to midnight. The core of the Regional Rail system is the Center City Commuter Connection composed of three Center Citymarker stations in the "tunnel" corridor: the above-ground upper level of 30th Street Stationmarker; and the underground Suburban Stationmarker; and Market East Stationmarker. All trains stop at these Center City stations, and most also stop at Temple University stationmarker on the campus of Temple Universitymarker in North Philadelphia.

The 13 branches can be divided into those originally owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR), which would become Penn Central, and those of the Reading Company. Before the Center City Commuter Connection opened in November 1984, the Pennsylvania Railroad commuter lines and the Reading commuter lines were two completely separate railroads. Each had a separate Center City terminal, with the Pennsylvania Railroad lines terminating at Suburban Station, while the Reading lines terminated at Reading Terminalmarker.

Reading Terminal was replaced by Market East Station, which is part of the Center City Commuter Connection and sits partially under the former Reading Terminal. The Center City Commuter Connection united the two systems by turning the two terminal stations into through-stations, resulting in a more efficient system with most inbound trains from one line continuing on as outbound trains on another line. (Some limited/express trains terminate on one of the stub-end tracks at Suburban Station.) The closure of Reading Terminal spelled the end of service on diesel-only lines.


There are 13 branches on the Regional Rail system, with seven on the PRR side and six on the Reading Company side. Each PRR branch is paired up with a Reading branch and numbered from R1 to R8, except for R4, so that one route number describes two branches, one on the PRR side and one on the Reading side. This can lead to some confusion when referring to branches and finding which train to board, since there are two outlying endpoints for each route, and one has to remember the side or direction in addition to the R-number.

The Pennsylvania Railroad lines

The Reading Company lines


SEPTA Regional Rail logo, displayed on signage at select stations

There are 153 active stations on the Regional Rail system ( ), of which 51 are in the city of Philadelphiamarker, 41 are in Montgomery Countymarker, 29 are in Delaware Countymarker, 16 are in Bucks Countymarker, 10 are in Chester Countymarker, and 6 are outside the state of Pennsylvania. Passenger boardings within Philadelphia account for 61% of all trips on a typical weekday in 2003, with 45% from the three Center City stations and Temple University station.

County Stations Boardings in 2003 Boardings in 2001
Philadelphiamarker 51 60 967 61 970
Montgomery Countymarker 41 17 228 18 334
Delaware Countymarker 29 8 310 8 745
Bucks Countymarker 16 5 332 5 845
Chester Countymarker 10 5 154 5 079
Outside Pennsylvania 6 2 860 3 423
total 153 99 851 103 396


SEPTA AEM-7 engine 2301 enters the Temple University station.

SEPTA utilizes a mixed fleet of Budd Company, General Electric and St. Louis Car Company "Silverliner" multiple-unit (MU) self-operated cars. SEPTA also utilizes push-pull equipment consisting of coaches built by Bombardier and hauled by AEM-7 or ALP-44 electric locomotives identical to those used by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit (NJT) on its electrifed rail services for express and rush-hour service. The "Silverliner" coaches, first used by the PRR 1958 as the "Pioneer III," for a prototype intercity m.u. alternative to the GG1-hauled trains, were purchased by SEPTA in 1963 as "Silverliner II" units for both the PRR and Reading lines and were built by the Budd Corporation in Philadelphia. In 1967, the PRR took delivery of the St. Louis-built "Silverliner III" cars, which featured left-hand side controls (railroad cars traditionally have right-hand side controls) and flush toilets (since removed), and were used primarily for Harrisburgmarker-Philadelphia service.

The bulk of the fleet, the "Silverliner IV", were built by General Electric in Philadelphia and Erie, PA with Budd components, and were delivered in 1974-76, prior to the formation of Conrail. The "Silverliner II", "Silverliner III", and "Silverliner IV" cars are used on all Regional Rail lines, while the Bombardier push-pull equipment is used exclusively for R2-Marcus Hook/Wilmington/Newark, R3-West Trenton, R5-Bryn Mawr/Paoli/Thorndale, and R7-Trenton peak express service. The push-pull equipment is used only for express runs because its slow acceleration, compared to the Silverliner m.u. equipment (each car, including the "married pair" units, have its own motors), making it less suitable for local service with close station spacing and frequent stops and starts. Some "Silverliner III" cars were even converted for exclusive R1-Airport use – they featured special luggage racks (were the old toilet closets were located, and are still in use to this day), yellow window paintings, and the "PHL" logo used for the Philadelphia International Airportmarker. Currently, all cars, regardless of the model, have a blended red and blue SEPTA window logos, and (required by Amtrak for operations on both the Northeast and Keystone Corridors) flashing "ditch lights," which are switched on at grade crossings and when "deadheading" through stations. SEPTA also owns 2 "Arrow II" m.u. cars built by Budd and once operated by New Jersey Transit for its electrified service to and from New York Citymarker and Hoboken Terminalmarker. The "Arrow II" car is nearly identical to that of the "Silverliner IV", but lacks the distinctive dynamic brake roof "hump" on the car, and has a "diamond" pantograph instead of the "T" pantograph used on the "Silverliner." The "Arrow II" are used as part of work trains, such as catenary inspection and leaf removal.

With the exception of the "Pioneer III" (Silverliner I) coaches, which have since been retired and (except for one, which is on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvaniamarker in nearby Strasburg, Pennsylvaniamarker) scrapped, all three Silverliner models are compatible with one another. SEPTA is currently undergoing the process of retiring the "Silverliner II" and "Silverliner III" cars and replacing them with the "Silverliner V" model.

The new cars, designed and to be initially built in South Koreamarker by Hyundai-Rotem, with final assembly at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyardmarker in South Philadelphia (near the old GE assembly facility that built the "Silverliner IV" cars in 1974-75), will have new features that will allow both increased capacity and ADA compliance.

Resembling a "stretched" Market-Frankford Line M-4 car, but sporting a red-colored pantograph instead of third rail shoes, the "Silverliner V" cars will have three doors on each side – four "quarter doors" that will facilitate boarding and unboarding at stations with either high or low-level platforms, two high-level center doors for faster arrivals and departures at the major Center City zone stations (University City, 30th Street, Suburban/Penn Center, Market East, and Temple University), and wider aisles and seats, and dedicated areas for wheelchairs and power scooters. In place of the glass-reinforced plastic placards denoting the train route, the train route and destination will be displayed on new colored LED panels on both the front and sides of the train, and improved P/A systems will allow conductors to call out stations, especially on the R5-Bryn Mawr/Paoli/Thorndale line due to the closeness of the stations between Paoli and Overbrook.

In addition to the new "Silverliner V" cars, the "Silverliner IV" cars have been upgraded with silicone-based transformers (the original transformers used PCBs) and now sport new red-colored pantographs that will allow both the "Sliverliner IV" and "Silverliner V" cars to look aesthetically and functionally alike.

All current SEPTA equipment is compatible with the power supplies on both the ex-PRR (Amtrak-supplied) and ex-Reading (SEPTA-supplied) sides of the system. The entire system uses 12,000-volt/25 Hz power lines that were erected by the PRR and Reading Railroads between 1915 and 1935, with the system "phase break" being located at the northern entrance to the Center City commuter tunnel between the Market East Stationmarker and the Temple Universitymarker Station.

Speed limits

All SEPTA locomotive-hauled push-pull coaches, the current Silverliner IV, and planned Silverliner V m.u. cars are designed for a maximum speed of 100 mph, while the Silverliner II and III cars, despite their original design speed of 90 mph, are now, due to their age, operated at 85 mph. However, most of SEPTA trackage is limited to a lower speed due to track conditions such as sharp curves.

These speed limits only apply to passenger trains. Freight trains have much lower limits. Also, slow orders and switch speed limits are not included below.

SEPTA Main Line

SEPTA car 2407

This line runs from 30th Street Station to Lansdale.

  • 30th Street Station to Market East: 15 mph
  • Market East to Temple University: after a 15 mph curve, the speed limit is 45 to 50 mph going northbound (uphill) and 35 mph southbound (downhill) up to MP 1.7, due to a 2.8% gradient. North of that, the limit is 45 mph.
  • Temple University to 16th Street Junction: 45 mph with some 40 mph curves. Track 4 is limited to 30 mph due to tight S curves around the station platforms at Temple University. 30 mph through 16th St Jct interlocking.
  • 16th Street Junction to Wayne Junction: 50 mph with 30 mph restriction through interlockings.
  • Wayne Junction to Jenkintown: 60 mph.
  • Jenkintown north to Lansdale: 55 mph with some 45 mph curves.

Branch lines

Generally, routes which take diverging routes at switches or use slip switches must slow down to 30 mph or 45 mph, depending on the switch design.

  • R1 Airport: 79 mph between 60th and 90th Street interlockings, with a speed restriction of 45 mph on viaduct crossing over I-95 to access terminal stations and a 35 mph speed restriction on crossover bridge and between R2 Marcus Hook/Wilmington/Newark line and main trunk south of 60th Street.
  • R2 Marcus Hook/Wilmington/Newark: 90 to 100 mph, with many restrictions. From 30th St Station to Sharon Hill, 40 to 90 mph. Wilmington 30 mph. Churchman's Crossing to Newark, 35 to 80 mph.
  • R2 Warminster: From Glenside to Warminster, 40 mph. 15 mph speed restriction in Hatboromarker near PA 332 (Jacksonville Rd.).
  • R3 Media/Elwyn: 50 mph between Arsenal Junction.
  • R5 Paoli/Thorndale: 70 mph, except for 90 mph section west of Downingtown. Some 50 and 55 mph curves. Line is currently being upgraded for higher speed operations.
  • R6 Norristown:
  • R7 Trenton: 90 to 110 mph, with many restrictions. 30 mph in Zoo, then 70 mph to North Philadelphia station, 40 mph through Frankford Junction, then 50 to 90 mph to Bridesburg. 80 mph in Trenton.
  • R7 Chestnut Hill East: 40 mph. Three 15 mph curves, one 35 mph curve.
  • R8 Chestnut Hill West: 50 mph. Some 30 and 40 mph curves, and a 15 mph curve at North Philadelphia station, which also has a 3.47% gradient uphill going northbound.


GE Silverliner IV at 30th Street Station

SEPTA was created to provide government subsidies to passenger railroads and transit operations, and in 1966 had contracts with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Company to continue commuter rail services in the Philadelphia region.

The Pennsy and the Reading

The Pennsylvania Railroad ("The Pennsy", or PRR) and the Reading Company (RDG) operated both passenger and freight trains along their tracks in the Philadelphia region. To improve the efficiency of their commuter passenger lines, both companies added electrification to their busiest lines. The system used is an overhead catenary trolley wire that is energized at 11,000 V single-phase AC at 25 Hertz (Hz), very uncommon by today's standards as regular American households use double-phase AC at 60 Hz. The Pennsylvania Railroad started using this system on the Paoli line in 1915, the Chestnut Hill West line in 1918, and the Media/West Chester and Wilmington lines in 1928. Both the Pennsy and the Reading Company continued their electrification projects into the 1930s, replacing trains pulled by steam locomotives with electric multiple unit cars and locomotives. PRR electrification reached Trenton and Norristown in 1930. Reading began electrified operation in 1931 to West Trenton, Hatboro (extended to Warminstermarker in 1974) and Doylestown, and in 1933 to Chestnut Hill East and Norristown.

Carrying passengers had been unprofitable for the railroads since about 1950, due to the rise in automobile ownership and the building of the Interstate Highway System. Because of this, the city of Philadelphia undertook a partnership with the Reading and Pennsylvania Railroads in the late 50s to subsidize commuter service. This, however, was not enough to counter the deterioration of the railroad infrastructure. The city did purchase new commuter equipment starting in the 1960s, the Silverliners. The railroads were losing money in general and were keen to get rid of their passenger operations so that they could focus on more profitable freight service. Plus, the noticeable neglect of their passenger service was becoming an issue with commuters and local governments.

On February 1, 1968, the Pennsylvania Railroad merged with the New York Central railroad to become Penn Central, in an effort to remain solvent. Only two years later, Penn Central filed for bankruptcy on June 21, 1970.

In 1971, the Reading Company filed for bankruptcy after being unprofitable for several years, mostly due to the selling, by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad (now CSX) of its minority stakes in the Reading system after the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad was absorbed by the C & O in the 1960s. The B & O used the Reading's (and its Jersey Central Railroad subsidiary) tracks from Philadelphia to Jersey City, New Jerseymarker for its Washington-New York service, but eliminated passenger service north of Baltimore, and hence to Jersey City, in 1958.


In 1976, Conrail took over the railroad-related assets and operations of the bankrupt Pennsylvania and Reading railroads, including the commuter rail operations. Conrail provided commuter rail services under contract to SEPTA until 1983, when SEPTA took over.

The SEPTA takeover was overseen by David L. Gunn, general manager from 1979 to 1984. When SEPTA assumed operations of the commuter lines, they attempted to impose transit (bus and subway driver's) pay scales and work rules, which was met by resistance by the BLE, who called a strike that lasted for 108 days. In the end, SEPTA would treat them as proper railroad workers, but their pay scale is still lower than that of other Northeast commuter railroads such as NJ Transit. SEPTA's Regional Rail also suffered ridership losses which would take several years to rebuild.

The end of diesel routes

SEPTA's current regional rail system is entirely run with electric-powered multiple unit cars and locomotives. Diesel trains were last run in January 1983, on the Fox Chase-Newtown Rapid Transit Line.

In the 1970s, Conrail (under contract to SEPTA) operated diesel-hauled trains on the former Reading lines from Philadelphia's Reading Terminalmarker to:

Most trains were either Budd Rail Diesel Cars, or locomotive-hauled push-pull trains with former Reading F7's.

Expansion and cutbacks in the 1980s

In November 1984, the Center City Commuter Connection, an underground connection between the Pennsy and Reading lines, along with a new station at Market East, opened. Previously, Pennsy commuter trains would terminate at Suburban Station and Reading trains at Reading Terminal. The connection converted Suburban Station into a through-station and rerouted Reading trains down a steep incline and into a tunnel which turns sharply west near the new Market East Station. Converting terminals into through station increases the efficiency of and reduces the number of tracks needed for the trains.

On April 28, 1985, the R1 Airport line opened, providing service from Suburban Station via 30th Street Station to the Philadelphia International Airportmarker. This line runs along Amtrak's NEC to a bridge which carries it over the NEC and onto Reading trackage which passes close to the airport. At the airport, a new bridge carries it over I-95 and into the airport terminals between the baggage claim in arrivals and the check-in counters in departures.

Declining ridership, a series of track and bridge washouts, and other results of deferred maintenance resulted in additional service cutbacks in the 1980s:

  • R3 West Chestermarker service was cut back to Elwyn in 1986 due to unsatisfactory track conditions west of Elwyn.
  • R6 Ivy Ridge service was cut back to Cynwyd on May 17, 1986 due to concerns about the Pencoyd Viaduct over the Schuylkill River.
  • R8 Diesel service between Fox Chase and Newtown was eliminated in January 1983, due to lack of ridership and SEPTA's desire to operate electrified-only service. Though this service was initially terminated along with diesel services to Allentown and Pottsville in 1981, SEPTA reinstated service using operators from the transit division. This caused a rift in unions with the organization, adding to the disastrous 1983 strike.


Because of decades of deferred maintenance on the Reading Viaductmarker between the Center City Commuter Connection and Wayne Junction, SEPTA undertook a 10-month, $354 million project to overhaul the viaduct in 1992 and 1993. Labeled "RailWorks," by SEPTA, the project, spurred by an emergency bridge replacement project in 1983 shortly after the tunnel opened, resulted in the replacement of several dilapidated bridges, the installing of new continuous-welded rail and overhead catenary, the construction of new rail stations at Temple Universitymarker and North Broad Street, and the upgrading of signals.

Built by the Reading Company and opened in 1898 along with Reading Terminalmarker, the Reading Viaduct is a series of bridges and embankments that allows trains to run on elevated railroad tracks, separated from road traffic and pedestrians. The 1983 bridge replacement, over Columbia (now Cecil B. Moore) Avenue near Temple University, was in such poor condition that the bridge inspector actually saw the structure sag every time a train passed over the bridge, and along with further inspection, saw that the bridge was in imminent danger of collapsing. The viaduct was completely shut down during each phase, with the R6 Norristown, R7 Chestnut Hill East, and R8 Fox Chase lines suspended during the shutdown. Other Reading lines only came as far into the city as the Fern Rock Transportation Center, where riders had to transfer to the Broad Street Subway. The number of subway trains needed to carry both regular Broad Street Subway riders, as well as passengers transferring to the subway because of RailWorks, exceeded the capacity of the above-ground two-track stub-end Fern Rock Station of the Broad Street line. In 1993 a loop track was added around the Fern Rock Yard which northbound trains use to approach the station from the rear. The loop avoids a switch which had caused the bottleneck.

During RailWorks, SEPTA ran a few diesel trains during peak-hours from the Reading side branches, along non-electrified Conrail trackage, to 30th Street Station. Upon the completion of RailWorks, the Reading Viaduct became the "newest" piece of railroad owned by SEPTA, although other projects have since allowed improved service on the ex-Reading side of the system.

Original route numbering plan

The original Regional Rail plan with R1 to R7

Regional Rail lines are numbered from R1 to R8, with the notable omission of R4. The reasons for this are rather complicated, going back to the original planning stages.

Part of the planning for the Center City Commuter Connection was to decide on how trains would be routed through the tunnel and which branches would be paired up.

The original plan for the system was made by University of Pennsylvaniamarker professor Vukan Vuchic, based on the S-Bahn commuter rail systems in Germanymarker. Numbers were assigned to the PRR-side lines in order from south (Airport) to northeast (Trenton), and the RDG-side matches were chosen to roughly balance ridership, to attempt to avoid trains running full on one side and then running mostly empty on the other. The following lines were recommended:

  • R1 Airport to West Trenton
  • R2 Marcus Hook (now Newark) to Warminster
  • R3 Media/West Chester (now Elwyn) to Chestnut Hill West
  • R4 Bryn Mawr (on the same tracks as the R5 Paoli) to Fox Chase
  • R5 Paoli (now Thorndale) to Lansdale/Doylestown - express from Center City to Bryn Mawr, with R4 running local
  • R6 Ivy Ridge (now Cynwyd) to Norristown
  • R7 Trenton to Chestnut Hill East

In addition to the Center City Commuter Connection, it was assumed that SEPTA would build one more connection, the Swampoodle Connection. This would allow PRR-side trains from Chestnut Hill West to join the RDG Norristown line instead of the PRR mainline at North Philadelphia station. The Chestnut Hill West line and the Norristown line run adjacent to each other at that point, in the Philadelphia neighborhood of Swampoodle. The Swampoodle Connection was never built, leading (among other factors) to the following changes:

  • R3 could not go to Chestnut Hill West, so R3 trains from Media/West Chester instead went to West Trenton along the R1. Service to Chestnut Hill West was picked up by the R8.
  • R4 was dropped; The R5 Paoli runs local along its entire length most of the time, and Fox Chase became half of the R8.
  • R8 was added for Fox Chase to Chestnut Hill West service, using the former R4-Fox Chase and R3-Chestnut Hill West halves.

One of the assumptions in this plan was that ridership would increase after the connection was open. Instead, ridership dropped after the 1983 strike. While recent rises in oil prices have resulted in increased rail ridership for daily commuters, many off-peak trains run with few riders. Pairing up the rail lines based on ridership is less relevant today than it was when the system was implemented.

At a later time, R1 was applied to the former RDG tracks, shared with the R2 and R5 lines to Glensidemarker, and R3 to Jenkintownmarker, and R1-Airport trains ran to Glenside rather than becoming R3 trains to West Trenton. In later years, SEPTA became more flexible, and now a decent number of trains change number designations downtown to cope with differences in ridership on various lines.

Since the original service, the following termini have changed:

  • R2 - Marcus Hook was extended to Wilmington and Newark
  • R3 - West Chester was cut back to Elwyn
  • R5 - Paoli was extended to Downingtown and Parkesburg, then later cut back to Downingtown, and later re-extended to Thorndale
  • R6 - Ivy Ridge was cut back to Cynwyd


SEPTA RRD Ridership

Overall ridership on SEPTA peaked in 1980, with over 373 million unlinked trips per year. The Regional Rail Division also had its highest ridership in 1980, with over 32 million passengers. Regional Rail ridership declined to a low of just under 13 million passengers in 1983, partly due to a drawn-out strike by the railroad unions, partly due to discontinuing service to many stations and outlying points, and partly due to the decreasing price of gasoline and its effect of increasing automobile usage.

In 1992, ridership dipped again due to economic factors and due to SEPTA's RailWorks project, which shut down half of the railroad over two periods of several months each in 1992 and 1993. A mild recession in 1992-94 also dampened ridership, but a booming economy in the late 1990s helped increase ridership to near the peak level of 1980.

In 2000, ridership started a slight decline due to the slow economy, but in 2003 ridership started increasing again. The average weekday passenger counts have not increased at the same rate as the total annual passenger counts, which may mean that weekend ridership is increasing.

In 2008, Regional Rail ridership hit an all time high of over 35 million. In 2009, it was down 1% of this high.

The total unlinked trips on each division for each fiscal year are:

Fiscal year City Transit Victory Frontier Railroad Total
1979 306,662,954 17,449,413 1,305,566 31,539,688 356,957,621
1980 320,857,512 18,560,506 1,445,188 32,194,460 373,057,666
1981 278,866,193 14,295,933 1,367,800 27,109,824 321,639,750
1982 296,536,691 17,001,555 1,434,986 21,826,854 336,800,086
1983 312,995,769 18,119,737 1,675,764 12,856,207 345,647,477
1984 322,918,885 18,518,234 2,026,374 15,960,307 359,423,800
1985 327,605,093 17,877,740 2,063,000 18,788,437 366,334,270
1986 312,094,571 14,136,264 2,126,953 22,522,596 350,880,384
1987 311,444,133 15,279,639 1,979,042 22,932,834 351,635,648
1988 309,784,121 15,865,410 2,027,073 23,797,289 351,473,893
1989 302,525,081 15,906,774 2,117,211 24,143,591 344,692,657
1990 290,138,705 14,501,181 2,317,932 24,381,416 331,339,234
1991 271,584,306 14,869,870 2,467,555 23,312,199 312,233,930
1992 260,260,020 14,660,266 2,469,902 21,128,888 298,519,076
1993 272,089,292 14,730,858 2,558,299 19,185,111 308,563,560
1994 267,920,532 14,662,759 2,676,023 20,875,493 306,134,807
1995 252,499,436 14,086,164 2,566,229 22,558,492 291,710,321
1996 251,950,239 13,169,533 2,658,166 22,545,896 290,323,834
1997 252,309,545 13,680,103 3,035,456 23,012,000 292,037,104
1998 24,805,000
1999 25,088,000
2000 29,437,000
2001 28,671,000
2002 28,300,000
2003 28,058,200
2004 28,234,986
2005 28,632,658
2006 30,433,000 296,586,000
2007 256,120,000 15,902,000 3,454,000 31,712,000 307,188,000
2008 269,438,000 35,454,000 325,000,000[107743]
2009 329,600,000[107744]

Source: SEPTA 1997 Ridership Census, Annual Service Plans FY 2001 through 2007.

More detalied ridership and financial figures area as folllows,
Fiscal year Annual Passengers Weekday Passengers Operating Revenue Operating Expenses Operating Ratio
2008 35,454,000 128,000
2007 31,712,000 116,800
2006 30,433,000 107,000 97,022,000 216,174,000 44.9%
2005 28,632,658 101,203 93,152,976 227,889,535 40.9%
2004 28,234,986 100,630 98,037,889 220,016,241 44.6%
2003 28,058,200 104,826 96,052,000 206,827,000 46.4%
2002 28,300,000 97,510,000 196,139,000 49.7%
2001 28,671,000 89,995,000 199,983,000 45.0%
2000 29,437,000 84,508,000 184,761,000 45.7%
1999 25,088,000 80,093,000 182,215,000 44.0%
1998 24,805,000 99,212
1997 23,012,000 91,862 73,309,000 179,576,000 40.8%
1996 22,545,896 92,284 77,035,000 179,135,000 43.0%
1995 22,558,492 89,149 67,327,000 170,582,000 39.5%
1994 20,875,493 73,000 61,549,000 177,114,000 34.8%
1993 19,185,111 67,000 56,903,000 153,783,000 37.0%
1992 21,128,888 74,000
1991 23,312,199 81,000
1990 24,381,416 85,000
1989 24,143,591 84,000
1988 23,797,289 83,000
1987 22,932,834 83,000
1986 22,522,596 81,000
1985 18,788,437 69,000
1984 15,960,307
1983 12,856,207
1982 21,826,854
1981 27,109,824
1980 32,194,460
1979 31,539,688
1978 31,460,000
1977 34,368,000
1976 31,205,000
1975 30,535,000
1974 30,812,000
1973 29,635,000
1972 30,748,000


  • 1966: SEPTA begins contracts with the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Company to subsidize commuter lines.
  • 1974-1976: SEPTA orders and takes delivery of Silverliner IV M.U.s
  • 1976: Conrail takes over bankrupt railroads and continues providing commuter services for SEPTA.
  • 1979: Service from Bethlehem to Allentown is discontinued. R2 Naamans Road station closes.
  • 1980: 52nd Street station closes. Ivy Ridge station opens and service is extended to it on what is now the R6 Cynwyd.
  • 1981: Service from Hatfield to Bethlehem, and from Norristown to Reading/Pottsville is discontinued. R2 Baldwin station closes. R5 Exton station opens. Fares increased.
  • January 1, 1983: SEPTA officially takes over commuter lines from Conrail.
  • 1983: R8 service from Fox Chase to Newtown is "temporarily" discontinued. R5 Downingtown station opens. R8 Westmoreland station closes. BLE calls a strike that lasts 108 days.
  • November 1984: The Center City Commuter Connection opens.[107745]
  • November 16, 1984: The Columbia Avenue (now Cecil B. Moore Avenue) bridge near old Temple University station found to be unsafe, putting all four tracks out of service north of Market East Station.[107746]
  • December 1984: Temporary bridge opens, allowing service to resume north of Market East Station.[107747]
  • April 28, 1985: The R1 opens to Philadelphia International Airport.[107748]
  • 1986: R3 service from Elwyn to West Chester is "temporarily" discontinued.
  • May 17, 1986: R6 service from Cynwyd to Ivy Ridge is "temporarily" discontinued.
  • 1990: R5 service extended from Downingtown to Parkesburg.
  • 1990: Reading-era "Blueliner" and PRR-era Pioneer III/Silverliner I M.U.s retired.
  • March 12, 1992: New Fern Rock station opens, replacing both the old Fern Rock and Tabor stations.
  • 1992: First phase of RailWorks, a project to reconstruct several bridges and viaducts on the former Reading Company's main line in North Philadelphia, shuts down the railroad between Market East and Fern Rock stations for six months.
  • May 2, 1993 Second and last phase of Railworks begins.
  • September 9, 1993 Second and last phase of Railworks ends.
  • November 10, 1996: R5 service to Parkesburg is cut back to Downingtown (later restored to Thorndale at a new station). Fellwick, Fishers, Fulmor, and Shawmont stations close.
  • March 21, 1997: Parking added to Extonmarker station, adding 116 spaces at a cost of $300,000.
  • 1997: Eastwick station opens on the R1 Airport line.
  • 2002: SEPTA announces the planned building of 104 new "Silverliner V" m.u. cars to replace aging Budd-built "Silverliner II" and St. Louis Company-built "Silverliner III" cars. New cars, identical to the GE-built "Silverliner IV" cars, will have wider seats and a center-opening door for easier boarding or departing at high-level platform stations in Center City.
  • 2003: R2 Lamokin and R7 Wissinoming stations close.
  • 2006: SEPTA board of directors approve contract for ROTEM to build 104 new "Silverliner V" cars. Contract calls for building of car bodies in South Koreamarker with final assembly and testing done at the former Philadelphia Naval Ship Yard complex in South Philadelphia. SEPTA also started negotiations with Wawa Food Markets to purchase land in Wawa, Pennsylvaniamarker (the location of the "Red Roof" corporate office) to build a new Park-and-Ride facility for a planned restoration in R3-Media/Elwyn service to Wawa.

External links


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