WEST CHESTER — West Chester Borough Council unanimously handed a decision in assist of SEPTA and Chester County finding out a less expensive various to attach the borough to downtown Philadelphia by rail.
The borough rail committee has pitched plans for a $16 million West Chester Metro that’s considerably cheaper than a standard commuter/regional rail line.
The metro would shuttle between West Chester and Wawa in Delaware County, the place SEPTA restored commuter rail service in August, operating on current SEPTA proper of method the place tracks nonetheless stay. Direct SEPTA commuter prepare service from West Chester to Middle Metropolis led to 1986 due partly to an absence of riders.
Reestablishing typical rail service would value at the very least $380 million. SEPTA representatives have reported that its $12 billion 12-year capital price range accommodates a $4.6 billion backlog on crucial restore initiatives, making typical commuter by rail unfeasible.
As an alternative, the Metro would use one-of-a-kind and less expensive battery-powered gentle rail Class 230 trains constructed by Pittsburgh-based Railroad Growth Corp.
The road would use recycled London Underground vehicles. Two automobile shuttles would carry 194 passengers. Reducing-edge battery know-how, with quick recharging and a 60-mile vary is envisioned.
The trains would make stops in West Chester, West Chester College, Westtown, Cheyney College and the brand new Wawa station, the place commuters would join with current SEPTA trains to succeed in Middle Metropolis.
The journey time for West Chester to Wawa could be 12 minutes, with plans for 21-round journeys every day. Trains would possibly run from 4:45 am to 12:14 am with five-minute connections in Wawa. Shuttles at Wawa would look ahead to late SEPTA trains.
The rail committee has mentioned that your entire rail journey to Middle Metropolis would final for 64 minutes, with a switch at Wawa. Conversely, the 104 SEPTA bus, with a switch to the SEPTA Market-Frankford El now takes 95 minutes.
A lot of what’s dubbed by the committee as a “pop-up” metro equipment could be rented. Battery-powered Class 230 vehicles, proprietary charging infrastructure, modular ADA-compliant platforms and technical assist would all be used.
With renting at a decrease value, upfront monetary commitments could be minimized, and adaptability and quick implementation not discovered in additional typical approaches are promoting factors, in line with TR Hickey, in a PowerPoint presentation at a current borough council assembly.
Hickey famous that in line with the committee, inhabitants alongside the West Chester Department has grown 70 % because the line’s 1986 closing, with West Chester experiencing speedy and dense redevelopment. Former suburban farmlands have been transformed to residential subdivisions and enrollment at West Chester College is climbing.
Hickey additionally mentioned that West Chester is the one county seat in a southeastern Pennsylvania municipality with out rail service or an energetic program to revive it.
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Fee estimates that there could be 1,350 every day riders for the shuttle service.
ESI Consulting, which was commissioned by Chester County, estimates that property values would bounce by $145 million, and that rail service combats sprawl, whereas enhancing mobility for residents and elevating the standard of life for communities alongside a line.
Entry to West Chester and Cheyney universities would even be improved, in line with ESI.
Hickey additionally mentioned that the Metro idea would provide a number of economies over typical regional rail requirements slightly than complete placement of current tracks and “inexperienced” grass parking tons.
The estimated $16 million start-up prices are as follows: $7.6 million for observe restoration; $2.9 million for platform/parking restoration; $1.3 million for a Quonset hut-style non permanent constructing for home prepare operations and upkeep actions; and $5 million for a two-year leased prepare and boarding ramps.
Hickey maintains that no commuter strains run nationally at a revenue. SEPTA initially estimates from $20,700 to $602,000 deficit for the primary yr.
The West Chester Heritage Railroad at present operates a principally weekend vacationer prepare on current tracks on the SEPTA right-of-way from West Chester to Glen Mills. Some fear that new SEPTA commuter service will exclude the Heritage Railroad from operating on tracks that the group has maintained.
“We are able to share on the observe however not on the similar time,” mentioned Hickey, Delaware’s former state railroad administrator. “The 2 companies are will not be mutually unique.”