Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Philadelphia > NHSL

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
Norristown High Speed Line


The Norristown High Speed Line of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) extends from the 69th Street terminal of the Market-Frankford rapid-transit line, 13.5 miles (21.6 km) northwest to Norristown. It has characteristics of both heavy-rail rapid-transit lines (high platforms at stations, and no grade crossings with streets and roads) and light-rail lines (short trains, usually one or two cars, on-board fare collection, stops only on demand at most stations).

It begin life as the Philadelphia & Western Railroad, a standard-gauge electric interurban that was originally projected to extend much further west. The original line was built from 69th Street to Strafford in 1907, to compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad's suburban local service. A branch from Villanova Junction to Norristown was added in 1912; it turned out to be more important than the "main line" to Strafford, which was never extended further.

At Norristown, the P&W connected with another interurban, the Lehigh Valley Transit, which operated through service between 69th Street and Allentown, using the P&W's tracks as far as Norristown. In 1949, LVT ended through service, terminating its cars at Norristown, and in 1951 it abandoned passenger service completely.

In 1953, he P&W became part of the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company (the "Red Arrow Lines"), which abandoned the Strafford branch in 1956. PSTC in turn was absorbed in the late 1960s into SEPTA.

The Norristown line now operates as SEPTA's route 100. It operates lightweight cars built by ABB in the early 1990s, which accelerate noticeably faster than most other rail transit equipment.


[R] indicates pictures that have been re-scanned beginning in 2006.

[R] [picture] Passengers wait at the 69th Street terminal to board the next local to Bryn Mawr. (February 1996; scanned March 2006)

[R] [picture] An outbound express approaches the Ardmore Avenue station. This is a local station, so the train will not stop here. (February 1996; scanned March 2006)

[R] [picture] An inbound train passes underneath the Ardmore Avenue overpass as it approaches the station. (February 1996; scanned March 2006)

[R] [picture] An inbound train arrives at the Bryn Mawr station, passing a local car which has just arrived from 69th Street and is waiting on the layover track before its return trip. (February 1996; scanned March 2006)

[R] [picture] The Norristown station is located above the tracks of the Norristown commuter rail line, only a few hundred feet from the commuter rail station. This is a relatively new station, built as part of the Norristown Transportation Center. (February 1996; scanned March 2006)

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This page was last updated on 22 March 2006, and verified on 25 September 2007.

Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Philadelphia > NHSL

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