Commuter Growth Puts $80M Southern SEPTA Project Back On Track

After a long delay, plans are moving again to deliver rail service to SCC.

Supercharged growth in Chester County is once again fueling big development, this time an $80 million revival of passenger rail service that was shelved in 2008 when the recession hit.

Ridership on Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority commuter trains has grown by nearly a third in the past seven to ten years, predominantly in response to high demand for workers at southeastern Chester County businesses, according to a Chadds Ford Live report.

That flood of new riders may bring to life a three-mile stretch of railroad and a station in Wawa that has sat idle for 30 years.

“There are some very intense nodes of transportation, some places where there are people who really want to get somewhere and are frustrated with the lack of public transportation, especially employers who need to get employees from where they can afford to live into southern Chester County,” Chester County 2020 President George Asimos said in the article. “I think it would make a huge difference.”

Though redevelopment aspirations extend all the way to West Chester, the Wawa station project is limited to the rail between Wawa and Elwyn — work is set to begin in 2017 — as well as the infrastructure surrounding the Wawa station, including highway access from Route 1, a new building and a 600-car parking ramp beginning in 2018.

“It’s a huge infrastructure project,” said SEPTA Engineering, Maintenance and Construction Division Assistant General Manager Bob Lund. “You have to look at it as almost rebuilding the entire infrastructure to get to Wawa … but it’s a reality now, and it is moving forward.”

Read more about the proposed project and public feedback from coverage of a Kennett Square meeting this week in Chadds Ford Live here. You can also find the detailed expansion report from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission here.

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