Frequently Asked Questions

Why is there a growing interest in commuter rail on SEPTA's Newtown Line?

In Bucks and Montgomery Counties, many issues and events are coming together to intensify interest in passenger rail services. These include attention to sustainable transportation alternatives, potential for economic growth, quality of life (provides local transportation to growing senior citizen population, students without cars, allows more families to own fewer cars), efficiencies, and the current undersupply of parking at existing SEPTA stations.

Unlike the Warminster, West Trenton and Doylestown lines, the Newtown line under one alternative would travel a different route to center city, avoiding the already crowded Jenkintown to Fern Rock section of SEPTA's railroad. Using the historical alignment of the Fox Chase rail line, SEPTA will be able to operate more trains into center city from the northern suburbs, than it is able to at present.

Other compelling reasons for the restoration of service on this line include:

  • Large population growth in Northampton, Lower Makefield and Newtown Townships
  • Predicted future growth in Upper Makefield, Wrightstown and Buckingham
  • Constrained parking conditions at other SEPTA passenger rail stations
  • High cost of parking expansion as a means of system expansion
  • Growing road congestion along the Newtown corridor
  • A need for reducing vehicle miles travelled and vehicle miles of delay
  • Interest from local residents and corporations
  • Why should the Newtown Corridor be a priority?

    The Newtown corridor has several distinct features that make it an important project for consideration:

    • Serves a local, growing market, with a commute time under one hour
    • Lower cost per passenger than parking expansion
    • Creates new walk-up riders, as opposed to drive up passengers created by parking expansion
      (Each walk up rider saves $5,000)
    • Existing SEPTA rail lines are constrained, and unable to accomodate more riders without considerable investment that would cost more per new rider than new riders on the Newtown line.
    • Straightforward & Low cost project: The Newtown corridor is owned by SEPTA. As it is a single track line, costs are one-half of other proposed projects that require two tracks. Existing passing tracks will accomodate 30 minute peak service, similar to operations on SEPTA's Doylestown and Warminster Branches.

    What is the immediate goal that PA-TEC is calling for?

    PA-TEC continues to call on regional legislators to perform a comprehensive study on the needs of the area around the SEPTA's Reading Railroad branches - Doylestown (R5), New Hope (Warminster/R2), Newtown(R8/R4), and New York (West Trenton/R3). PA-TEC is also asking regional legislators to look at the underlying reasons why residents of Doylestown and Warminster are driving to Jenkintown.

    As of 2011, the governing members of DVRPC have rejected calls to perform a comprehensive transit needs analysis in Bucks County, that would have identified short and long term options for remediating constraints at SEPTA regional rail stations.