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Could SEPTA regional rail lines be renamed in near future?

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Are SEPTA regional rail lines be in for a name change? That the word going on according to a recent Philly newspaper article. I am sure Metsfan and other SEPTA regular riders will have something to say. Feel free to comment.

 

 

 

 

 

SEPTA seeks public input on Regional Rail name changes

By Paul Nussbaum

Philadelphia Inquirer/Daily News Staff Writer

July 22, 2009

 

Are you ready for a train ride on the Chartreuse Line?

 

Or a trip on the B Train? A journey on the No. 10? How about just a ride on the Paoli Line?

 

SEPTA is considering getting rid of the "R" train route designations it has used for 25 years. The system is confusing for infrequent riders and tourists, general manager Joseph Casey says, and needs to be replaced with something easier to understand.

 

But what?

 

Train lines could be designated by colors. Or final destination points. Or letters. Or numbers.

 

"We're trying to get input from riders and other stakeholders," Casey said after SEPTA officials made their pitch last week to city and county officials, passenger advocates, and others. "We're trying to make it easier to use the system."

 

Opponents of a name change, including top city transportation officials, worry that the new designations would be part of a broader plan to change the way SEPTA operates its trains. Such changes, they say, would undermine the integrated rail network created in 1984 when the Center City tunnel linked the old Pennsylvania and Reading rail lines.

 

SEPTA officials insist that only the names would change; operations would remain the same.

 

Currently, SEPTA's 13 train routes are labeled R1 through R8, except that there is no R4. And there are two different final destinations for each R route, except for the R1 line, the airport branch.

 

For instance, some R3 trains terminate at Media or Elwyn in Delaware County. Other R3s run to West Trenton. Regular commuters know the difference between the R3/Media-Elwyn line and the R3/West Trenton line, but SEPTA says passengers unfamiliar with the system can easily end up on the wrong train.

 

"We get hundreds of complaints each year from people who get on the wrong R5 or the wrong R7," said Byron S. Comati, director of strategic planning and analysis for SEPTA.

 

"There's pretty good agreement that the current system is confusing," said Matthew Mitchell of the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers. "If you hang around a Center City station for 20 minutes, you'll see several people trying to figure out, 'What stairway is my train?'

 

"But there's no one right answer for what to use in place" of the R designators, Mitchell said.

 

One proposal is to return to the nomenclature used in pre-SEPTA days, when Philadelphia trains were operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Co. The routes were designated by their end points: the Chestnut Hill line, the Paoli line, the Trenton line.

 

That's also the system used by many other U.S. commuter rail operations, including those in New Jersey, New York City, and Chicago.

 

Other possibilities include using 13 separate letters or numbers to designate the routes, such as the A line and the B line, or the 10 line and the 12 line. Some have suggested using new R designators, from R1 to R13.

 

Or SEPTA could use 13 color names for the train routes.

 

The lines already have colors associated with them on SEPTA signs and printed schedules: green for the R6, red for the R7, and blue for the R5, for example. But more colors would be needed for both ends of the paired lines, and there could be confusion between SEPTA's subway and trolley color designations (the Broad Street Line is orange, the Market-Frankford Line is blue, and the Subway-Surface Lines are green).

 

The current R designations were created when SEPTA completed the Center City tunnel in 1984, connecting the former Pennsylvania and Reading systems. Instead of terminating at Suburban Station or the Reading Terminal, trains could operate through to the other end of the line. An R7 train could run from Trenton to Chestnut Hill East, for example.

 

But today, most rail trips don't run from one end of a line to the other. Only 33 percent of weekday trips are end-to-end runs, according to SEPTA.

 

Many trains go to Center City, then to a rail yard to be sent out on another line. And 19 percent change R designations as they leave Center City without stopping in a yard.

 

Luther Diggs, chief operations officer, said the proposed changes in route designations would not mean a change in the way trains operate.

 

"What we intended to do 25 years ago and what we actually did are two different things," Diggs said. "We're not changing anything from an operations standpoint."

 

But Christopher Zearfoss, the city's senior transportation project manager, said SEPTA could renumber routes without losing the concept of through service on the rail lines.

 

"The city sponsored the [Center City tunnel] project," Zearfoss said in an e-mail to SEPTA officials and others who attended last Wednesday's meeting. "Our federal and state grant applications justified the project, in part, on achieving 'continuous . . . fully integrated rail service . . . while enhancing the convenience and attractiveness of the system and improving accessibility.' Marginalizing the usefulness of through-[tunnel] travel seems to run counter to these representations made to our federal and state funding agencies."

 

He said nothing would eliminate all passenger confusion.

 

"To paraphrase the Bible, the confused rider you will have always with you," he wrote. "Despite best efforts, there is no foolproof firewall against those riders who are distracted, multi-tasking, hurried, agitated, or just plain careless; they will make mistakes. . . . But that is no pretext for discontinuing those important scheduling practices."

 

Zearfoss suggested assigning 13 separate R numbers to the rail lines, and having the "public timetables continue to highlight the fact that most trains on the two lines are combined and operate through the [Center City tunnel], thereby affording frequent 'suburb-to-suburb' service without change of trains."

 

Vukan R. Vuchic, a University of Pennsylvania transportation professor who was a creator of the R designation system 25 years ago, said SEPTA was making a big mistake in trying to get rid of it.

 

"It is already confusing for passengers, and SEPTA wants to give less information? What kind of logic is that?" Vuchic asked. "They just want the freedom to send their trains as it fits their needs, that's all they're concerned about."

 

Kim Scott Heinle, SEPTA assistant general manager for customer service, emphasized that no decision had been made on the R changes and that SEPTA wanted more input from passengers and other interested parties.

 

"This is a customer-service initiative," Heinle said. "It's all about improving our ability to attract new people to the system. We truly believe that there are a number of folks that get into the system and go where they don't want to go."

 

In a change expected to attract less concern, SEPTA also plans to do away with the Route 100 designation for the rail line that runs between Norristown and 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby. SEPTA will call it simply the Norristown High-Speed Line, beginning in September.

 

Some passengers still refer to that line as the P&W, in reference to its pre-SEPTA origins as the Philadelphia & Western Railroad.

 

SEPTA officials also plan to color-code all trolley lines green, including the current Green Line subway-surface trolleys in West Philadelphia, the Routes 101 and 102 trolleys that run from 69th Street Terminal to Media and Sharon Hill, and the Route 15 trolley that runs along Girard Avenue.

 

 

To contact SEPTA about the proposed changes, call customer service at 215-580-7800, or go online at http://www.septa.com.

 

pnussbaum@phillynews.com

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So Lets See....

 

R1 is now the Airport Branch

R2 is now the Warminster Line and the Newark Line

R3 is now the West Trenton Line and the Media Line

R5 is now the Doylestown Line and the Paoli Line

R6 is now the Norristown Line and well...people stil call it the Cynwyn Line nobody I know calls it the R6.

R7 might be confusing, Chestnut East Line? vs. the "Former" R8's Chestnut Hill West. One line might need to be renamed.

R7 now the Trenton Line

R8 the Fox Chase Line.

 

Ok while they sound good, it sound like SEPTA is really serious. I'm 50-50 on this. In the mean time my new book which take place in Philadelphia in 2012, does this mean I have to rewrite train line names? Or should I wait.

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So Lets See....

 

R1 is now the Airport Branch

R2 is now the Warminster Line and the Newark Line

R3 is now the West Trenton Line and the Media Line

R5 is now the Doylestown Line and the Paoli Line

R6 is now the Norristown Line and well...people stil call it the Cynwyn Line nobody I know calls it the R6.

R7 might be confusing, Chestnut East Line? vs. the "Former" R8's Chestnut Hill West. One line might need to be renamed.

R7 now the Trenton Line

R8 the Fox Chase Line.

 

Ok while they sound good, it sound like SEPTA is really serious. I'm 50-50 on this. In the mean time my new book which take place in Philadelphia in 2012, does this mean I have to rewrite train line names? Or should I wait.

If you're writing a book that takes place in Philly in the future right now, you should use the current names regardless. Otherwise you'll see question marks all over the place.

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Theres some bus routes that go to more than 1 place too. Are they going to rename the 66 bus to the "Gregg Street" bus or the "Electric to Cottman" If there's a designation sign saying "R7 Trenton" or "R7 Chestnut Hill" then i don't see the confusion...

 

I say Joe Casey is trying too hard, first he "Goes Green" with super slow New Flyer hybrids and now this! I like the old GM better, he had more taste.

 

SEPTA used to be a TA with variety, and historical significance! Even when there was a ton of Neoplans around, SEPTA didn't ONLY have Neoplans, there was a fleet of GMC RTS's, a fleet of Volvos. and even some odd random buses, like a Volvo 40 footer, and a small set of Neoplan AN435s.

 

Now it's a TA where you can expect to see the same bus all over, New Flyer here, New Flyer there. Slow buses here, messed up displays there. Joe Casey really needs to stop what he's doing and just leave SEPTA the way it is!

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Theres some bus routes that go to more than 1 place too. Are they going to rename the 66 bus to the "Gregg Street" bus or the "Electric to Cottman" If there's a designation sign saying "R7 Trenton" or "R7 Chestnut Hill" then i don't see the confusion...

 

I say Joe Casey is trying too hard, first he "Goes Green" with super slow New Flyer hybrids and now this! I like the old GM better, he had more taste.

 

SEPTA used to be a TA with variety, and historical significance! Even when there was a ton of Neoplans around, SEPTA didn't ONLY have Neoplans, there was a fleet of GMC RTS's, a fleet of Volvos. and even some odd random buses, like a Volvo 40 footer, and a small set of Neoplan AN435s.

 

Now it's a TA where you can expect to see the same bus all over, New Flyer here, New Flyer there. Slow buses here, messed up displays there. Joe Casey really needs to stop what he's doing and just leave SEPTA the way it is!

 

 

I only occasional use SEPTA and the regional rail lines when i am in Philadelphia area to visit my brother(he lives near Cherry Hill NJ) so i am not sure of this.

 

IMO if (SEPTA) does go through with this, i think it should go to either the (MTA) style ie MNRR's Hudson Line or LIRR's " Port Washington line" or the color system like DC Metro or the Boston "T" MBTA system for the subway and light rail.

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I would support a system similar to the one in place on Paris's RER network. Each route would receive a letter:

 

R1 --> A

R2 --> B

R3 --> C

and so on.

 

Each destination, subsequently, would then receive a number. For example, R1 Airport trains on the newly-designated "A" line would be signed as "A1", and R1 Glenside would become "A2." Therefore all "A1" trains are bound for the airport, and all "A2" trains are bound for Glenside, and you don't need to memorize a route number and destination -- just a route number.

 

Thoughts?

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I would support a system similar to the one in place on Paris's RER network. Each route would receive a letter:

 

R1 --> A

R2 --> B

R3 --> C

and so on.

 

Each destination, subsequently, would then receive a number. For example, R1 Airport trains on the newly-designated "A" line would be signed as "A1", and R1 Glenside would become "A2." Therefore all "A1" trains are bound for the airport, and all "A2" trains are bound for Glenside, and you don't need to memorize a route number and destination -- just a route number.

 

Thoughts?

 

Not a bad idea kid.;)

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I would support a system similar to the one in place on Paris's RER network. Each route would receive a letter:

 

R1 --> A

R2 --> B

R3 --> C

and so on.

 

Each destination, subsequently, would then receive a number. For example, R1 Airport trains on the newly-designated "A" line would be signed as "A1", and R1 Glenside would become "A2." Therefore all "A1" trains are bound for the airport, and all "A2" trains are bound for Glenside, and you don't need to memorize a route number and destination -- just a route number.

 

Thoughts?

I like that! And the RER does it in a certain way, the odd number lines are always in one direction and the even number lines are always in an another direction.

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-clicks thanks for rmcconnell for making this look good-

 

 

i now can understand the R route changes, but the 100-102 need to stay the way they are to stop the confusion! People still call the 101 and 102 by their numbers. I NEVER heard anyone refer to the 102 as "The Sharon Hill Line" so there would be no point to name it that.

 

Now as for the 100 line, some people call it the P &W, some people call it the Noerristown High Speed Line.... but others call it the 100... that will confuse those others if they just straight up change it to "Norristown High Speed Line" because then you would have the people who still call it the 100 being confused

 

Like i said, they might as well change some of the bus routes while they're at it since there are some bus routes that go to different places, yet have the same number. xample: route C goes from Cheltenham Square Mall to City Hall, but it also goes from Fern Rock Terminal to South Philadelphia! Why not change that?

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I like that! And the RER does it in a certain way, the odd number lines are always in one direction and the even number lines are always in an another direction.

 

Oh so like All Penn Lines get a Even Number while all Reading Lines get odd numbers?

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Reading lines & PRR lines should be renamed to reflect parts of the former rail operations, how about the Reading line, The Broadway line, The West trenton line etc. enough with R#.

 

- A

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