Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

West Chester seeks restored rail service

WEST CHESTER Two decades after SEPTA trains stopped running to West Chester, the Borough Council is starting a new push to see rail service restored.

"It's one of the huge components missing from West Chester," said Jordan Norley, president of the borough council. "And restoration of rail is consistent with . . . what the county needs to continue urban growth in the county seat."

Last week, the council voted to establish a Restoration of Rail Service Committee, which will be charged with researching rail service and formulating a plan for bringing it back to West Chester, Norley said. The council is accepting applications for the seven-member committee, according to Borough Manager Ernie McNeely. Three seats must be filled by borough residents.

Norley said the council will have an uphill battle, as restoration of rail service would have to be approved by the cash-strapped SEPTA.

"It's a large project," he said. "There's political issues, fund-raising, county issues."

SEPTA's Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line, then the R3 line, stopped running to West Chester in 1986, Norley said. Although supporters of bringing rail service back to the borough have discussed restoring that line, Norley said, the Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail Line could also be extended.

"If it's ever going to happen we need to step up the county seat and the end of the line," Norley said.

- Tricia L. Nadolny

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