The Wayne Junction railroad station, straddling the line between Germantown and Nicetown, was once one of Philadelphia's gateways to the larger world.
Constructed in 1901 by the Reading Railroad, the station offered service to New York City, Washington, and points west during its heyday and, according to SEPTA, advertised that "more trains stop here than at any other station in the world."
The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad stopped offering passenger service from Wayne Junction to major cities in 1958. Though the station on Windrim Avenue has continued to serve 321,000 passengers annually on local routes, the facility fell into disrepair. Dimly lit, with toppling canopies and a failing foundation, the station required a $31.5 million revitalization project that began in 2012. A ribbon-cutting Friday showed off the results of the SEPTA project.
New lighting, repaired structures and canopies, restored passenger tunnels and stairways, and 40 security cameras are "visibly an improvement over a facility that was previously considered unsafe," said Majeedah Rashid, executive director of the Nicetown Community Development Corp.
The refurbished train station is the most recent development project in the Nicetown neighborhood. In the last two years, Nicetown Court I and II, mixed-use developments across the street from the station, have brought apartments and businesses to the area.
The station's potential as a catalyst for redevelopment is in part why the Federal Transit Administration granted $3.98 million to the project in 2011.
"It had been an eyesore," said Therese McMillan, FTA acting administrator, after the ribbon-cutting, "but they knew it could be a place that could develop as a community center."
The station is a transfer point for the Route 75 trolley, the 23 and 53 bus routes, and six Regional Rail lines.
Another attraction for the FTA was the project's commitment to make the station fully accessible for people with disabilities. The station has ramps and elevators that lead to platforms, which are at the same level as train doors.
The station, originally designed by Frank Furness, is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. SEPTA coordinated the project with local historic preservation organizations. The project received the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia's 2015 Grand Jury Award.