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Wawa Station - Wawa, Pennsylvania
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Bluejacket01
N 39° 54.041 W 075° 27.513
18S E 460801 N 4416834
Quick Description: Wawa Station is gone but not forgotten. Plans have been made for a resumption of service and a new station by 2011.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 2/1/2009 7:48:29 PM
Waymark Code: WM5Q6G
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member TheBeanTeam
Views: 9

Long Description:
The Wawa station was demolished and there is no building or shelter here, nor has there been any passenger train service since 1986. Currently, SEPTA still uses the track from the Media end to access the quarry at Glen Mills, which provides SEPTA with track ballast. The West Chester Railroad (visit link) a tourist line, uses the track for passenger train excursions from West Chester down to Glen Mills, the next station up from Wawa. The line was entirely electrified from Philadelphia to West Chester in the 1920s, but when passenger service was discontinued along this stretch of track in 1986, and given that any freight service was/is performed by diesel locomotives, there was no pressing need for the overhead contact system (OCS). Over the years thieves began stealing the copper contact wire, so SEPTA removed it in 2005.

What is left today is a few of the foundations for the demolished station building, the concrete curb for the platform edge, and the pedestrian tunnel under the track. There is a plan to extend commuter rail service about 3 miles out from the existing last commuter rail stop at Elwyn to Wawa, presumably by 2011 (see the link below). The potential for a new station here is quite exciting. First, it would serve a number of commuters who currently are forced to drive to Elwyn and compete for limited parking space (including my sister-in-law!). The station is located along a dangerous stretch of Baltimore Pike (US 1); this project could provide the impetus to improve the highway. Second, the Wawa station is located in a lovely wooded section of the Chester Creek Valley, affording wonderful opportunities for landscape architects. Imagine the station as the anchor for a picturesque wooded park. Third, the Octoraro branch joins in at this location. Given that commuter rail service to western Delaware County and Chester County is likely to be required in 20 years, the opportunity exists to make provision for this connection to a revitalized Octoraro Branch.

The Wikipedia entry for this SEPTA line is at (visit link) and for the history of this railroad (visit link)
Pennsylvania Railroad Stations Past and Present has several old photographs of the station (visit link) and (visit link)

An interesting side note – in 1974, when I was a brash and foolish (and lets face it, just downright stupid) young man, I drove my 1967 Yamaha YDS-3 Catalina 250 cc two-stroke motorcycle up onto the track with the idea of riding down the middle of the track on the Octoraro Branch, which I knew was abandoned. I drove from my house in Drexel Hill to Lenni and got up and over the track on the Chester Branch, then drove down the middle of the track until I came to the first bridge, over Chester Creek. So off I drove, across the bridge, all the time hoping a train didn’t suddenly appear on the adjacent live track. As you may be aware, these are timber deck bridges. The track is constructed by attaching the running rail to bridge timbers, which look like cross ties only much heavier. There is no track ballast, only a gap between the timbers, through which you can see the ground below. As I drove across the timbers, my bike was mildly bouncing across each gap, which it could easily traverse as the gap wasn’t that wide. In fact, I noticed the faster I went, the smoother the ride became. All of a sudden, I saw in front of me that one of the bridge timbers was missing, but I didn’t have time to stop. Right now the front wheel fell into the hole, but was caught from dropping all the way through the bridge by the back of the fender catching on the adjacent timber. For a few seconds I focused on the water in the creek, swirling many feet below me. With some kind of Herculean effort, fueled by a heavy dose of adrenalin, I pulled that heavy motorcycle out of the hole. Since I couldn’t turn the bike around, I had to carefully back it up while sitting on the seat; not an easy task. Again, I was scared to death that a train would show up on the uncomfortably close adjacent track, but that never happened. Even though it was about 30 degrees that day, which is very cold on a motorcycle, I can tell you I was soaked in sweat. Needless to say, I never tried to ride a bike down a railroad track, even an abandoned one, ever again.
Is the station/depot currently used for railroad purposes?: No

Is the station/depot open to the public?: No

If the station/depot is not being used for railroad purposes, what is it currently used for?:
Abandoned; plans exist for a new station


What rail lines does/did the station/depot serve?: The Philadelphia & West Chester Railroad; The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad; The Pennsylvania Railroad; The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority

Station/Depot Web Site: [Web Link]

Visit Instructions:
Please post an original picture of the station/depot taken while you were there. Please also record how you came to be at this station/depot and any interesting information you learned about it while there.
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