170 Years In The Making: Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor In West Philly


Today’s American railroads are the products of hundreds of mergers and combinations of earlier lines, so it’s a good bet that there is a good story behind any particular stretch of track. The route of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (and the SEPTA and freight lines that share, run parallel, and cross it) is no different. Here is the tangled tale of the route followed by NEC and SEPTA trains as they head south from Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. Take note of the Newkirk Viaduct Monument and its role in the routes.


About the author

Bradley Peniston is deputy editor of Defense One, a publication of Atlantic Media. He has written two books about the U.S. Navy. He also launched Pecha Kucha Night Philadelphia. Find him at navybook.com.

Send him a message at: author[at]navybook[dot]com


  1. It would be nice to move the 15 foot marble obelisk to 30th Street Station where it will be seen by thousands using the trains vice leaving it where the woods covers it up.

  2. very well done, the over view helped get a sense of how the different lines related to each other.
    When the West Chester line was built, where did it go as it continued into Philly, was this the start of 30th St. as a station area?

  3. Thank You for posting this! As a RR history nut this explains a lot

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Neighborhood Libraries Step Into The 21st Century

Neighborhood Libraries Step Into The 21st Century

August 22, 2017  |  Vantage

One of the city's most important assets is our sprawling system of neighborhood libraries. These indispensable, community hubs, 52 in all, are beginning to receive desperately needed TLC after years of financial and structural neglect. Contributor Grace Diliberto gives us the details on two citywide initiatives to revive and reboot libraries for contemporary uses, followed by an extensive survey of some of the city's most architecturally distinct book lenders > more

Monument Lab Artist Stands Up For The City's Lost Stoops

Monument Lab Artist Stands Up For The City’s Lost Stoops

August 17, 2017  |  Vantage

Artist Kaitlin Pomerantz is on a mission to save Philadelphia's castaway stoops. Her project for this year's Monument Lab will memorialize the city's proverbial outdoor living room with a collection of salvaged stoops inside Washington Square Park. Contributor Star Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

In The Aftermath Of Charlottesville, Counting On The Catto Memorial

In The Aftermath Of Charlottesville, Counting On The Catto Memorial

August 15, 2017  |  Soapbox

As Southern cities erupt in protest and race-fueled violence over the removal of Confederate memorials, historian Amy Cohen looks at Philadelphia's lack of diversity in public monuments > more


In “Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture,” The City Is A Muse

August 11, 2017  |  Buzz

Groundbreaking exhibit of the work of Louis Kahn brings his ideas to life, says Nathaniel Popkin > more

Convention Center Survivor A Symbol Of Philly's Faded Industries

Convention Center Survivor A Symbol Of Philly’s Faded Industries

August 10, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow takes us for a spin to the corner of Race and Camac Streets where the city's commercial sectors have shifted gears for over a century > more

A Sneak Peek At <em>Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies</em>

A Sneak Peek At Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies

August 8, 2017  |  Buzz

Michael Bixler has this behind-the scenes look at Cai Guo-Qiang's interactive dreamscape, "Fireflies." The Chinese artist will debut his mobile art project on September 14 in celebration of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway's centennial > more