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
Fading Philadelphia Finds Sanctuary In <em>Sacred Lands</em>

Fading Philadelphia Finds Sanctuary In Sacred Lands

March 22, 2018  |  Vantage

Artist Drew Leshko traces the history of Fishtown through architectural miniatures in his new exhibition > more

In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

In Sharswood, Effort To Save Dox Thrash House Gains Momentum

March 20, 2018  |  News

As modern urban renewal continues to erase African-American history in North Philly, one group works against the odds to preserve a renowned Philadelphia artist's legacy. Starr Herr-Cardillo has the story > more

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

New 40th Street Trolley Portal Design Dull On Arrival

March 19, 2018  |  Vantage

University City District's beautification of the 40th Street Trolley Portal was high on concept, but appears to have fumbled on delivery. Contributor Ann de Forest has the full review > more

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor's Preservation Task Force Meeting

Confusion And Quibbling At Mayor’s Preservation Task Force Meeting

March 15, 2018  |  News

Mayor Kenney's Historic Preservation Task Force convened today following the release of a draft of a summary of summaries on the state of preservation in Philadelphia. Logistical bickering and sticker activities ensued. Starr Herr-Cardillo reports > more

Remembering Philly's 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

Remembering Philly’s 1967 School Walkout & The Attack On Teen Activism

March 13, 2018  |  Vantage

On the eve of the national student walkout honoring the victims of the Parkland shooting, Michael Bixler takes a look back at November 17, 1967 when teenage activists demonstrating for equal rights became the target of a violent police attack > more

Oscar's Tavern Still Parties Like It's 1972

Oscar’s Tavern Still Parties Like It’s 1972

March 12, 2018  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow saddles up to the bar at Oscar's Tavern where the spirit of "Old Philadelphia" is as effervescent as their lagers > more