Pattye Benson

Community Matters

SEPTA No Longer a Numbers Game . . . And We Lose Our ‘R’ . . . Effective Sunday, July 25!

In less than 24 hours, our regional rail numbers will disappear forever. Yes, starting Sunday, July 25, all regional rail lines will be renamed after their end destination. SEPTA will no longer be a numbers game so we lose our ‘R’ and our ‘5’. Our R5 will become the Paoli/Thorndale and Doylestown lines . . . R6 Norristown line will be renamed the Manayunk/Norristown line, etc. etc..

Philadelphia visitors, tourists and new riders claim that the regional rail ‘R’ system was confusing and people have been known to get on the train going the wrong direction but still . . . I’m going to miss our ‘R’ and our ‘5’.

The regional rail is also getting a color change. Trains will be designated by a blue/gray color, instead of their separate colors for each line. I thought it was easier to read the Center City transit maps by following the color-coding! But wait, there’s more change on the tracks.

They’re also making some schedule changes for regional rail including a makeover to the timetable schedules; presumably making them easier-to-read. The designations will be abbreviated with three letters and all schedules will have a name reference box.

To make it even easier to get on the right train, the display signs on the regional trains have also experienced a makeover to show the direction the train is traveling. Our ‘R5 Paoli’ display sign will have a ‘Center City to Paoli’ sign starting tomorrow. Conductors will change display signs to show the outbound destination of their trains when they enter Center City.

I’m not suggesting that SEPTA commuters should panic come Monday morning. In fact, officials from SEPTA are not expecting the changes will impact the regular rider because their commuting routine does not depend on the SEPTA signage. In fact, there will be customer service agents around to hand out new schedules and answer questions during the transition.

Say your goodbyes to the R5 today. . . starting tomorrow, it will be no more.

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  1. I’m not sure why this whole thing has attracted so much comment. Prior to SEPTA taking over the Regional Rail system, and perhaps even for some time afterward, the lines were named by their destinations. This area was served by trains known simply as the Paoli Local, Downingtown Local, various expresses, etc.

    While the advent of the Center City rail tunnel made lines continuous which formerly terminated either at Suburban Station or Reading Terminal, there was really never a need to add “R” numbers to the routes.

  2. Funny…yesterday (Tuesday) I picked up my son-in-law @ train station & the R3 (Elwyn) was still on the side of the cars. Maybe it’s different on the front & back cars so you see it pulling into the station.

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