TRAVELING THE NORRISTOWN HIGH SPEED LINE

NHSL Map

The Norristown High Speed Line (NHSL) currently travels through the Main Line communities of Delaware and Montgomery Counties, stopping in high-traffic areas like Ardmore, Bryn Mawr, Villanova, Radnor and Norristown. The closest stop to King of Prussia, currently, is the Gulph Mills station.

Image Credit: All photos courtesy of SEPTA

 


NHSL HISTORY – FROM THE CITY TO THE COUNTY

The NHSL, affectionately called the “old P&W” by locals, began service over 100 years ago connecting Upper Darby, just outside Philadelphia, to the rural communities further from the city. Today, the 13.5 mile line, which runs from 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby to the Norristown Transportation Center in Montgomery County, services over 8,000 riders a week and is a vital link bridging the Main Line communities in Delaware and Montgomery Counties.

The current fleet of cars, known as the N-5, first began service in 1993 and can maintain speeds of up to 70 mph over longer stretches of the line. The NHSL runs from 4:30AM-2AM with both local and express stops. The total journey time on a local train making 22 stops from 69th St. to Norristown is 29 minutes. Travel time on the Hughes Park Express making 16 stops is 23 minutes; travel time on the Norristown Express making 17 stops is 26 minutes and travel time on the Norristown Limited making 8 stops is 23 minutes.

Back in 2003, a prior study was performed to see if the NHSL could be extended into King of Prussia. The proposed route the study came up with branched off from the Hughes Park station and followed an existing rail track into the heart of King of Prussia. From there, the proposed line turned towards the Mall, into the business park and terminated outside Valley Forge. The line would have had four stops servicing the major points in the area but it was shelved because of other, larger rail projects that were being planned at the same time. These lines would have created a Philadelphia-Reading corridor as well as an inter-suburban network, which would have ultimately serviced King of Prussia. The proposed line was abandoned due to financial constraints and a lack of political support. Even though the first attempt to extend the NHSL never fully materialized, some of the major ideas and route segments are being considered for the new project.

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