The Airport Line is the only line on the Pennsylvania Railroad side of the Regional Rail System to be formerly owned by the Reading Company. The Airport Line opened on April 28, 1985, providing service from Center City to the Philadelphia International Airport. By its twentieth anniversary in 2005, the line had carried over 20 million passengers to and from the airport. The line splits from Amtrak's Northeast Corridor north of Darby, passing over it onto a line that ends at the airport terminals. At the airport, a new bridge carries it over I-95 and into the airport terminals between the baggage claim (arrivals) and the check-in counters (departures).
Each airport station is directly connected to each airport terminal by escalators and elevators which rise one level to the walkways between the arrival and departure areas. All airport stations feature high-level platforms to make it easier to board and alight from the train with luggage, and some stations can be accessed directly from the baggage claim side across the road with the taxi stands.
The line south of the Northeast Corridor was originally part of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad main line, opened on January 17, 1838. The connection between the NEC and the original PW&B is made however by the later 60th Street Branch. A new alignment of the PW&B (now the NEC) opened November 18, 1872, and on July 1, 1873 the Philadelphia and Reading Railway, later the Reading Company, bought the old line. Connection was made over the PRR's Junction Railroad and later the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's Baltimore and Philadelphia Railroad. However, as a condition of the sale, no passenger service was provided. The line passed into Conrail in 1976 and SEPTA in 1983, with passenger service to the Airport beginning in 1985.
The R1 Airport makes the following station stops, after leaving 30th Street Station:
Ridership by fiscal year:
|Fiscal year||Average weekday||Annual passengers|
|Note: n/a = not available|
The SEPTA Main Line is the section of tracks from the north end of the Center City Commuter Connection to Lansdale on the R5 Doylestown line. At Glenside, the R2 Warminster joins and the R1 Glenside officially begins. The R3 West Trenton joins at the next stop, Jenkintown-Wyncote, and the R8 Fox Chase joins at Newtown Junction. The R7 Chestnut Hill East joins at Wayne Junction, and the R6 Norristown is the southernmost line to join, at North Philadelphia.
As of 2006, the schedules for the R1 show that half the weekday trains continue to Warminster as R2 trains, while the other half terminate at Temple University, and weekend trains alternate between Warminster and West Trenton (as R3 trains). Thus no trains actually terminate at Glenside.
The Main Line was mostly built by the North Pennsylvania Railroad. However, the oldest section was part of the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad (PG&N), the first railroad in Philadelphia. The first section of it opened on June 7, 1832, from downtown to Germantown (now on the R7 Chestnut Hill East). Later a new alignment was built to Norristown, leaving the old route from North Philadelphia to Germantown as a branch; this is now the R6 Norristown. The PG&N south of Wayne Junction is now part of the Main Line.
The North Pennsylvania Railroad opened south of Gwynedd (north of Glenside) on July 2, 1855, and the continuation to Lansdale (including the branch to Doylestown, now the R5 Doylestown) opened October 7. The short part of the Main Line from Wayne Junction northeast to north of Newtown Junction was built as a connection to the PG&N at Wayne Junction.
On December 1, 1870 the Philadelphia and Reading Railway (later the Reading Company) leased the PG&N. The Northern Pennsylvania was leased May 1, 1879, placing the whole future SEPTA Main Line under Reading control. Electrification to Glenside, Hatboro, Lansdale, Doylestown and West Trenton was completed on July 26, 1931. In 1976 Conrail took over the Reading, and in 1983 SEPTA gained control of the commuter operations.