Reimagining Regional Rail


SEPTA Forward, our strategic plan, envisions Regional Rail as part of a lifestyle network of frequent, all-day, and all-week services that connects people to a range of destinations across the region. Reimagining Regional Rail will create a vision of what that looks like and will identify the infrastructure, equipment, operations, and policies needed to get there.

In Reimagining Regional Rail, we are asking what the Regional Rail network could be:

  • How often should the trains run?
  • What mix of express and local service should there be?
  • What should stations be like?
  • What should the trains be like?
  • How should Regional Rail connect to rapid transit, trolleys, buses, and other rail service?
  • How should fares be integrated with other transit services?

Reimagining Regional Rail is a key initiative of SEPTA Forward to revamp our services and better connect people across the region. We’re working closely with other major initiatives, including Bus Revolution, SEPTA’s bus network redesign, and the Wayfinding Master Plan to provide more intuitive experiences and a more seamless transit system. Learn more and find out how to get involved to help shape the future of transit in the Philadelphia region.

Project Goals

Increase and improve access to opportunity

Prioritize an intuitive rider experience through a seamless, welcoming system

Create a reliable, predictable Regional Rail System that people can trust


  • Setting Goals: Fall 2021 ✓
  • Evaluating Choices: Winter 2022–Spring 2022 ✓
  • Setting the Vision: Summer 2022–Spring 2024 (in progress)
  • Implementation Plan: Fall 2023–Spring 2024 (in progress)

Regional Rail Master Plan

This existing conditions report provides the context for creating a future vision by describing the system as it operates today. By doing so, we explain what works well with Regional Rail today, what the opportunities are, and what the challenges are. It reviews the current state of the service, which includes: operations, the fleet, maintenance facilities, infrastructure, and interface with passenger and freight railroad service; and ridership trends.

View State of the System

To imagine what is possible in the Philadelphia region, we can look around the United States at SEPTA’s peers and around the world at other commuter rail systems. In the United States, the term “commuter rail” suggests a service operated primarily for 9-to-5 work trips from the suburbs to downtown. In much of the rest of the world, commuter rail has been extensively modernized and reimagined to be more efficient to operate, easier to use, and useful for many more kinds of trips. These international examples show us the range of what is possible within the technology of commuter rail.

View Peer Review

Outreach is at the core of how we reimagine Regional Rail and create a Network Vision. In Phase 1, people provided input about why they ride Regional Rail, why they don’t, and what would improve service and the customer experience. In Phase 2, three scenarios were developed in response to the findings from Phase 1 outreach. They address the main challenges in different ways and created an opportunity for people to provide feedback on different network options.

More details about the Network Vision will be coming soon.

The Network Vision creates a lifestyle network that will work for all types of trips across the region, providing consistent, integrated, and reliable all-day all-week service.

More details about the Network Vision will be coming soon.

The Network Vision will be realized in phases that increase service as capital projects are completed.

More details about the Phasing will be coming soon.

The implementation of the Network Vision will take a concerted effort, especially over the next decade, to establish a solid foundation for retooling our planning, engineering, construction, and operations towards a bold future where Regional Rail is fully integrated with SEPTA Metro and bus, and more frequent based on underlying demand, land uses, and ridership recovery.

More details about the Implementation will be coming soon.

Building a Lifestyle Transit Network

As part of our 12-year capital investment program, we’re making stations accessible, acquiring new vehicles, investing in communications, and upgrading services for our buses, Metro, and rail to deliver on our vision of easy to use, frequent, and integrated transit.

Learn More