In celebration of service starting this Sunday, August 21, SEPTA and Wawa leaders gathered with local officials and community members today to cut the ribbon at the recently completed Wawa Station – the new terminus of the Media/Wawa Regional Rail Line.
Construction on the Elwyn to Wawa Service Restoration Project began in 2018. It restores more than 3.5 miles of Regional Rail service to a growing area of Delaware County, supporting recent activities and offering excellent opportunities for future transit-oriented development. The opening of Wawa Station marks the first extension of SEPTA’s rail service since the Airport Line was established in 1985. SEPTA trains last served this area in 1986.
“Restoring service to Wawa has long been part of SEPTA’s service plans,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “We are grateful to Wawa for their partnership and for supporting our vision for service to this vibrant part of Delaware County.”
“We are thrilled to be bringing rail service back to this community after 35 years,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “We are thankful to the residents of Middletown Township and Chester Heights Borough for their patience throughout construction and look forward to welcoming them to their new hometown station. SEPTA service from Wawa Station is the convenient way to travel for those returning to offices or visiting the region for recreation and entertainment.”
The new Wawa Station, located at 1490 W. Baltimore Pike, is fully ADA accessible with a 600-space parking deck and connections to SEPTA Bus Routes 111 and 114. The building and tunnel feature artwork installations that show Wawa’s rich history of transporting milk from the dairy farm to the city via Wawa Station.
“We are proud to partner with our friends at SEPTA on the return of the line located just across from the same Wawa Dairy that has continued to bottle and distribute trusted quality products for more than 100 years and counting,” said Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens. “The new Wawa Station features elements that connect the rail and the surrounding area to our rich history, as well as some fun, brand elements that will greet commuters entering and exiting the station. We look forward to hosting a Community Day on August 22 to celebrate commuters and commemorate the first trains to once again depart from the Wawa station!”
This project would not have been possible without Pennsylvania Act 89, the state’s comprehensive transportation funding law passed in November 2013. Act 89 has enabled SEPTA to invest millions of dollars in the transit network throughout the region, including along the Media/Wawa Line. Over the years, the authority has rehabilitated major viaducts, replaced overhead catenary wire, and made Secane Station fully ADA accessible, among other investments.
“This project connects so many Pennsylvanians and restores a seamless route to access the history, beauty, and communities of our region,” said Pennsylvania State Senator John I. Kane. “Finishing this project is a testament to the leadership who guided this plan, to the strength of vision to reconnect our area, and to the hard work and commitment of the workers who got this line done. Well done SEPTA and welcome back Wawa Station!”
“The opening of the Wawa Station and restoration of Regional Rail service to this part of Delaware County is most welcomed,” said Pennsylvania State Representative Christopher B. Quinn. “I am pleased to join SEPTA leadership and other officials to celebrate this expansion of our mass transit infrastructure.”
“The re-opening of the Wawa Station is a huge infrastructure development for our end of Delaware County,” said Pennsylvania State Representative Craig Williams. “This will give others easier access to the commerce and beauty of our end of Delaware County. The revamped line and station will be a great benefit for our community. By supporting recent growth to western Delaware County, it is my hope that local employers will make use of this asset for their employees.”
“This project is an example of great collaboration over many years between many stakeholders, and will create important multimodal connections in the region, and it represents what’s possible when we invest in transportation,” said PennDOT Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa J. Batula. “There is no question that communities in this area will see the benefits of this new station and the restored service on this line, no matter where they’re going – whether it’s to work, to school, to medical appointments, to the store, or to visit friends and family.”
In restoring the track segment to service, SEPTA replaced 3.5 miles of trackbed and track, replaced four rail bridges, replaced the overhead catenary power system, performed slope stabilization, and installed Positive Train Control. The project also builds on SEPTA’s sustainability efforts through the rehabilitation of four stream culverts, a variety of stormwater measures along the right-of-way and at the station, the installation of a new pedestrian culvert to accommodate the future extension of the Chester Creek Trail, along with bike racks and connections to a future township trail at the station.
“The restoration of rail service to the community has been a long-time goal of the County,” said Delaware County Council Chair Dr. Monica Taylor. “Council commends the County’s representatives on the SEPTA Board, Dan Muroff and Mark Dambly, and members of our Delaware County Planning Department, including Tom Shaffer, for their continued support and advocacy for this project.”
“Middletown is thrilled to have SEPTA rail service back up and running in the Wawa section of our community,” said Middletown Township Council Chair Mark Kirchgasser. “We want to thank SEPTA for their cooperation and great work with the Township despite the headwinds and delays that COVID and the subsequent logistical issues created for the project.”
“Wawa the area, Wawa the train station, and Wawa the company have a linked history that goes back over 100 years,” said Chester Heights Borough Mayor Ginamarie Ellis. “Being here today is fitting in so many ways, and I know our SEPTA riding residents are very much looking forward to starting their commute close to home at Wawa Station.”
The Media/Wawa Regional Rail Line timetable, effective Sunday, August 21, is available for download at: septa.org/schedules/future/rail/pdf/elw.pdf.
To celebrate the first weekday of service, the public is invited to Wawa Station for Community Day on Monday, August 22, which includes free Wawa coffee from 5:30 to 10 am and free Wawa iced teas from 4 to 6:30 pm, along with Wawa Station t-shirts to the first 100 commuters departing in the morning and returning in the afternoon.