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And the Award Goes to...SEPTA Regional Rail Stations

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Press Officer

When stepping off the train at one of several SEPTA Regional Rail stations, passengers may feel as though they have taken a trip back in time. While modernizing Allen Lane, Clifton-Aldan, Folcroft, Morton, North Wales and Queen Lane stations with state-of-the-art amenities, recent renovation projects have restored the facilities to their late 19th and early 20th century beauty. The attention to detail by SEPTA's Capital Construction Department and the projects' contractors earned a 2011 Preservation Achievement Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

"In these improvement and modernization projects we worked hard to preserve the stations' historical integrity while updating the facilities' technology and passenger amenities," said SEPTA GM Joseph Casey. "The recognition received from the Preservation Alliance is a tribute to the dedication of SEPTA's Capital Construction Department and our contractors to ensure that, once the projects were completed, we would offer our passengers the best of the past and the future."

Renovations at the stations ranged from not only updating electrical systems, upgrading parking lots and installing new landscaping to restoring masonry work and completely rehabilitating existing buildings, shelters and pedestrian bridges. Throughout the projects, SEPTA received input and support from residents of the communities where the facilities have served as transit hubs for more than 100 years.

"With these renovations complete, SEPTA will be able to serve the customers who rely on the stations at the highest possible level for many more years," said Casey.

In honoring SEPTA's improvement projects, the Preservation Society wrote:

"The Allen Lane, Clifton-Aldan, Folcroft, Morton, North Wales, and Queen Lane Stations serve four different rail lines and represent a wide variety of station types, from compact brick sheds to picturesque Victorian complexes. Each station received a customized restoration plan specific to its unique material and programmatic needs, avoiding the pitfalls of a one-size-fits-all approach. Among the many highlights, Allen Lane's striking "flying foot bridge" was retained and restored, North Wales Station was rescued from layers of paint accumulation obscuring its charm, and Morton Station's distinctive polychrome High Victorian Gothic masonry facades and exterior woodwork were completely rehabilitated."

Queen Lane Station, which serves SEPTA's Chestnut Hill West Regional Rail Line, was the last of the award-winning stations to be celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The station dates to 1885 and was designed by W. Bleddyn Powell, renowned Pennsylvania Railroad architect and the third architect of Philadelphia's City Hall.

"The Philadelphia region is fortunate to have a commuter rail system in place and that good fortune made even better by the fact that the system has an abundance of historic resources that are actively used every day by commuters," said Patrick Hauck, director of Neighborhood Preservation Programs, Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. "These renovation projects demonstrate how the many historic SEPTA stations are not simply things of beauty, but are also vital and well-loved resources by the local community who support and appreciate their preservation. We salute SEPTA for their good stewardship of these buildings and look forward to the opportunity to recognize future efforts as well."

Queen Lane was the latest award-winning SEPTA Regional Rail station to be celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

SEPTA's Capital Construction team, led by Senior Director Robert Lund (center), was recognized at a Preservation Alliance luncheon.

Restorations at Allen Lane Station included the "flying foot bridge".

The masonry at Morton Station's iconic 19th century station building was restored.

North Wales Station is free of years' of paint build-up.