Tracks from railroads’ past seen as path to future.

August 23, 2015

In a narrow corridor just outside Philadelphia, unused train tracks slowly surrender to rust and rot.

 Hidden by trees and underbrush from surrounding starter homes and shops, for 200 yards the rails wend through overgrown grass and wildflowers like the exposed vertebrae of ancient serpents.

The tracks in Oreland, Montgomery County, are among close to 100 miles of unused railroad rights-of-way in So

A century ago, these corridors were the backbone of the region’s economy. Now, they are increasingly important answers to transportation problems.

For the first time in more than 30 years, SEPTA is taking steps to reactivate a fallow stretch of rail from Elwyn to Wawa and is considering reopening another line in northern Montgomery County to passenger trains. A resurgent freight rail industry sees its inactive tracks as valuable investments. Meanwhile, trail builders are using these forsaken assets to create a cyclist and pedestrian network that is among the most ambitious in the country.

Read Inquirer staff writer Jason Laughlin’s full story along with maps and photos from The Philadelphia Inquirer by clicking here.

 

 

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