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9 beautiful and historic train stations along SEPTA Regional Rail

From multiple Frank Furness gems to one of the oldest stations in the U.S.

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The SEPTA Regional Rail is Philly’s commuter rail network, with 13 branches stopping along more than 100 stations all around the Philadelphia metro region. About 132,000 people ride the Regional Rail every day.

“Regional Rail is my favorite mode,” says Ayanna Matlock, SEPTA’s corporate initiatives manager. “It’s quick, convenient, and so comfortable.”

And at times, quite charming. Many of the SEPTA Regional Rail lines are dotted with quaint, sometimes one-room train stations that are either architecturally or historically significant. That’s because many of them pre-date the 1900s, built as part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The PRR was headquartered in Philly and was one of the largest railroad systems in the country during the first half of the 20th century.

As the Pennsylvania Railroad continued its expansion, the company commissioned big-name architects like Frank Furness and the Wilson Brothers to design stations up and down its rail lines. Here are some of the train stations that have withstood the test of time, despite the PRR’s demise. Nearly all of them continue to serve their original functions as stops along the SEPTA Regional Rail.

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Jenkintown–Wyncote Station

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Architect Horace Trumbauer was known for his incredibly opulent mansions of the Gilded Age, but his work wasn’t just limited to such. In 1923, he was hired by the Reading Rail Company to design the Jenkintown-Wyncote Station. The Queen Anne-style station is one of the few made of stone on this list. When it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, the nomination noted that the “current station is one of the last traditional passenger stations constructed in the region before World War II and the subsequent rise of the American car culture.”

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Gravers Station

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Serviced by the Chestnut Hill East line, Gravers Station (formerly Gravers Lane Station) was designed by Frank Furness in 1882. True to Furness fashion, it’s been described as “gawky” and “histrionic.” But its architecture is notable enough for the station to be deemed historic on both a national and local level.

Mt. Airy Station

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This train station on the Chestnut Hill East Line was built in 1875 and designed by Frank Furness of Furness & Evans Co. Described as having an “aggressive silhouette,” the station stands out for its gabled roof and Queen Anne Stick-style architecture.

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Strafford Station

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Strafford Station on the Paoli/Thorndale line in its current location dates back to 1876, but it’s been rebuilt time and time again, most recently in the early 2000s by SEPTA. The architect is unknown, but the Stick-style station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

via Wikimedia Commons

Berwyn Station

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Located on the Paoli/Thorndale line, Berwyn Station has been restored over the years and now doubles as the home of The Frame Station Gallery. Built in 1884 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the quaint station has a pedestrian bridge over its tracks that used to carry cars, too.

Radnor Station

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Radnor Station was designed in the 1880s by Joseph M. Wilson and Frederick G. Thorn, two architects that would later work for the famed Wilson Brothers & Company. Like many of the stations along the regional rail, Radnor Station had a residence built within for the rail agent. The historic station was most recently restored by SEPTA between 1999 and 2002.

Shawmont Station

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No, this station doesn’t exactly qualify as “beautiful,” but it certainly is historically significant: Shawmont Station is the oldest passenger railroad station in the U.S.

The station dates back to 1834, when it was part of the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad and named Green Tree station. At this point, most trains were pulled by horses, and the line only saw one train service per day.

It’s unconfirmed, but it’s assumed that the Greek Revival-style station was designed by William Strickland, who was the chief architect of the railroad company at the time. In modern times, Shawmont Station served as a stop along the Manayunk/Norristown line on the Regional Rail, until SEPTA cut its service in 1996. It’s now on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

via Wikimedia Commons

Wallingford Station

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Wallingford Station serves the Media/Elwyn Line and was built sometime between 1880 and 1890 and designed by none other than Frank Furness, the acclaimed architect who designed dozens of train stations big and small throughout the Philadelphia region. At some point during its history, the train station doubled as the town’s post office.

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Wilmington Station

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We end our trip in Wilmington, Delaware at the only train station on this list that’s not located in Pennsylvania. Designed by Frank Furness and opened in 1908, it’s one of the biggest and grandest train stations along the SEPTA Regional Line, and serves as the state’s biggest transportation hub. Furness designed the station so that the trains arrived on the second floor, which offers passengers in waiting a view of the building’s four-faced, stone and terra cotta clock tower.

The station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was technically renamed in 2011 after vice president and Delaware resident Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Biden, affectionately called Amtrak Joe, traveled to and from the station to D.C. by Amtrak every day while in the Senate.

via Wikimedia Commons

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Jenkintown–Wyncote Station

Architect Horace Trumbauer was known for his incredibly opulent mansions of the Gilded Age, but his work wasn’t just limited to such. In 1923, he was hired by the Reading Rail Company to design the Jenkintown-Wyncote Station. The Queen Anne-style station is one of the few made of stone on this list. When it was added to the National Register of Historic Places, the nomination noted that the “current station is one of the last traditional passenger stations constructed in the region before World War II and the subsequent rise of the American car culture.”

via Wikimedia Commons

Gravers Station

Serviced by the Chestnut Hill East line, Gravers Station (formerly Gravers Lane Station) was designed by Frank Furness in 1882. True to Furness fashion, it’s been described as “gawky” and “histrionic.” But its architecture is notable enough for the station to be deemed historic on both a national and local level.

Mt. Airy Station

This train station on the Chestnut Hill East Line was built in 1875 and designed by Frank Furness of Furness & Evans Co. Described as having an “aggressive silhouette,” the station stands out for its gabled roof and Queen Anne Stick-style architecture.

via Wikimedia Commons

Strafford Station

Strafford Station on the Paoli/Thorndale line in its current location dates back to 1876, but it’s been rebuilt time and time again, most recently in the early 2000s by SEPTA. The architect is unknown, but the Stick-style station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

via Wikimedia Commons

Berwyn Station

Located on the Paoli/Thorndale line, Berwyn Station has been restored over the years and now doubles as the home of The Frame Station Gallery. Built in 1884 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the quaint station has a pedestrian bridge over its tracks that used to carry cars, too.

Radnor Station

Radnor Station was designed in the 1880s by Joseph M. Wilson and Frederick G. Thorn, two architects that would later work for the famed Wilson Brothers & Company. Like many of the stations along the regional rail, Radnor Station had a residence built within for the rail agent. The historic station was most recently restored by SEPTA between 1999 and 2002.

Shawmont Station

No, this station doesn’t exactly qualify as “beautiful,” but it certainly is historically significant: Shawmont Station is the oldest passenger railroad station in the U.S.

The station dates back to 1834, when it was part of the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad and named Green Tree station. At this point, most trains were pulled by horses, and the line only saw one train service per day.

It’s unconfirmed, but it’s assumed that the Greek Revival-style station was designed by William Strickland, who was the chief architect of the railroad company at the time. In modern times, Shawmont Station served as a stop along the Manayunk/Norristown line on the Regional Rail, until SEPTA cut its service in 1996. It’s now on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places.

via Wikimedia Commons

Wallingford Station

Wallingford Station serves the Media/Elwyn Line and was built sometime between 1880 and 1890 and designed by none other than Frank Furness, the acclaimed architect who designed dozens of train stations big and small throughout the Philadelphia region. At some point during its history, the train station doubled as the town’s post office.

via Wikimedia Commons

Wilmington Station

We end our trip in Wilmington, Delaware at the only train station on this list that’s not located in Pennsylvania. Designed by Frank Furness and opened in 1908, it’s one of the biggest and grandest train stations along the SEPTA Regional Line, and serves as the state’s biggest transportation hub. Furness designed the station so that the trains arrived on the second floor, which offers passengers in waiting a view of the building’s four-faced, stone and terra cotta clock tower.

The station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was technically renamed in 2011 after vice president and Delaware resident Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Biden, affectionately called Amtrak Joe, traveled to and from the station to D.C. by Amtrak every day while in the Senate.

via Wikimedia Commons