Giant New Power Towers Planned for Main Line

Amtrak plans to replace power line towers with huge new structures that will run all along the Main Line tracks, right through Tredyffrin and Easttown

Amtrak plans to replace the power line towers along the Main Line tracks with gigantic new structures that will run all along the Main Line, right through Tredyffrin and Easttown.

The towers would be similar to ones that run along Amtrak's "I-95 corridor" in along the southern Connecticut coastline.

Amtrak held a public hearing on the towers earlier in June in Villanova to discuss the plans. According to one Tredyffrin Township Supervisor who attended there were less than 10 members of the public at the meeting which was legally advertised but not widely promoted by the railroad.

The Tredyffrin Township website describes the planned Amtrak towers this way:

Starting in 2015, Amtrak is planning to replace the structures that support the existing overhead contact system along the 22 mile stretch of railway from the Philadelphia Zoo to the Paoli Train Station.

The current system of structures is approximately 100 years old and have reached its life expectancy. The changes to the new structures anticipated with this project are as follows: 1) they will be taller – typically they will be 75 feet but where they cross highway overpasses, they will be 100 feet; 2) they will be steel and have a wide flange shape (like an “I” beam); 3) they will be galvanized and will retain their gray color rather than rusting; 4) they will have a k-frame in lieu of the head-span; 5) they will not have guy wires; and 6) the spacing across the tracks will be slightly wider to provide additional track clearance.

For further information regarding this project, contact Daniel P. Tasker at Amtrak, 215-349-1416, Taskerd@amtrak.com or Daren Petroski at Burns Engineering, Inc., 215-979-7700 x7749, DPetroski@burns-group.com. To review handouts from the last public meeting, please visit the Township Building, 1100 DuPortail Rd, Berwyn during regular business hours.

What do you think? Are the new towers too tall or are you ok with replacing the rusting towers along the tracks with the much taller ones like Amtrak uses in Connecticut?

Tell us in the comment section at the bottom of this article.

Nick Newell June 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM
If I am not mistaken, there are similar towers along thetracks next to I-76 aswell. They are much bigger than the old pylons.
Marc June 29, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I'd like to see an artist's rendering of what they will look like around Bridge Ave. in Berwyn. Another example of the archaic methods used to alert the public about issues they should be aware of.
Sean Moir June 29, 2012 at 04:05 PM
I agree with Marc. An artist rendering would be very helpful for Berwyn, Paoli, Strafford, and Daylesford. I also wonder how far apart they will be spaced. Every mile, or two?
daniel w foster June 29, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Far too tall for bucolic Berwyn!
Bob Byrne (Editor) June 29, 2012 at 07:50 PM
I know you are referring to the way Amtrak got the word out.. or perhaps didn't get the word out. Hopefully, Patch is the opposite of archaic! :-P But seriously, Patch will attempt to keep the public up to date on future hearings and developments on this story which will have some dramatic impacts on the landscape all along the Main Line.
Marc June 29, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Bob, Patch is indeed the opposite of archaic. I agree with Sean, a sketch or artist's rendering of the TE portion would be helpful.
Michael Heaberg June 29, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Great question, Sean. According to Amtrak's presentation on 4/30/12, the towers would be spaced 220 to 315 feet apart along the train line. So with 5-6 miles of track from Wayne/Strafford to Paoli, about 100 structures in Tredyffrin and Easttown. Each structure will be one galvanized, gray steel pole on each side of the track, with a cross-member. The height will be 70-75 feet (about the height of the lights at Teamer Field) with some towers reaching 100 feet high at overhead bridges. Amtrak admits the project will have a "visual impact".
PETER COCCHIA June 30, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Does Amtrak need zoning approval for the towers? One hundred structures in TE and Easttown are way too many and the visual impact will be extremely negative.
Bob Byrne (Editor) June 30, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Peter, My understanding is that Amtrak does not need zoning approval because it is a federal, not private project. Supervisor Heaberg or other Tredyffrin Township officials may be able to shed more light on your question. I will try to track down a more definitive answer for you. In terms of the number of towers tthere are about about that many structures in place now. Of course they only rise about 40 feet above the track bed, much lower than the structures Amtrak is describing for the new towers.
Tom Halpin June 30, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Why the need for taller towers? I can't recall an example of a technology that needs to be larger in size than it was 100 years ago to achieve an equivalent result. This is just another item to add to the current list of SEPTA imcompentecies: high costs, filthy stations, poor parking, and inconvenient schedules.
Hank Venture June 30, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Without the anti-SEPTA rant (this is an Amtrak project) I would also like to know why added height is required.
el July 02, 2012 at 02:19 PM
those CT towers look different than the rendering provided at planphilly. to answer Mr. Halpin's question, this has nothing to do with septa nor its incompetencies. "The 20-mile stretch of electrification was completed in 1915 and consisted of a 44,000 volt transmission, 11,000 volt traction power and 3,300 volt under-ground signal power feeder system. In an effort to create a new primary route and increase power transmission reliability...AMTRAK needs to expand its 138,000 volt transmission network. This new primary route will cut maintenance costs by allowing AMTRAK to focus primary tree trimming efforts on its revenue service lines instead of maintaining its present, 27-mile stretch of off-corridor transmission lines along the SEPTA Cynwyd Line...the Schuylkill Bikeway and the Trenton Cut-off." http://planphilly.com/public-hearing-tonight-design-amtraks-new-transmission-line-electrification-system in other words, Amtrak has to maintain 27 miles of non-revenue right of way which means less money for revenue lines which means less reliable service. the tradeoff, obviously, is that the towers will be located along the line instead of in someone else's backyard. OTOH, the service is the backbone for SEPTA's well used (even if it could be better) main line service as well as amtrak's growing keystone corridor. like all things in life, there are tradeoffs.


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