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Getting There: The ISEPTAPHILLY Blog

Line of the Week: Norristown High Speed Line

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This week, we'll be taking a closer look at the Norristown High Speed Line. Within SEPTA, the NHSL is a unique blend of technologies. Originally powered by steam, it's now considered an interuban line, which  is a type of electric railway, with streetcar-like light electric self-propelled railcars which run within and between cities or towns.

The NHSL now stretches over 13 miles and 22 stops. Although it has high level platforms similar to many rapid transit systems, its frequent stops are not unlike a light rail system.

The Norristown High Speed Line has a few nicknames. Sometimes, it's just abbreviated to the NHSL. It's also known as the Purple Route. Some still call it the Route 100, but it hasn't officially been called that since its name change in September 2009. You also might hear some calling it the P&W, since it was once operated by Philadelphia and Western Railroad.

When the NHSL was constructed in 1907, it traveled from 69th Street Transportation Center to a converted farm system, but it was only four years later that it was extended to its current terminus of Norristown Transportation Center.

The NHSL connects with numerous Colleges and Universities on the Main Line, including Villanova University, Haverford College, Rosemont College, and Bryn Mawr College. The NHSL is an easy alternative to riding SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line to Center City. Instead of heading to a Regional Rail Station, look for the closest NHSL station to you on the map above. You can also find the latest schedule here. Once you have that figured out, just hop the NHSL to SEPTA's 69th Street Transportation Center, which is the end of the line. Then, follow the blue signs for SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line, your direct route into Center City! 

When riding this, it's important to stay alert. Most of the stops on this route are by request only, similar to a bus or trolley. 

If you're planning on riding, there are a few things you don't want to forget.

  • You'll want to remember your SEPTA Key! This is your "key" to not just the Norristown High Speed Line but to all of SEPTA! If you're using your SEPTA Key, fare will be $2, your first transfer will be free and your second transfer will only be $1. Not only that, but children under the age of 12 ride free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult!  And starting 10/20, you can buy a Three Day Convenience Pass which is ideal for individuals who travel on SEPTA less than 5 days a week and visitors and tourists enjoying a multiple day stay in Philadelphia.The cost is $18 and it's good for 24 trips over 72 consecutive hours. Time starts with your first tap. It is meant for one rider. You can read up about fare here. And if you've never ridden the NHSL before, check out this informative video on How to Ride!

  • Don't forget your mask! This isn't just to keep you safe, it's to keep everyone who rides SEPTA safe! Make sure your mask is covering both your mouth and your nose.

  • And finally, don't forget to keep social distance!

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