October 24, 2021
The long-planned effort to build a new train station in Coatesville took another step forward Friday when federal, state and local officials broke ground on a project that will seek to revitalize the Chester County city.
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf called the project's groundbreaking "a significant milestone" in helping develop a modern accessible train station in Coatesville and improve connections to Amtrak's Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
"The project will improve equity, accessibility and reliability in transportation and that’s exactly what Coatesville needs to continue growing and thriving," Wolf said.
The new Coatesville train station will improve ADA accessibility and provide level boarding platforms, elevators, ramps, site lighting and security cameras, improved drainage and surface parking for local and regional commuters, officials said. Station platforms will include canopies and seating, as well an audio-visual public address system.
Track improvements will include a bypass track to be constructed by Amtrak in order to facilitate train traffic past the station's high-level platforms.
The new station will be located on Fleetwood Street between Third and Fourth avenues, just east of the existing historic station building at Third Avenue and Fleetwood Street. The current station house has been closed for 25 years and does not meet ADA accessibility requirements.
A 175,000-square-foot multimodal parking facility at Fourth Avenue and Fleetwood Street will accompany the new station. The facility is expected to include bus transportation integration, covered waiting shelters, bicycle racks and nearly 500 parking spaces to support SEPTA, Amtrak and Link and Kraft Bus transportation services.
The bridge that takes Fourth Avenue underneath the railroad will be converted into a pedestrian underpass, and a tunnel liner will be installed to eliminate water leakage.
A new layout for Fleetwood Street will maximize space for commercial and retail development on the south side, opposite the new station's location.
More than a decade in the making, construction of the new train station and commuter lot is expected to get underway later this year — weather permitting. The revitalization project is slated to be completed by 2025.
Amtrak has said it would increase train frequency at the new station once completed, and SEPTA has signaled plans to resume Regional Rail service to the city in the future too.
"The restored regional rail service will go a long way to help in Coatesville’s revitalization, boost economic opportunities, and most important, bring equitable transportation to the people of this city," Chester County Commissioners chairwoman Marian Moskowitz said. "I look forward to seeing these channels of transportation allow people to come here and explore the city’s culture and strength."
The PennDOT-led initiative is expected to cost $65 million, with roughly $52 million coming from the Federal Transit Administration. The remaining $13 million will be provided through state transportation funds and Chester County.
During the project design phase, PennDOT worked with the local community on streetscape improvements on Third and Fourth avenues in 2019 and 2020 to improve pedestrian and bicycle access from downtown Coatesville to the new station. The station's design phase was completed earlier this year.
Parts of the historic station also were revamped in late 2019 by the production company behind the hit HBO series "Mare of Easttown," which included some scenes in Coatesville.
The existing Coatesville train station is among the region's least-used by Amtrak, which owns the tracks along SEPTA's Paoli/Thorndale Line.
SEPTA Regional Rail once served Coatesville but truncated the service, ending in Thorndale. The train – then known as the R5 – traveled between Center City and through the Main Line and other western suburbs. Service to Coatesville ceased in 1996 due to low ridership, but the area's growing population and local advocacy have resulted in the station's revival.