SEPTA Looks to Restore Oldest Surviving Passenger Station

A SEPTA inbound local from Norristown to Philadelphia passes the unused Shawmont station. A $1.25 million contract for exterior renovations is on the agenda for the transit agency’s December board meeting. Photo by M.T.Burkhart.

SEPTA Looks to Restore Oldest Surviving Passenger Station

By M.T.Burkhart

PHILADELPHIA – Later this month, Southeastern Pennsylvanian Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is expected to award a contract for the exterior restoration of the oldest surviving passenger station in the country.

Located along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia’s Roxborough section, the Greek Revival-style station opened in 1834 and was designed by William Strickland, according to the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia. Strickland was the chief designer for the Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown Railroad whose other works include Merchant’s Exchange and the Second Bank of the United States. The line became part of the Reading Railroad and was eventually taken over by SEPTA.

Shawmont was a flag stop until the 1990s, but a caretaker lived there until a decade ago, according to the Alliance. Today, most of the first-floor windows are boarded up and the exterior stucco is crumbling. The dirt and gravel platforms remain.

The SEPTA board is expected to award a $1.25 million contract to LBI Construction LLC for the exterior rehabilitation “to match the appropriate period of significance for the inactive Shawmont station,” according to the December 16 agenda. Once started, the work is expected to take about nine months.

There is no word on what the building might be used for once the renovations are complete, but it is not expected to return as a SEPTA stop. It does, however, sit adjacent to the busy Schuylkill River Trail that’s popular with cyclists and joggers. The building is also on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, which protected it from demolition.

This article was posted on: December 16, 2021