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Paoli, PA (PAO)


Station Facts

Paoli, PA Station Photo

Paoli, Pennsylvania

13 Lancaster Avenue East Lancaster Pike & North Valley Road Paoli, PA 19301

Station Hours

Annual Station Revenue (2013)
$5,472,015
Annual Station Ridership (2013)
175,299

Ownerships

Facility Ownership Amtrak
Parking Lot Ownership Amtrak, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
Platform Ownership Amtrak
Track Ownership Amtrak

Features

220 Short Term Parking Spaces ATM Accessible Platform
Accessible Waiting Room Dedicated Parking Enclosed Waiting Area
Long Term Parking Spaces Quik Trak Kiosk Restrooms
Ticket Office

Routes Served

  • Keystone Service
  • Pennsylvanian

Contact

Bill Hollister
Regional Contact
governmentaffairsnyc@amtrak.com
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

Local Community Links:

Station History

Paoli has long been an important commuter transportation hub and is the most heavily used regional rail station in the western suburbs of Philadelphia. The present station, a one story tan brick building, was constructed by the Pennyslvania Railroad (PRR) in 1953 at a cost of $140,000; it replaced an earlier Victorian depot built in 1893. During the mid-20th century, many stations along Philadelphia’s Main Line were being stripped, torn down, or used by municipalities in fire-fighting exercises – symptoms of the decline of private passenger rail service in the United States and the cost-cutting measures adopted by railroads to reduce overhead and raise capital.

The heavy usage of the station, however, has led Chester County, Amtrak and SEPTA to come together with Tredyffrin Township, Willistown Township and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to propose a new intermodal transit facility as well as a commercial and potential residential redevelopment of the larger, 30-acre Paoli Rail Yard. The rail yard has a long history: operations began in 1915 with a car shop used to repair steam-powered rail cars. Between 1939 and 1967 it was owned by the PRR, and then by the Penn Central Transportation Co. until 1976. In April of 1976 it was conveyed to Conrail, which immediately transferred title to Amtrak, which owns it to this day. Conrail continued to operate the facility until 1983, when SEPTA took over.

The redevelopment plan calls for the intermodal transportation center to be served by SEPTA trains and buses and Amtrak. It would include ticket offices, retail shops, general waiting area and parking facilities. If fully executed, plan proponents say it would improve traffic congestion, enhance the area’s economy and encourage further transit usage.

As part of the revitalization of the Paoli Station area, the proposed project included remediation of the rail yard. SEPTA, Amtrak and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have worked together to remove toxic chemicals, including PCBs, in preparation for the construction of the new station and other planned facilities such as a small park, landscaped plaza or public square; improved roads; retail and commercial development; and possibly even new residences. The larger, improved station would be the center of a new business district in Paoli. To accommodate these new plans, the surrounding townships have begun to propose new zoning ordinances and elicit resident feedback and are searching for funding.

The Paoli Master Plan approved in 2001 calls for the project to be implemented over the next 20 years, and though officials expect significant development in the short term, especially now that the rail yard remediation is completed, design and construction of a new station is likely to take many years.

Paoli is situated in three townships: Easttown, Tredyffrin, and Willistown. The area is named for the Paoli Inn founded in 1769 by Joshua Evans. The inn, which stood near the current site of the Paoli Post Office, was built on land bought by Evans’ father from William Penn in 1719. It was named for General Pasquale Paoli, after he had received the 45th and final toast at a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the inn. Paoli was a Corsican patriot and leader of the first democratic republic in the modern world. The town grew up around the building, eventually co-opting the inn's name.

During the Revolutionary War, the area became infamous as the location of the Battle of Paoli, also known as the Battle of Paoli Tavern or, perhaps a bit melodramatically, as the Paoli Massacre. Fought on September 21st, 1777, the battle saw a decisive British victory by the forces under the command of Major General Charles Grey over those of colonial Brigadier General Anthony Wayne. Left behind by George Washington with 1,500 troops to monitor and harass the British, General Wayne set up his camp near Paoli Tavern. The British, with more than three times as many troops, planned a surprise assault for roughly midnight, and set upon the camp in three waves.

To make sure that the Americans were not alerted to their presence, General Grey ordered his men to remove the flints from their muskets, earning him the nickname “No Flint” Grey. Catching the Americans completely unprepared, the British took the camp without trouble. Though the routed American troops claimed that the British gave no quarter, only 53 Americans were killed during the battle and the vast majority escaped. The disappointed American troops vowed revenge for this supposed massacre, leading the British troops involved to take to wearing red feathers in their hats to let the Americans identify them in future engagements, a sign of their contempt. To this day the Royal Berkshire Regiment wears red-backed badges on their caps to commemorate this disagreement.

This facility has a waiting room and is staffed by Amtrak employees. The Keystone Service and Pennsylvanian are financed primarily through funds made available by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.