Sheffield Furniture & Interiors has been a Malvern Borough mainstay for a long time. But this is not the view most of us see traveling up and down King.
This is what residential neighborhoods behind them and across the train tracks see. Not a particularly lovely design is it ? Sort of an abomination isn’t it?
Why can’t they paint it every few years with anti- graffiti paint? Sherwin-Williams actually makes an anti-graffiti coating that does this that can go over painted walls.
Graffiti is everywhere and I think it would be nice if Malvern Borough encouraged businesses with graffiti to clean up. And what if a mural went on that wall and was covered with that anti graffiti coating? Wouldn’t that look cool?
And the rear of Eastside Flats shows the cheapness in that project. Eastside Flats is just that: flat. Only the facade has any sort of detail. The side and rear of Eastside Flats looks like a large looming cheap shore motel.
Malvern Borough should also see if Amtrak and / or SEPTA have any beautification monies ever that could help defray the cost of graffiti removal, anti- graffiti , and even help fund murals and re-painting of these track and neighborhood facing walls.
If you were still awake last night around 10 pm you saw the news start to come in about a horrific and now deadly Amtrak crash right past 30th street station around Wheatsheaf Lane Port Richmond (Philadelphia).
Many years ago for quite a few years I used to commute on Amtrak to NYC and when I lived on Main Line, train tracks ran through a lot of our neighborhoods.
This crash was always a fear. Especially when we would as residents of small Main Line neighborhoods used to see freight trains on the R5 rails. Yes freight trains. Recently it has been on the news about folks in Philadelphia expressing concern and protesting about freight trains and the fear of crashing. Even in 2013 SEPTA tried for “TIGER” funds for this.
What does this have to do with this crash which news reports now say 6 people confirmed dead and at least 140 injured?
Infrastructure. AMTRAK has a lot of track to maintain and this morning 7 cars are strewn like toy trains on a child’s train table. When I lived on the Main Line in Lower Merion Township like many others including friends from Bala Cynwyd through even to Malvern Borough today, we had tracks literally in our neighborhoods. The tracks aren’t just running through city neighborhoods. For me it was across the street, for some the tracks were right beyond their back yards, sometimes only a matter of feet away. And you would see SEPTA local commuter trains, AMTRAK trains, and even freight trains.
Seeing the freight trains was the worst in my old neighborhood because the tracks would literally groan and shake with their weight. Of course what was even more fun is when you would call to find out why freight trains were running through residential neighborhoods and they would tell you “there are no freight trains running through residential neighborhoods on the Main Line.” You would have to take a photo of the freight train in order to prove it.
There is always news around here about people wanting AMTRAK to clean up, do repairs, be better neighbors. Where I used to live still suffers during storm events – portions of the neighborhood flood horribly because of stormwater runoff. Former Congressman Jim Gerlach used to try to help us with our AMTRAK issues, even came out personally quite a few times to see the tracks himself, but there need to be a lot more elected officials to do this all over the country.
I remember once a few years ago, government officials holdings community forum with AMTRAK and this Senior Government Affairs guy from AMTRAK NYC was part of the panel. He wasn’t particularly used friendly to the regular folk and I wonder if his phone is ringing off the phone this morning ?
I hope the media stays on this story. There needs to be a spotlight on our aging infrastructure as far as our rail systems go. And there was a former Congressman (Pagrick Murphy) on this train along with a producer or some other kind of NBC news employee. And given the age of social media in which we live there are a lot of photos surfacing from the scene of this crash. Right now they are saying Amtrak service is suspended on the northeast corner, and I bet a lot of the SEPTA trains are canceled as well.
When I commuted to New York we experienced quite a bit on AMTRAK. One time in the summer we got caught in a marsh fire in between coming out of the tunnel in New York City before we got to Newark.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas there was always “jumper season”. Yes as awful as it sounds – that was the peak time of year when people would attempt suicide by train. One time they didn’t cover up the body parts fast enough. I don’t mean to sound callous but that’s what it was. It was horrible.
And what also came to mind last night is if last night’s tragedy had occurred during the holiday season when the trains are so packed what would have happened? Quite literally then people are standing in the aisles between New York and Washington. If that had been the case last night, you would’ve been looking at a much larger body count. And I’ve never understood how AMTRAK allows that to occur anyway because it’s just not safe even without worrying about crashes.
Of course this derailment and accident makes me think of all the developers who want to build right on the train tracks. We have an example of that locally which is Eastside Flats in Malvern borough. In media coverage of this crash in Philadelphia, it looks like the catenary wires came down too – those are those big wires on giant poles you see around a lot of the train stations.
Say prayers for the victims of this crash. And send up a huge word of thanks for the first responders who were so amazing last night. Things like this don’t happen very often, but wherever there’s a track that could happen. I hope that this means we will have a more meaningful conversation in this country about our aging infrastructure and government officials will do more than pay it lip service. And AMTRAK does have a pretty healthy budget every year, so how do they spend their money? Is it on infrastructure repairs and upgrades or salaries of middle level and upper management?
Here is media coverage:
NOTE: Those trying to contact passengers on the train should call the Amtrak Hotline at 1-800-523-9101.
At least six people were killed and over 140 people hurt after an Amtrak train, carrying 238 passengers and five crew members, derailed and rolled onto its side in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia Tuesday night, according to officials.
The death toll from the crash rose to six Wednesday morning when Temple University Hospital officials confirmed one patient had died of their injuries overnight. 54 patients were treated at Temple, 25 remained hospitalized Wednesday morning including eight patients in critical condition, chief medical officer Dr. Herbert Cushing said at a briefing.
All seven cars of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 derailed and came off the tracks near Frankford Junction on the 2000 block of Wheatsheaf Lane shortly after 9 p.m., officials said. The train was heading to New York from Washington, D.C., and had six passenger cars as well as an engine.
New York Times:
It’s snowing in Chester County! And it IS pretty!! Great day to bake and sew and get ready for Thanksgiving!
I will tell you I am glad the days of working in New York City are behind me because Amtrak the night before Thanksgiving becomes Cramtrak, and if you add snow it becomes a travel horror show.
This morning if you were on 352 at the underpass in Frazer you got to witness yet another truck driver get stuck. And it wasn’t some guy renting a box truck from U-Haul or Budget or Penske for the first time, it was a regular truck driver in a huge truck hauling a load – in other words this isn’t in my opinion to be filed under beginner’s bad luck.
Every time I see something like this happen I marvel at how these trucks and people driving them don’t seem to know how big they are by themselves and if they are carrying a big load, how tall they are in relationship to a tunnel or underpass. And if they do know how big and tall they are they see the height sign for an underpass that would indicate to a sensible person they might get stuck, why they don’t stop and turn around?
Around 10 am this morning a giant truck hauling giant metal cube things decided height restrictions were for other people at the Route 352 underpass in Frazer.
We were in a line of traffic waiting on the Immaculata side of the underpass and we sat and watched the truck approach. The driver stopped at first as if giving it a good look and then he proceeded. And got stuck. The truck stopped. Then remarkably it tried to go forward as if that would make it better. Only he wasn’t hauling puffy rubber or foam that would bend, he was hauling these giant metal boxes with what looked like vents cut into them. So he got more stuck.
Finally he stopped trying to go forward and instead started to back up. Of course it being 352 there was traffic up the rear of the truck but they started to back up and after many minutes of all of us on the road collectively holding our breath, the truck was able to get unstuck and out from underneath the underpass.
I just don’t understand how these trucks think they are going to fit if they are too tall and big going into the scenario?
Here’s hoping Amtrak checked the bridge after. Every time there is a stuck truck or a hit they are supposed to check the bridge.
Wow. Way to go Pete Kennedy from Malvern Patch! Millions of tax dollars were spent on making SEPTA’s Malvern Train Station new and improved….and I thought that meant fully ADA accessible. Only, as Malvern Patch is reporting it is NOT truly ADA accessible after all.
SEPTA seems to have provided Patch with some amazing non-answers. I find it absolutely astounding that train stations are being reconstructed at the tune of millions and millions in tax dollars, grants, you name it and they are supposed to be new, improved, shiny, and ADA accessible…only they aren’t?
Rob Anderson, a daily rail commuter for more than 12 years, writes:
[T]hey installed all the ADA required ramps, etc. and that is great. But, how can a person in a wheelchair get onto the train? Has SEPTA made any indication of how they are going to install ramps for riders to get on/off the train?
We reached out to SEPTA, and spokesperson Kristin Geiger explained that there’s currently no way for someone in a wheelchair to board the train in Malvern, despite the many new ramps. They can, however, request free transportation from Malvern to a nearby station with a high-level platform
You can read the full SEPTA response on Malvern Patch.
So how are the railroads accountable exactly? Shouldn’t they be fined and forced to remediate? I pretty much just asked Philadelphia Inquirer reporter that question a few moments ago as he wrote a rather large article the other day about the Paoli Station makeover which is moving forward. If all new and reinvented, rebuilt, repurposed train stations are supposed to be ADA accessible, why aren’t they? I mean ask anyone who opens a business that has public rest rooms for example. They can’t just say “oops we’ll add handicap accessible bathrooms later” can they ? So why is it any different for public transit entities like AMTRAK and SEPTA?
According to AAPD “Of the nearly 2 million people with disabilities who never leave their homes, 560,000 never leave home because of transportation difficulties“
I can tell you off the top of my head in addition to Paoli, Bryn Mawr and Ardmore train stations are not ADA accessible. So now Malvern is back on that list after a very expensive face lift that included all sorts of fancy ramps. I was using Malvern station a great deal almost two years ago now when being treated for breast cancer. It was so difficult for me to navigate, and I kept thinking that at least at the end of the project people with temporary and permanent disabilities would be better served when the renovation was complete.
I am utterly amazed that Malvern Borough did not stay on top of this project to ensure ADA compliance, but should I be surprised? Malvern Borough has some of the worst sidewalks I have ever seen in their downtown, so obviously ADA compliance is not a huge priority is it? Maybe it will be when someone trips on a sidewalk and sues the borough?
I figure I would bring this up now, given the money about to be spent in Paoli on a new train station. I am thrilled that this project is moving forward as in Ardmore there is nothing transit related happening with regard to THAT train station project and one can assume people will be riding Dranoff condos or apartments into Center City Philadelphia. The Paoli project will remove that hideously dangerous and outmoded North Valley Road bridge, but Paoli Train Station has serious ADA issues now, so will the station be ADA compliant?
Part of why these train stations are getting makeovers isn’t just parking and aesthetics, the functionality is supposed to be bought current. I guess I just don’t understand the thinking of SEPTA with regard to Malvern and wonder why they can’t just do something right the first time?
To quote the AAPD again:
Transportation and The Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) is the landmark civil rights law that addresses the rights of people with disabilities. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public transportation services, such as city buses and public rail (subways, commuter trains, etc.). Under the ADA; all new vehicles used in public transit must be accessible; key existing rail stations and all new rail stations and facilities must be accessible; and transit operators must provide paratransit (on-demand, door-to-door) services for those who cannot use available mass transit.
Twenty years after passage of the ADA, transportation choices for people with disabilities are still limited. The ADA has led to major improvements in transit systems across the United States. However, there are persistent gaps in compliance that continue to create significant barriers for people with disabilities. In addition, because the ADA only addresses public transportation, few transportation options exist for people with disabilities where no public transportation is available. In some areas, such as in rural communities, insufficient funding has left people with disabilities with little or no transportation options. In urban areas, where individuals often rely on accessible taxis, a lack of requirements has meant very uneven progress.
By JIM CALLAHAN
Duffy’s Cut victim John Ruddy, late of Chester County, is to be buried after services March 2 in County Donegal, Ireland.
Ruddy was one of up to 57 Irish immigrants who died of cholera and probable mob violence at an East Whiteland railroad construction site known as Duffy’s Cut.
Ruddy and the others are believed to have died nearly 181 years ago in the last two weeks of August 1832. Ruddy was 18.
His are the only remains thus far identified from an incident that was successfully hidden from the general public until recent years.
Professor William Watson of Immaculata University released details of the funeral arrangements. Services are set for 3 p.m. at Holy Family Church in Ardara, Donegal. Burial will be in the church cemetery.
A week or so I happened to be passing by the Duffy’s Cut historical marker (I got a historical marker approved a few years ago and it is a lot of work to get one of them) and stopped to photograph it. Given the clouds of mystery and intrigue still surrounding Duffy’s Cut, I think the foggy afternoon was perfect. I also think that given the development occurring in Malvern (borough and East Whiteland) by developers who don’t truly give a rat’s fanny about the area, the history, or the current residents (they care about building and selling projects) it is also appropriate to remember the history. You can never truly move forward into the future if you can’t honor the past, or that is just my opinion as a mere mortal and female.
I have always thought the tale of Duffy’s Cut to be a huge part of the history of Malvern. The Duffy’s Cut Project is housed at Immaculata. You can go see it.
The Smithsonian Channel has a special about it – called the Ghosts of Duffy’s Cut.
Duffy’s Cut is a big deal. What was Duffy’s Cut?
From Immaculata’s web site:
In June, 1832, a group of 57 Irish immigrants from Donegal, Tyrone, and Derry arrived in Philadelphia. They were brought to Chester County by a fellow Irishman named Philip Duffy as laborers for the construction of the Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad, Pennsylvania’s pioneering railroad. Within six weeks, all were dead of cholera and possibly violence, and were buried anonymously in a ditch outside of Malvern.
Two brothers, Frank and Bill Watson have done yeoman’s work on this topic of Duffy’s Cut. Read about them in the Wall Street Journal:
The Mystery of Duffy’s Cut
Historians Dig for Truth About What—or Who—Killed Early Rail Workers
April 14, 2011 By PETER LOFTUS
MALVERN, Pa.—Frank and Bill Watson recently led a group hoisting shovels and pick axes into a wooded hollow here in Philadelphia’s suburbs.
“Let’s find some bodies,” said Bill Watson, a professor of history at nearby Immaculata University.
Two children playing nearby scampered away before the men led by the Watsons—twin brothers and historians—started chipping away at a hillside hemmed in by two housing developments and busy railroad tracks.
The Watsons are on a macabre mission that began with a file of railroad company documents left behind by a grandfather and curiosity about what exactly happened at this spot—known as Duffy’s Cut—nearly 180 years ago.
This much is clear: Nearly 60 Irish laborers died here in 1832 as they built a land bridge for what became the thriving railroad that lent its name to Philadelphia’s affluent Main Line suburbs.
Their bodies were believed to be buried in a mass grave next to the railroad line, used today by Amtrak and local commuter trains. Tales of ghost sightings nearby were passed down through generations of area residents.
Cholera seemed the most likely culprit. Newspaper reports from the time reported that the disease killed several of the laborers at Duffy’s Cut. And an 1833 letter written by a superintendent of a precursor of the Pennsylvania Railroad said the contractor who hired the workers, Philip Duffy, lost “nearly one half of his men” to cholera. But early in their research, the Watsons began to suspect there might be more to the story….
In 2009, they began finding skeletal remains of at least four people. While many questions linger, the Watsons have become convinced at least three of them didn’t die of cholera.
One skull has holes with traces of lead on the edges, indicating a bullet’s entry and exit wounds, as well as a narrow slit that appeared to be delivered by an axe or hatchet. Another has a compression fracture suggesting it was caused by a blunt object. The third had dents in the skull indicating violence….
The work at Duffy’s Cut has received media attention in Ireland, and the Watsons have told the story to Irish heritage groups here. Michael Collins, the Irish ambassador to the U.S., has visited Duffy’s Cut twice.
“I was really struck by the human tragedy of all these young people dying so soon after coming here, and family back in Ireland never knowing what happened to them, or even knowing that they were dead,” he said. “Their story needs to be told.”
By JAMES O’SHEA,IrishCentral Staff Writer
The dig for Irish remains at Duffy’ Cut in Pennsylvania has come to an end.
Frank and Bill Watson, the historians who first located the remains of Irish railroad workers, many of whom are believed to have been murdered in 1832, say that the mass grave they have been seeking is unreachable
It has been located 30 feet underground but too near to an existing Amtrak track to unearth it. It is said to hold the remains of up to 57 Irish emigrants from Donegal, Derry and Tyrone.
The Watsons, believe most of the Irish were likely victims of lynch mobs driven by anti-Irish sentiment which was widespread at the time.
The discovery of the mass grave came when geophysicist Tim Bechtel used updated equipment electrical imaging and seismic surveys, to discover the mass grave 30 feet below the surface.
It’s also on Amtrak property. They will not permit any digging because of its proximity to the tracks, spokeswoman Danelle Hunter told Associated Press.…The mass remains are of Irish immigrants, mostly from Donegal, who were building the railroad near Philadelphia when they all mysteriously died….
Frank and Bill Watson with the help of volunteers and archaeologists proved via DNA and testing that most of the Irish had been murdered and did not die of cholera.
“Since the beginning, we have seen it as our job to get their story out of folklore and into actual history, and we hope we have done that,” Bill Watson told Associated Press.
A local monument stated the men had died of “black diptheria” in 1834 but it is known they died two years earlier.
Soon after they started digging they found the remains of six people and a nearby shantytown.
University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Janet Monge found proof of savage violence done to the remains including a bullet wound to the head of one of them.
Many locals had been sceptical that anything would be found. East Whiteland Township Manager Terry Woodman told AP.
“Some people thought that this was lore, a story that through the telling had been exaggerated,” Woodman said. “There was a lot of skepticism.”
The rest who were killed were ordered buried in a mass grave and their shantytown burned to the ground.
One victim was identified victim as 18-year-old John Ruddy, based on his bone size and the passenger list of a ship that came from Ireland to Philadelphia shortly before the men died.
The brothers plan to bury the remains found in a suburban Philadelphia cemetery around St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
Dennis Downey, a history professor at Millersville University, said the work done has been invaluable.
So Malvern, as you look at the developer tarting up one end of the town to sell his project, remember what happened in the East Whiteland side of Malvern. Here’s hoping some day the dead there can all rest. They certainly didn’t get what they deserved coming to America looking for honest work.
As a photographer I have actually photographed the aftemath of an accident involving trains and humans. It was at Bryn Mawr station on a summer evening in June 2010. I even wrote about it for Main Line Media News as an op-ed piece.
That night, a reporter I knew phoned to say there was a fatality on the tracks. I met the reporter at the scene after they were certain the victim had been removed. I didn’t want to see that because I have seen similar scenes in the past. I used to commute to New York City years ago, and especially between Thanksgiving and Christmas there were always incidents on the tracks, as there is literally a suicide by train season. One time in particular, NJ Transit and Amtrak weren’t fast enough to clean up an accident scene. That image is forever in my mind.
After this in my editorial I wrote In addition, in spite of horrible tragedies like this, so many people go up onto or get too close to live train tracks every single day. Every summer as soon as school lets out, part of the sounds of summer nights are voices on the train tracks — usually kids. Even during the school year it happens. You see it every day when people don’t want to take the time to take the stairs at stations to get to the other side — they just cross right in the middle.
On that Friday evening in 2010 I also thought of the family who would receive this tragically horrible news, as well as a local family who did receive news like this in May 2007. That was when young Brian Breskman was electrocuted by the third rail of SEPTA’s Route 100 trolley line in Bryn Mawr. Since Brian’s death, his dad, Ben Breskman, has tried to raise awareness for the need of increased safety measures around train and trolley tracks.
While I lived along the Main Line I asked about increasing fencing at train stations and the dangerously open in-between stretches of tracks. Every time I asked I was told it’s never going to happen; it costs too much money.
Now that I am out here, I still wonder about safety and fencing along the tracks – for passenger rail and freight. It is not like I live with a major rail line cleaving my neighborhood in two any longer, but you still wonder. After all when you spend the better part of 15 years shooing teenage boys from the Haverford School off the tracks during the school year, and kids in general during the summer as well as some stupid adults I saw who used the tracks as a walking path, you will always wonder every time you see a train pass.
Yesterday there was a crazy tragic accident outside Ellicott City Maryland. I started to watch it because of the fact it was a train derailment, and also I used to have cousins who lived in Ellicott City in this crazy awesome Victorian house.
What I learned this morning is one of the two teenage girls who were messing around near the tracks on a rail bridge and killed when the CSX coal train derailed was a granddaughter of one of my mother’s friends. Two friends of mine told me this morning. Not that it matters in the end, it is just mind-boggling and tragically sad to think of two young lives snuffed out like this.
These weren’t crazy kids – they were two young women who were high school pals who made a dumb and deadly choice on a summer evening before going back to college.
See that is the thing, even good kids can do dumb things. And no you can’t wrap them in cotton wool until they reach an age certain (and what age would that be anyway?), but I have to ask again, are the railroads in this country doing their best to keep people safe?
And to *think* there was talk a couple short years ago of a walking trail alongside freight train lines in Gladwyne.
Two young girls made a dumb choice. And now they are dead. I think part of this conversation should be as they investigate this derailment is why ordinary people can still access train tracks and railroad bridges so easily?
I am thinking that this should be a national issue. You can’t fence every square inch of train tracks, no, but apparently something needs to be done as people keep getting smushed by trains. And there needs to be more attention to rail safety in general. How do we know that CSX say had the right weight to haul for those tracks? Were the tracks in perfect condition? Will the railroad try to blame these kids for the derailment and deflect accountability?
I am sorry but you *can’t* just fluff the issue off by saying people should have more sense. Of course people should have more sense but sometimes human beings do dumb things. And I am sorry but human beings doing dumb things are only part of the equation in this tragedy.
In the hour before officials said parts of a CSX train crashed and overturned early Tuesday in downtown Ellicott City, two young women who died in the incident were tweeting about sitting on the train tracks.
Elizabeth Conway Nass and Rose Mayr, both 19, of Ellicott City, died in the incident, which occurred at 12:02 a.m. Tuesday, train officials said.
“Levitating,” wrote a Twitter user named Rose Mayr at 10:51 p.m. under the name @r0se_petals, accompanied by a picture of two pairs of women’s feet dangling over the street in Ellicott City.
A Twitter user named Elizabeth Nass (@LizNassty) tweeted at 10:40 p.m. that she was “drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign,” which sits under the train tracks that cross Main Street, with @r0se_petals.
Safety officials have not yet confirmed the tweets came from the victims.
The train derailment occurred at 12:02 a.m. Tuesday, according to officials.
ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (AP) — They were seemingly ordinary tweets from two friends hanging out on a railroad bridge in their hometown, enjoying one last summer night together before heading back to college.
“Drinking on top of the Ellicott City sign,” read one. “Looking down on old ec,” read another. Accompanying photos showed their view from the bridge and their bare feet, one with painted blue toenails, dangling over the edge. “Levitating,” read another tweet.
Minutes after the messages were shared on the social media site Twitter, a Baltimore-bound CSX freight train loaded with coal barreled down the tracks and derailed, killing the 19-year-old women and toppling railcars and coal onto the streets below of this historic Maryland community.
Investigators were still trying to figure out what caused the derailment. Witnesses heard squealing brakes and a thunderous crash around midnight Monday.
It wasn’t clear whether the women’s presence on the tracks had anything to do with the derailment. They were sitting on the edge of the bridge over Ellicott City’s main street as the train passed a few feet behind them, Howard County police said, and their bodies were found buried under coal. Authorities said they needed to do autopsies before their cause of death could be determined.
The victims were identified as Elizabeth Conway Nass, a student at James Madison University in central Virginia and Rose Louese Mayr, a nursing student at the University of Delaware.
The railroad is easily accessible from the picturesque downtown of Ellicott City, about 15 miles west of Baltimore, and generations of young people have played and partied along the tracks. The railroad was completed in 1830 and crosses over Main Street in the city’s historic district, following the route of the nation’s first commercial railroad, according to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.
“We grew up running on those tracks,” said Ellicott City native Bridgette Hammond, 25. “It’s actually really beautiful up there.”
Nass and Mayr were on the dance team at Mt. Hebron High School in Ellicott City, from which they graduated, and they planned to finish college in 2014, according to friends and their Facebook pages….
A person who answered the telephone at Nass’ home declined to comment, as did a family member who answered at a number listed for the Mayr family.
The pictures and tweets from Mayr were no longer publicly available Tuesday afternoon, but friends confirmed they were hers and police said they were aware of the posts and looking into them.
Jill Farrell, who lives across the street from the tracks, said she heard what sounded liked squealing brakes and then a crash, followed by silence.
Benjamin Noppenberger was getting ready for bed when he and his wife heard what sounded like gunshots. They waited about 10 minutes before going outside.
“We could see all the cars that fell over. I just saw catastrophe,” he said.
Jim Southworth, investigator in charge for the NTSB, declined to speculate on a possible cause. He said the brakes were applied automatically when an air line used to pressurize the braking system was disconnected. He did not say what role, if any, the brakes may have played in the derailment…
The derailment also damaged some of Verizon’s equipment, disrupting land-line telecommunications services to clients.
The problems reached all the way to the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where pretrial hearings were delayed for a day for five men charged with orchestrating and aiding the Sept. 11 attacks because files on government servers were temporarily unavailable.
Gresko reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Matthew Barakat in Ellicott City, David Dishneau in Hagerstown, Md., and Karen Mahabir in Washington contributed to this report.
ByBrandie Jefferson August 21, 2012
Police: Teens Who Died in Trail Derailment Were Buried Under Coal;Howard County police are revealing more details in a fatal Ellicott City train derailment. ByLisa Rossi August 21, 2012
I have written before how I feel that Malvern’s super-sizing via the Eli Kahn development on King Street is a huge mistake.
In March, the Daily Local had one of its nameless editorial columns on it. As was the case with a couple nameless, faceless editorials on West Vincent, they were off the mark on Malvern too. And honestly, part of my problem with these editorial is that if you want to go incognito on a blog, that is one thing, but if you are writing for a large local and regional paper, sign your name.
So the Daily Local said at the time:
At a recent meeting of the Malvern Business and Professional Association, developer Eli Kahn told the group about his plans to transform East King Street in the borough, now home to small industrial complexes, into a vibrant residential and retail swath that he calls “a walkable environment … a better environment to work in.”
Kahn is the man who with his partner Jack Loew purchased two large buildings from Chester County in West Chester’s so-called “first block,” ….In Malvern, Kahn said he had gotten the idea 12 years ago to begin work on a new mixed-use environment there. He said the five-year venture in 18 months will produce 25,000 square feet of retail space with “quality residential” space above it and expanded parking below and outside…“Success is a mix of business, shopping and quality residential,” he said. “West Chester has been very successful over the past five years,” and a like result can occur here. “The charm of Malvern is what’s making this project successful.”
We hope that Kahn will continue his efforts to be forthcoming about plans for the West Chester property. It sounds as though he is on the right track in Malvern.
I went to the site today while running errands. I was profoundly disturbed by what I saw, and can easily envision for the future. Yes, it is a site that should be redeveloped. But why not a park and a couple of stores? Or something Malvern lacks? Sufficient parking?
Malvern Patch also has covered this development. Much like The Daily Local has. The Daily Local has also covered the Kahn-ism of West Chester too. In both cases, I feel in my heart of hearts, this will when all said and done, like letting the proverbial fox in the hen-house.
West Chester has a good formula in their downtown now, which I saw more of this morning when I went to the West Chester Grower’s Market. Carolyn Comitta and Holly Brown better keep their heads on right, lest they ruin a good thing.
Developers always say the right thing when they come a courting, but what happens when they leave?
Which brings me back to Malvern. You know what I think Eli Kahn and Jack Loew’s project is going to be like when it is done? A super-sized Charleston Greene. And over the years, how has Toll’s Charleston Greene worked for you ,Malvern?
As I went back and forth through Malvern today, checking the streetscape, I had to wonder if they needed super-sized development anymore than Ardmore, PA does? In Ardmore, the residents wanted a new train station which may never appear in anyone’s lifetimes now, but on Monday apparently there is a press conference about the work beginning on the Paoli Transportation Center.
As I said before, as long as I can remember has had an unfortunate identity crisis – mostly stemming from local officials as opposed to residents. The borough of Malvern has a charm that doesn’t need super-sizing with giant Tyvec wrapped buildings that will end up looking like a New Urbanism Disneyland.
Malvern will sacrifice any charm of the area and the traffic will be a nightmare.
I think parts of Malvern may end up looking as unattractive as parts of Eagle, another tiny community developers had a “vision” for. When municipalities suffer an identity crisis, the residents and business owners are the ones who suffer in the end.
I sure hope I am wrong about Malvern and these plans, but I don’t think so. What I see are future buildings just sitting right on the street without sufficient setbacks like Jabba the Hutt, architecture (if you can call it that) that picks up zero cues from its surroundings, over-abundance of density abutting train tracks and an urban feel all wrong for a somewhat sleepy and small Chester County borough town.
And mark my words, just because they build it it does not mean they will come. And if they come, they might not be what you wanted.
But the horse is out of the barn on this one. So we’ll just wait and see. Hopefully I won’t be able to say I told you so. But again, honestly, I think Malvern had better enjoy Malvern before it’s gone.
Sure, every area has issues. No local government is perfect, and yes, there is always something to complain about, but seriously? I moved out of a township that prided itself on being “first class”, yet it in essence required an act of Congress to accomplish something as basic as filling a pothole.
Yes, Lower Merion Township. The Magic Kingdom as it is known (sarcastically) in some circles, isn’t what she used to be. You have a political majority that believes they know better than everyone, and as a resident you feel as if you work to support the township.
Where do a lot of these negative feelings stem from? A lot of them have to do with all the crazy infill development plans and the fact that it has been over 30 years since Lower Merion had a completed Comprehensive Plan update. Some land planner told me once that as per the Municipalities Planning Code in PA municipalities are supposed to do this every couple of years.
When I used to wake up in Lower Merion, although a high rent district, the cacophony of sound that assaulted my senses on a daily basis was quite urban. Construction and other noises often way too early. Here when I wake up, I hear birds. You have NO idea how marvelous a sound that is unless you have experienced the other.
Development plans in Lower Merion, suit the developers, not the residents. For example, the development begun in my old neighborhood by a wannabe developer, architect Tom Hall, and then turned over to Cornell builders was shoe-horning in thirteen townhouses in barely over an acre. But the houses are “green” and you can spit at The Haverford School, which was perhaps the most uncaring neighbor in my neighborhood. You have no idea what it is like to live with an institution as a neighbor in close quarters. We existed to be their overflow parking lot and speed thru cell phone mommy/nanny zone. The nicest thing about that school are some of my friends’ sons.
In Ardmore, the neighboring town, mostly in Lower Merion, for years not so long ago, small business owners had to fight eminent domain for private gain. Ardmore residents and business owners are still suffering because although no one can spend money like Lower Merion Township, they still can’t get the Ardmore Redevelopment Plan off the ground. Of course, many feel, that those on township staff who put forth the infamous plans A & B that contained eminent domain for private gain for years should have just been removed from their jobs. But they stayed and the six million dollars that a couple of commissioners went to Washington DC many years ago to get has basically been frittered away, and while places like Malvern and Wayne have a new train station, all Lower Merion has are plans.
Read here about Ardmore’s and other Lower Merion development woes in this week’s Main Line Media News.
Also in Lower Merion, there is crazy zoning being planned for around City Avenue. So if you think it’s fun now when you get caught in traffic around there, just wait.
Lower Merion loves infill development plans. The more congested the better. When I was a child growing up there, like I do now here in Chester County, then I also heard birds and nature as my waking sounds. It is so much less stressful to hear birds versus construction.
Radnor is not so problematic since they got a new Township Manager and some new commissioners. Of course, their current president, Bill Spingler is more like old school Delco politics and we’ll leave it at that….hopefully he won’t be president too long. But Radnor’s new manager, Bob Zienkowski, as opposed to the old one who made headlines and got relieved of his duties (Dave Bashore), is an accessible advocate for his residents. It makes a huge difference. Which is why I am hopeful that Radnor residents will be heard fairly as Villanova attempts to supersize the university (read about Villanova’s expansion plans here ). It won’t be easy since one commissioner has had to recuse herself, and given Bill Spingler’s cozy personal relationship with the attorney on this project, should this in fact be the commissioner who recuses? After all sometimes isn’t it hard to feel secure around a career politician like Spingler, who offered once upon a time to write a reccomendation letter for the manager the township fired (Dave Bashore)?
One thing that bears watching in Radnor are residents taking up their proverbial pitch forks against storm water issues in North Wayne. (Check out this YouTube from a recent meeting.) What cracks me up here is the woman with dark hair and pony tail. She wants to sue, sue, sue and all the storm water issues stem from AT&T in Wayne and so on. While the storm water issues are indeed large and increasingly problematic, truthfully they don’t even realize how people have been working for years on this. She isn’t breaking new ground so to speak.
In February of 2009, a situation created by the railroad in North Wayne bugged me enough that I wrote an editorial for Main Line Media News about it. The end result was, a Septa engineer high on the food chain contacted me, and without even having to deal with Radnor’s old regime, they actually built some storm water management into the station makeover in Wayne.
It’s not perfect, but better than it used to be.
And this woman who did the presentation at the Radnor commissioners’ meeting (Channel 30 on FiOs FYI) and a neighbor who says she lives next to a field and the Gulph Creek (wonder if she’s the one who built an addition to a carriage house where the outside door in the rear basically looks like if you open it the creek can just come on in?) who are in this meeting tape, well I get why they are upset, as I have seen first hand the flooding in North Wayne, but as they rant and rail against Radnor, they also need to consider a neighboring municipality.
Ahhh, there is some Chester County of it all in this post, isn’t there?
I am talking about Tredyffrin. Tredyffrin is upstream on the Gulph Creek from this flood zone in Radnor. Now Tredyffrin is also in the paper this week talking about some focus group and needing storm water solutions. Fabulous! However, while the article talks about the need to make sure the storm water stuff is tough enough when it comes to Joe Duckworth’s plans for the Richter tract, nowhere have I seen Tredyffrin talk about the trickle down effect of their prior poor planning in neighboring municipalities. I am talking in part about Church of the Savior in Tredyffrin. A lot of issues occur UPstream. Just check out this document I found from 2000 about storm water.
I guess from the Church of the Savior’s perspective and Tredyffrin’s it is holier to flood your neighbors? Now granted, I find Church of the Savior to be in the category of religiously creepy, so some could say I have a bias, but Tredyffrin to me always seems a little kooky on the development front and in some other areas. And if they can’t see it from the township building windows in Tredyffrin, more the better. Just look at how long it took Tredyffrin to deal with things like off campus student housing. After all, they couldn’t see historic Mt. Pleasant from the Township Building, could they?
I guess what I am saying is, I have seen and lived what poor development and land planning causes communities (along with the politcs of political favoritism and one party rule run amok), so maybe once in a while, I might point them out. After all, would you rather listen to birds or bulldozers? Wouldn’t you rather hear about politicians and officials that care about their communities and not just during election cycles?
If you are a person interested in issues Tredyffrin, please check out my pal Pattye Benson’s blog Community Matters. She also happens to be innkeeper at The Great Valley House of Valley Forge. She wrote about the recent stormwater meeting that includes discussion of the latest New Urbanism Disneyland Joe Duckworth might do. If you are interested in the Richter Tract plans put Richter in the search box on her blog. A post she wrote on conflict of interest is well worth your time in addition to other posts.
Above all else, take an interest in where you live. It’s a good thing.