Work began on a retaining wall at Chestnut Hill East Station this week. (Photo by Pete Mazzaccaro)

by Brendan Sample

As of Monday, Nov. 26, SEPTA began work on restoring part of the stone masonry retaining wall running alongside the Chestnut Hill East Regional Rail Line. Work on the project is expected to last through Summer 2019.

According to a statement from SEPTA, this particular project became necessary when the company realized that the specific section of the wall presented a possible safety risk.

“The portion of wall being replaced is beyond its useful life and presents a potential safety issue if repairs are not addressed,” said Kristin Mestre-Velez, Public Information Manager for SEPTA Media Relations. “This retaining wall also supports a portion of the sidewalk and street on Chestnut Hill Avenue. Rehabilitating the wall will ensure safe operations of SEPTA trains traveling along the line and continued pedestrian and vehicular access to Chestnut Hill Avenue.”

The ongoing construction will limit traffic in the area, as Chestnut Hill Avenue will be closed off in the section surrounding the station. Commuters looking to use the station to travel inbound to Center City will also need to board their train on the outbound platform on weekdays from 8:50 a.m. until 3 p.m. Pedestrians will still be able to use the street on the residential side.

In replacing sections of the retaining wall, SEPTA will be using precast wall units. It will also be replacing a section of the wall that is currently chain link fence with a vehicle barrier and a decorative stone face. In coming up with the designs for both the stone face and fencing on the barrier, SEPTA worked with various community representatives. There will also be work done on the roadway around the station to make it more inclined than before, which will further address stormwater runoff problems and improve drainage.

Brendan Sample can be reached at