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  • Writer's pictureVenture Philly Group

Will the Rail Park be Philly’s Version of the High Line in NYC?

What is the Rail Park?

The plan for the Rail Park is to turn 3 miles of unused rail lines just north of Center City into a public space for everyone to enjoy. It will stretch across 50 city blocks, connecting 10 neighborhoods to Fairmount Park, Center City and everything in between. It will be like a series of linked neighborhood parks.

Phase one, the first 1/4 mile section of the elevated park, is completed and open to the public. It’s filled with pathways, greenery, and bench swings with beautiful views of the city. This is just the beginning of the project. There are three more sections to the park that are all in the works.

Will it Be Similar to NYC’s High Line?

New York City’s High Line is a 1.45 mile elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail created on a former New York Central Railroad spur on the west side of Manhattan. So yes, Philly’s Rail Park will be similar to this.

The full vision for the Rail Park is for a three-mile public greenway that will be twice the length and twice the width of NYC's High Line. It will have pathways and gathering spaces that will serve pedestrians, bicyclists, neighbors, and visitors alike, according to the Rail Park’s website.

Sections of the Rail Park

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the Rail Park is a 1/4 mile stretch of elevated park that runs from 1300 Noble Street up onto the Viaduct. There are two entrances: one on Noble Street just east of Broad, near the bridge over 13th, and the other on Callowhill between 11th and 12th. There’s pathways, greenery and swings to enjoy the city views. It's free and open to the public every day from 7am–10pm.

The Viaduct

The Viaduct will be an elevated section of the Rail Park that will span from the Phase 1 section to Vine Street and then arcs back northward and east toward Fairmount Ave. It will be wide and wending and will provide incredible views of the city and the skyline.

Nearby neighborhoods: Loft Area, Callowhill, West Poplar and ends near Northern Liberties.

The Cut

The Cut will connect the Viaduct to the Tunnel section of the park. It will be an open air section that runs below street level from North Broad Street near the old Inquirer Building to behind the Rodin Musuem, at 22nd St and Pennsylvania Ave. It will be lined with 30’ high stone walls and will have a series of bridges above to connect the city’s north and south bound streets.

Nearby neighborhoods: Logan Square, Spring Garden

The Tunnel

The Tunnel will be a 3,000 food wide space underneath Pennsylvania Ave from 22nd to 27th Streets. Natural light will fill the area from the open air shafts in the streetscape above. The high stone wills and vaulted brick ceilings will reach 25 ft high.

Nearby neighborhoods: Fairmount, Brewerytown

What’s Next?

Now that Phase 1 is complete and open to the public, plans are in the works for the next section of the park. However, the conversation is still underway.

The group behind the project is Friends of the Rail Park with support from the City of Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Center City District (CCD), and so many more. CCD has raised more than $10 million to date for the park. You can join the conversation and help bring the rest of the rail park to life. Find out more information here.


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