MIDDLETOWN — The new SEPTA train station will have a “classic” name for the neighborhood.
SEPTA officials announced that the new Regional Rail station on West Baltimore Pike will bear the name “Wawa,” thanks to a naming rights agreement announced Wednesday.
Officials called the agreement an important milestone for SEPTA’s multi-year project to restore more than 3.5 miles of Regional Rail service west of Elwyn to the new Wawa Station. The terms of the agreement were not announced.
The Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line will now be called the Media/Wawa Line to reflect the new terminus of service.
The new Wawa Station will officially open for service on Sunday, Aug. 21, and is just over one mile east of the company headquarters and across the road from their bottling plant.
“Wawa is thrilled to partner with SEPTA to relaunch the Media/Wawa Line and provide our friends and neighbors a convenient way to travel from Wawa, Pennsylvania, to Center City Philadelphia and all stops in between,” Wawa President and CEO Chris Gheysens said in a press release. “Located across from the Wawa Dairy that has been bottling and distributing milk for more than 100 years and adjacent to our home office campus, this rail line has meant a lot to Wawa and to our founding family throughout the years. We cannot wait to celebrate its return and look forward to being a part of new history through this new station.”
The partnership with Wawa is SEPTA’s fifth major naming rights agreement since 2010.
Construction on the Elwyn to Wawa Service Restoration Project began in 2018, following earlier slope stabilization and substation work, and is nearing substantial completion. The new Wawa Station building is fully ADA accessible with a pedestrian underpass and restroom facilities. It features a 600-space parking deck and signalized access to Route 1. The station has multimodal access with connections to SEPTA Bus Routes 111 and 114.
“With this station naming rights agreement, SEPTA continues to be an industry leader in finding innovative and cost-effective ways to deliver enhanced services for our customers,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “We are grateful to Wawa for recognizing SEPTA’s value to the region and for lending the Wawa name to our newest station.”
“From the Hub of Hope to our new SEPTA Key Advantage program, Wawa has supported so many of SEPTA’s service and community-building initiatives,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “We are thrilled that Wawa is partnering with us to make its hometown station a vibrant part of our Regional Rail network. We look forward to launching this new service and improving transportation options for those living and working in Middletown Township, Chester Heights, and surrounding communities.”
The reopened rail line played a critical role in Wawa’s history and growth.
In 1903, just one year after George Wood founded the Wawa Dairy, the Pennsylvania Railroad opened a station at 32nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia, then known as the West Philadelphia Depot. Soon after, Wood had a local architect design a “Milk Depot” across the street at 32nd Street and Woodland Avenue, which served as an office and distribution center. This enabled Wawa milk to be quickly and easily transported from the dairy farm to the city via the Wawa train station. After arriving at the “Milk Depot,” Wawa milk could then be delivered directly to customers throughout the area.
“The restoration of SEPTA service from Elwyn to the new Wawa Station will give Middletown Township a second train station for our vibrant Township and provides an additional access to transportation for residents who live in, the business community who works in, and those who visit Middletown Township,” said Middletown Township Council Chairman Mark Kirchgasser. “Wawa is a valued partner in Middletown’s past, present and future, and we are pleased that it has chosen to invest in this project for our residents.”
“The long-awaited return of rail service to residents of Chester Heights is an exciting development for the Borough, and we are pleased that the sponsorship of Chester Heights’ very own Wawa, Inc. will help tell and celebrate our mutual history,” said Chester Heights Borough Mayor Ginamarie Ellis. “The new Wawa Station will be a convenient amenity for our residents and those traveling to and visiting this area. We look forward to the end of construction and the beginning of service next month.”
SEPTA and Wawa will celebrate the opening of Wawa Station with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in August. Service and schedule details will be announced soon.