Soon you will be able to hop on a train to Wawa Station.
SEPTA is opening an all-new regional rail stop next month, extending its tentacles in Delaware County by 3.5 miles. It will become the last stop on the Media/Elwyn Line, now known as the Media/Wawa Line.
Yes, this Wawa. The private company paid SEPTA for the station’s naming rights.
For the transit authority, the agreement ticks two major objectives: increase non-fare revenue (up to a few million dollars) and increase ridership. The new station is expected to carry 950 people a day, according to The Inquirer, with connections to two bus lines and a 600-space car park.
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Here are the details and background of the new shutdown.
Why this station?
The new Wawa station is across from the Wawa Dairy, where the company bottles milk for distribution, and next to the company’s headquarters.
But the area where this station is located was nicknamed Wawa before the existence of the well-known and highly regarded convenience stores.
It was home to a tribe of Lenni Lenape Aboriginals, who noticed it was a favorite stop for migrating geese – which they called “wawa”. By the time settlers from Philadelphia and New Jersey arrived in the 18th century, the area was known by this nickname.
The company, of course, pays homage to this namesake with its goose logo and mascot, Wally Goose.
How much did Wawa pay?
For $5.4 million, Wawa owns the station’s naming rights for the next decade, until 2032.
When does it open?
21st of August.
Has SEPTA ever sold naming rights?
This is SEPTA’s fifth naming rights deal since 2010, according to the transportation authority.
Jefferson Station was so named in 2014 for Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in 2014, under a five-year, $3.9 million contract. Before that it was known as Market East.
The station formerly known as University City has been Penn Medicine Station since 2020, when the health system signed a five-year, $3.3 million contract with SEPTA.
NRG Energy paid $5.3 million for a five-year naming deal on the Broad Street Line, moving AT&T away from the last stop in South Philly in 2018. The telecom giant had paid $5 million for five years of rights of naming at Pattison Station in 2010.
Compared to those deals, which average about $875,000/year from the named station, it might seem like Wawa got a good deal on its $540,000/year deal. However, these other examples are all in Philadelphia proper and have much higher footfall than an end-of-line stop at Delco.
Wait, the whole line name changes? Has this ever happened?
It makes sense that Wawa is incorporated into the name of the regional rail line formerly known as Media/Elwyn. Each of SEPTA’s commuter train lines includes in its title the furthest peripheral station from the city center.
Jefferson and Penn Medicine stations are both regional rail hubs, with several lines passing through them downtown. NRG is the end of the Broad Street Line, but it is not part of the same naming system.
“SEPTA doesn’t have naming rights agreements for lines, just stations,” spokeswoman Kelly Greene told Billy Penn.
What will the station look like, is it chic?
The new Wawa station will be ADA compliant and will have an underpass for pedestrians, as well as a 600-space parking lot and easy access to US Route 1. It will also have bathrooms ( !), equipment provided in some RR stations, but not all.
How long has this been in the works?
For a certain time. In 2006, Wawa Inc. sold 4.7 acres of land to Delaware County, with the intention of later transferring it to SEPTA. At the time, reports indicated that the project would cost $51.3 million and take five years.
By 2018, the project’s budget had increased and the completion date was pushed back to 2021. COVID-19 and supply chain issues caused additional delays, spokesperson Green said.
The final cost of the project was $197 million.
The idea of sending trains to Wawa is not entirely new. SEPTA service extended in this direction decades ago, but the transport authority discontinued service after Elwyn in 1986.
In a related push, residents of West Chester are trying to restore service between their borough and Wawa, so they have a transit connection to the regional rail line. West Chester Borough Council is backing a proposal to do this on a smaller budget using existing battery-powered railcar infrastructure.