Area in Focus Tours
As a part of the 2022 DesignPhiladelphia Festival, Friends of the Rail Park presents Area in Focus walking tours, highlighting each section of the Rail Park Vision and the sites' potential to become a public space connecting Philadelphians to nature and each other.
Each tour will focus on one section of Three Mile Vision for the Rail Park, including: the Tunnel, the Cut, the Viaduct, and Phase One.
Saturday, October 15, 2022
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
The Tunnel is a wide, architecturally stunning space extending across 3,000 feet underneath Pennsylvania Ave between 22nd and 27th Streets, which was once an active part of the Reading Railroad’s City Branch. Open air shafts in the streetscape above illuminate the space with natural light, while the stone walls and vaulted brick ceilings reach 25 ft high.
During this tour, attendees will learn about the Three Mile Vision for the Rail Park, the history of the site, and the potential for the Tunnel to connect residents and visitors to Fairmount Park, the Parkway, and beyond.
Meeting point: Corner of 27th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
Saturday, October 15, 2022
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
The Cut is an open air section of land that runs below street level for over half a mile, connecting the Viaduct to the Tunnel. It runs from North Broad Street near the old Inquirer Building to behind the Rodin Museum, where 22nd St meets Pennsylvania Ave. It’s lined with 30-foot high stone walls and crossed by a series of bridges that support the city’s north and south bound streets.
During this tour, attendees will learn about the Three Mile Vision for the Rail Park, the history of the site, and the potential for the Cut as a green public amenity for thousands of residents, visitors, students, and workers. Attendees will hear from Jim Fennell, President of Friends Matthias Baldwin Park.
Meeting point: Target Parking Lot at Target Parking Lot at 20th and Pennsylvania Ave
The Viaduct + Phase One
Sunday, October 16, 2022
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
The Viaduct is an elevated section of the former Reading Railroad’s City Branch. The inactive rail line reaches from the site of Phase One down to Vine Street, then arcs back northward and east toward Fairmount Ave. When complete, this stunning section of the park will overlook city streets and offer incredible Philly skyline views.
Phase One, the first section of the Rail Park that is open to the public, was built on the original structure from the Reading Railroad and travels east from Broad Street, beginning above street level until it becomes entirely supported by the elevated Viaduct structure. Phase One cost approximately $13 million, with funding from individual donors, foundation grants, city and state funding.
During this tour, attendees will learn about the Three Mile Vision for the Rail Park, the history of the site, and how the elevated Viaduct became overgrown with wild ecology and inspired neighbors to advocate for its transformation. Attendees will hear from Bryan Hanes, landscape architect at Studio Bryan Hanes, who led the design of Phase One.
The tour will conclude at Triple Bottom Brewing, the site of a former Reading Railroad office, where attendees will participate in a visioning activity, and may purchase food and beverage to enjoy during or after the activity.
Meeting point: Entrance to Phase One at 1300 Noble Street
*Registration is required. Attendees will be contacted ahead of the event with meeting location and walking route information.
*These tours will follow pedestrian right of ways and will not enter undeveloped areas.
Know Before You Go:
- The tour guide leading this tour will be speaking English.
- This tour is linear and does not loop back to the starting point. Attendees should be prepared to walk 1 - 1.5 miles.
- This tour will take place completely outdoors. Please check the weather and come prepared with appropriate clothing.
- This is a walking tour that follows city streets and sidewalks. You should wear comfortable shoes. Please note that construction and other obstructions may cause a detour. Wheelchairs and strollers are welcome.
- There are no bathrooms on this tour. Please plan accordingly.
- You may bring snacks and drinks on the tour with you. It is recommended that you bring a water bottle.
- Children are welcome on the tour, but please note the walking distance and subject matter and plan accordingly.
- Only service animals are permitted on this tour.
- Masks are optional on this tour.