SAME VISION, NEW IMAGE: NOW FRIENDS OF THE RAIL PARK

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Since the organization’s beginnings in 2010, we have struggled to find an easy way to refer to the three-mile route. “The three-mile route” isn’t very poetic, is it? And “the 9th Street and City Branches of the former Philadelphia and Reading rail lines” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue. What about the “Reading Viaduct”? That’s a natural for the elevated section east of Broad Street, but west of Broad, the City Branch doesn’t fit the definition of a viaduct [an elevated bridge structure]. Not to get too technical, but we feel it’s important to be clear about the defining characteristics of the parts of the whole “three-mile route.”

We’ve learned a great deal in the past three years—so much of it from you. One thing we have heard from many of you is that our name wasn’t quite striking a chord. And the more we thought about it, the more we felt it was worth reconsidering. Our hope was that rethinking the terms used to refer to the two branches as a whole would lead us to a new organization name that would capture the site itself and our relationship to it. 

What followed was a whole lot of head scratching, some paper crumpling, some judiciously abandoned attempts at alliteration and rhyming, and so on, to come up with a name that could be used to refer to the entire three-mile site, recall its past as a rail corridor, and speak to the vision for its future. Some soul-searching and crowd-sourcing brought us to The Rail Park.

Most importantly, we wanted YOU to be in the organization name because, if we have learned anything so far, we have learned that this project won’t happen without your support. As strong believers in the importance of being good stewards [of the historic infrastructure, existing horticulture, process, funds, etc], we felt there was nothing more appropriate than calling ourselves—and you—“Friends.”

We couldn’t be happier with the organization’s new name, Friends of the Rail Park. New outlook and energy, yet firmly grounded in the same values and reaching for the same vision.

Be a Friend, and stay in touch by following us on Facebook and Twitter. And please consider showing your love here.

At one of our October 2012 Design Philadelphia events, we asked attendees to tell us their ideas for how to refer to the site. Various word combinations with “green,” “line,” “way,” and “park” abounded, accompanied by a couple of challenges along the lines of “PLEASE don’t use green or line in the name!” Our favorite came from a very young lady, Paloma, who suggested “Paloma Park.” Thank you, Paloma—and everyone—for helping us get the gears turning!