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First Phase of Rail Park in Philadelphia Points to More Good Things to Come

A visit to the park highlights the creative reuse and design that is transforming an old railway into a vibrant public space.
November 1, 2018, 5am PDT | Camille Fink
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Scott Pruden reports on the June opening of the first phase, an elevated quarter-mile stretch, of Philadelphia’s Rail Park. “When completed, the full Rail Park will have remade three miles of abandoned tracks, thoroughfares and tunnels that once allowed for the importation of raw materials like coal and steel and the export of goods produced in the city’s factories,” says Pruden.

While comparisons to New York’s High Line are inevitable, Rail Park will be twice as long when completed. The design also incorporates some very local features and references, including a map showing the location of old rail lines and buildings in the area as well as sheet metal and girder features.

Pruden says two of the most unique elements of the park are huge bench swings attached to steel beams and a mural by artist Shepard Fairey. He adds that the park has brought other amenities to the area, such as a beer garden, food carts, and eateries.

“The renovations for Phase One of the Rail Park now terminate abruptly just past the swings, with the untamed and overgrown portions of the viaduct plainly in view. But with this initial success, visitors can be sure more delights from this urban green space are on track,” adds Pruden.

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Published on Friday, October 26, 2018 in The Washington Post
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