In 1901, the Pennsylvania state legislature passed laws legalizing the formation of companies in Philadelphia for the construction and operation of elevated and underground railroads. The charters provided six subway and elevated lines in the city of Philadelphia. In total, 112 miles of elevated and subway track were approved. At the time the franchises and construction was approved, it was imagined that rapid transit would be a purely private endeavor.
Below is a map showing the charters and their approved paths across Philadelphia.
The 1901 charters were short-lived as Philadelphia’s Union Transfer Company moved quickly to consolidate its position as the transit company of Philadelphia. The company acquired the franchises and created the holding company, Philadelphia Rapid Transit by 1902.
Of course only three of these segments were ever built, the Market Street Subway, the Frankford Elevated and the Broad Street Subway.