Type: Elevated, Subway, Underwater Tunnel
Stations: 8
Projected Ridership: Not Available
Status: Tentative Future Expansion (1913)


Line Length: 3.1 miles
Number of Tracks: 2
Track Gauge: 5 ft 2 1⁄4 in, Pennsylvania Trolley Gauge
Electrification: Third Rail

The Chestnut Street Subway was proposed for several reasons. It was imagined that capacity on the Market Street Elevated would be hit by 1940 with the additional rail traffic from the Darby Line and the Cobbs Creek Branch. A subway/elevated extension on Chestnut Street would alleviate that issue. But more importantly to 1913 Philadelphia, the Chestnut Street subway was a direct threat to the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company’s Market Street line. If the PRT didn’t play ball with the city and enact A. Merritt Taylor’s plan of a flat 5¢ fare across the city with free transfers, the city would open a competing subway just a block from the PRT’s privately financed line.

1914 diagram of the delivery loop, including the proposed Chestnut Street Subway.

1914 diagram of the delivery loop, including the proposed Chestnut Street Subway.

The line did have legitimate purposes as well. In addition to relieving congestion issues on Market Street the line would also service Center City west of Broad Street. With the Pennsylvania Railroad’s Great Wall bordering Market Street from 15th Street to the Schuylkill River, there wasn’t much demand for a station between 15th and 32nd Streets. The Chestnut Street line on the other hand would provide local service for that part of the Central Business District.

The Chestnut Street Subway would also travel under the Delaware River via a tunnel to Camden. In the pre-suspension bridge world of 1913 this would offer direct connection to Camden’s industrial center and the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroad’s New Jersey rail lines, including those to Atlantic City and Cape May.

Chestnut Street Subway Stops

  • 32nd Street
    32nd and Chestnut Streets (Connection to Market Street Elevated; Paid connection to Pennsylvania Railroad, West Philadelphia Station)
  • 24th Street
    24th and Chestnut Streets (Paid connection to B&O Station)
  • 19th Street
    19th and Chestnut Streets
  • 15th Street
    15th and Chestnut Street (Connection to Market Street Subway, Broad Street Subway, Center City Delivery Loop, Roxborough Line, North South Loop, Island Avenue Line; Paid connection to Pennsylvania Railroad Broad Street Station)
  • 11th Street
    11th and Chestnut Streets
  • 8th Street
    8th and Chestnut Streets (Connection to Market Street Subway, Center City Delivery Loop, Roxborough Line)
  • 2nd Street
    2nd and Chestnut Streets
  • Camden
    Federal Street and Delaware Avenue (Paid Connection to Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads)

See Also: