Projected Ridership: 67,000 per day (1914)
Line Length: 5.43 miles
Number of Tracks: 2 (provisions for third track between 48th and 78th Streets)
Track Gauge: 5 ft 2 1⁄4 in, Pennsylvania Trolley Gauge
The Darby Line was included in Philadelphia’s initial rapid transit franchises that were awarded in 1901. The line which ended at the Philadelphia/Darby city line was labeled as an immediate build by A. Merritt Taylor in each of his plans for Philadelphia rapid transit. Where the line started however changed through the years. The line was primarily imagined as a spur off of the Market Street Elevated, heading south at 30th Street over private right-of-way, following the Baltimore and Washington Railroad to Paschall Avenue then to Grays Ferry Avenue. From there it would head southwest via Woodland Avenue before turning towards the center of Darby. Once the Market Street Elevated was at capacity, it was imagined that the Darby Line would connect to the Chestnut Street tube which would relieve capacity issues on Market Street. Taylor’s 1916 rapid transit plan had the line as an extension of the Broad Street Subway, leaving Broad Street near Federal Street and heading into West Philadelphia before turning down Woodland Avenue.
Of all the lines that weren’t built, the Darby Line had the most preliminary work done, as station stops and elevations were planned by the City of Philadelphia.
Even in 1954, the City Planning Commission had a Woodland Avenue Elevated in its master plans.
In 1914, it was estimated the Woodland Avenue Line would carry 67,000 people a day. The time from 65th and Woodland to City Hall would be reduced to 16 minutes from 28 minutes each way. A daily savings of 24 minutes a day. The price of the Woodland Avenue Line was estimated to be $4.4 million.
Proposed Darby Line Station Stops
Chester Pike and Quarry Street
- 5th Street (Darby)
5th and Main Street
- 71st Street
71st Street and Woodland Avenue
- 68th Street
68th Street and Woodland Avenue
- 65th Street
65th Street and Woodland Avenue
- 59th Street
59th Street and Woodland Avenue
- 55th Street
55th Street and Woodland Avenue
- 50th Street
50th Street and Woodland Avenue
- South Street
South Street at Franklin Field
From South Street, the Darby Elevated would either merge eastbound with the Market Street Elevated or cross the Schuylkill River at Chestnut Street and then descend into the Chestnut Street subway.