What might have been. Rapid Transit in Philadelphia.

Tag: Trolley Lines

Timeline of Philadelphia Transit Lines

About a week ago, I came across a reddit post displaying the timeline of Washington DC’s Metro development. Needless to say, I set out to create a similar graphic for Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Rapid Transit Timeline spans 145 years, three transit authority eras and four lines that qualify as rapid transit. The majority of development happened prior to World War II with 54 stations being opened before 1940. Since then, another 27 stations have opened, the majority of them being related to PATCO.

No station has opened since the Broad Street Spur’s Chinatown Station replaced Vine Street in construction necessitated by the building of the Commuter Rail tunnel in the 1980s.

Philadelphia’s Transit Plan vision for 2045 does include several projects that have been added to the timeline as proposals. Only the reopening of the Franklin Square station on the PATCO line seems guaranteed at this point.

Check out the timeline, and of course, let me know if you have any corrections or comments.

Philadelphia’s Subway Surface Lines

Greater PRT started looking into the history of Philadelphia’s Subway Surface Subway lines, in part because the name itself will make your brain melt. From the city that gave you Street Road, of course there is a Subway Surface Tunnel that doesn’t carry subways, but trolleys. Are you following? Really? Because have you seen the maps? Below is the current trolley map which primarily shows the Subway Surface lines.

2018 SEPTA Subway Surface Map
SEPTA’s current trolley line map including Subway Surface routes and the Route 15 Trolley on Girard Avenue

The map is bad. It’s busy, doesn’t convey any idea of where the trolleys run in the physical world, and if you wanted to connect to anything but the Market-Frankford Line, well good luck.

Official SEPTA System Map

But short shrifting the trolley lines isn’t just a fault of the route line map. On the official SEPTA system map, subway-surface trolleys only rate a couple of arrows and some cramped text, representing five lines. Hardly appropriate for a system with more than 71,000 riders per weekday.

This isn’t exactly a new problem. SEPTA’s 1982 map wasn’t much better, though it did at least acknowledge that the trolleys did indeed run down streets.

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