SEPTA Route 50
The former Route 50 Trolley at 5th and Market Streets in May 1976.
|Operator||Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority|
|Status||Operational (as bus line)|
|Ended service||1980 (as a streetcar line)|
|Communities served||Fox Chase, Lawndale, Logan, Center City, South Philadelphia|
|Start||5th & Ritner|
|Via||Fifth Street, Oxford Avenue, Rising Sun Avenue|
|End||Rising Sun & Knorr|
The route ran from the Northeastern Philadelphia neighborhood of Fox Chase on Oxford Avenue and then through Lawndale along Rising Sun Avenue, and for a brief period it also shared tracks with SEPTA Trolley Route 47, which was abandoned by the SEPTA Board on June 14, 1969. The Route 50 line then ran southbound down 6th Street in North Philadelphia and then onto 4th Street & Northbound 5th Streets in South Philadelphia to and from its southern terminus of 6th Street & Oregon Avenue. In 1976 this line saw and used the 1934 Blackpool England "Boat Car" trolley during the Bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence. SEPTA stopped running trolleys on October 11, 1980, claiming the closure was temporary, however the tracks & overhead wires remained in place. In 1983 despite denials by SEPTA management that the closure was intended to be permanent, SEPTA track crews tore up the Route 50 trolley tracks on 5th Street south of Girard Avenue.
Route 50 was stored at the former Luzerne Carhouse, which was located on the southwest corner of 10th and Luzerne Streets. Luzerne Carhouse was shared by the Route 53 and 56 trolleys, before it was converted into an all bus garage. Today it survives as a cardboard recycling plant.
Decline and revival in name only
Despite public criticism by community and transit advocates, SEPTA voted to close the Route 50 trolley line permanently on October 23, 1985. Additionally, the plan involved the closing of the SEPTA Route 6 trolley line along Ogontz Avenue, which wasn't eliminated and replaced with a bus line until January 11, 1986. Earlier the same year, the Route 53 (Wayne Avenue) trolley was also closed, on May 16, 1985.
Currently, Route 50 is a SEPTA bus line in Northeast Philadelphia, which runs from the Frankford Transportation Center to Philadelphia Park Racetrack and PARX Casino in Bensalem. All buses along this route are ADA-compliant, and contain bicycle racks.
- Philadelphia Trolley Routes: By The Numbers (Philadelphia Trolley Tracks)
- Luzerne Depot; SIA Philadelphia Car Barn Tour (PhillyTrolley.org)
- Luzerne Depot (PhillyTrolley.org)
- SEPTA DERAILS 2 TROLLEY LINES, by Frank Dougherty; Daily News Staff Writer (Philadelphia Daily News (PA) - Thursday, October 24, 1985)
- Philadelphia Transit Routes (Chicago Transit & Railfan Web Site)
- SEPTA Route 50 Bus Schedule
- SEPTA former Route 50 Trolley (WorldNYCSubway.org)
- 1974 SEPTA Trolley History Brochure
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