SEPTA Subway–Surface Trolley Lines
Subway–Surface Trolley Lines
|Locale||Philadelphia, Yeadon, and Darby, PA|
|Termini||Overbrook (Rt 10)
Darby (Rt 11/13)
Angora (Rt 34)
Eastwick (Rt 36)
13th Street (all lines)
|Stations||8 total underground stations,
8 major surface stations
|Services||Routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36|
|Daily ridership||120,450 (FY 2012)|
|Character||Underground and surface|
|Rolling stock||Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company K LRV cars|
|Line length||19.8 mi (31.9 km)|
|Track gauge||5 ft 2 1⁄2 in (1,588 mm) Pennsylvania Trolley Gauge|
The Subway–Surface Trolley Lines or Green Lines are five SEPTA trolley lines that operate on street-level tracks in West Philadelphia and Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and in a shared subway with rapid transit trains in Philadelphia's Center City. All together, the five lines operate on approximately 19.8 miles (31.9 km) of route. Also defined as a Green Line is SEPTA Route 15 (aka. the Girard Avenue Line), but that is not included in this article as it is not a subway-surface route.
Like Boston's Green Line and San Francisco's Muni Metro, the SEPTA Subway-Surface line is the descendant of a pre-World War II streetcar system; however, Boston and San Francisco's systems use longer, articulated LRT vehicles, whereas Philadelphia uses 111 Kawasaki K-Car LRV delivered 1981 to 1982 and similar to ones used on the suburban trolley routes. These trolleys are similar to the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle used by the Toronto Transit Commission; both being single-unit vehicles of similar proportions that operate on-street. Both examples are descendants of the PCC streetcar.
Starting from their eastern end in downtown Philadelphia, the lines run in a tunnel under Market Street. All five routes stop at underground stations at 13th Street, 15th Street, 19th Street, 22nd Street, 30th Street, and 33rd Street. From 15th to 30th Streets, they run in the same tunnel as SEPTA's Market–Frankford Line, with the rapid-transit trains on the inner tracks and the subway–surface trolleys on the outer ones.
Passengers may transfer free of charge to the Market–Frankford Line at 13th, 15th, and 30th Streets and to the Broad Street Line at 15th Street. Connections to the SEPTA Regional Rail are also available. Underground passageways connect the 13th and 15th Street Stations to Market East Station and Suburban Station.
The 30th Street trolley station is across the street from the 30th Street railroad station that serves SEPTA Regional Rail and Amtrak trains. An underground passageway that connects these stations is currently closed.
The Route 10 line surfaces on 36th Street just south of Market Street, then heads northwest on surface streets. The other four lines make underground stops at 36th and Sansom Streets and at 37th and Spruce Streets, surface at the 40th St Portal near 40th Street and Baltimore Avenue, and then head southwest on surface streets.
The Route 11 line, traveling along Main Street in Darby, crosses CSX Transportation at grade. This is currently the only location in the U.S. with an at-grade crossing between a trolley line and a major freight rail line.
The Subway–Surface lines are remnants of the far more extensive streetcar system that developed in Philadelphia after the arrival of electric trolleys in 1892. Several dozen traction companies were consolidated in 1906 into the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. The PRT funneled the West Philadelphia lines into subway tunnels as they approached the city center. After the PRT declared bankruptcy in 1939, it was reopened as the Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC), which was absorbed into SEPTA in 1968.
In October 2006, University of Pennsylvania's class of 1956 funded the construction of an innovative portal for one of the eastbound entrances of the 37th and Spruce station: a replica of a Peter Witt trolley of the kind manufactured by J. G. Brill and Company from 1923–26. Operated by the Philadelphia Transportation Company until 1956, these trolleys brought university students to the campus and to Center City, Philadelphia. Routes 11, 34 and 37 ran through the Penn campus on Woodland Avenue and Locust Streets for nearly 65 years. In 1956, the trolley route was buried to enable the university to unify its campus. Woodland Avenue and Locust Street became pedestrian walkways.
When tunnels are closed due to maintenance, or some other obstruction, many trolley cars are diverted onto a series of tracks west of the 40th Street Portal connecting all five lines. Southbound tracks start along 40th Street at the intersection of Lancaster Avenue, which is occupied by the SEPTA Route 10 line. At Market Street, the line connects to the 40th Street MFL Subway Station. They continue southbound along reaching Spruce Street, where it splits either eastbound or westbound. Westbound tracks run to 42nd Street where they turn south to either Baltimore Avenue (SEPTA Route 34), Chester Avenue (SEPTA Route 13), or Woodland Avenue (SEPTA Routes 11 and 36). At 49th Street (SEPTA station), another diversionary trolley track moves from Chester Avenue to southbound 49th Street to over the Media/Elwyn Line bridge, to Woodland Avenue, where the Route 36 line splits from the Route 11 line.
Northbound trolleys run up 42nd Street to Spruce Street and then north along 38th Street (US 13) until it reaches Filbert Street and makes a left, crossing the 40th Street tracks. When Filbert Street terminates at 41st Street, the tracks turn right, and head north until reaching Lancaster Avenue.
|Route||Length of Line||West terminus||Main streets of travel||East terminus||Depot assigned|
|Route 10||5.9 mi||Overbrook
63rd Street/Malvern Avenue Loop
|Lansdowne Avenue and
13th Street Station
|Route 11||6.7 mi||Darby
Darby Transportation Center
|Woodland Avenue||Elmwood Carhouse|
|Route 13||6.9 mi||Yeadon
Yeadon Loop, OR
Darby Transportation Center
|Chester Avenue||Elmwood Carhouse|
|Route 34||4.8 mi||Angora
61st Street/Baltimore Avenue Loop
|Baltimore Avenue||Elmwood Carhouse|
|Route 36||7.0 mi||Eastwick
80th Street/Eastwick Avenue Loop, OR
73rd St/Elmwood Avenue
|Elmwood Avenue||Elmwood Carhouse|
Former Subway-Surface Routes:
- Route 31 – Overbrook Park (Lansdowne & Haverford Avenues Loop) to Juniper/13th Street Station via 63rd Street, Market Street & Subway Surface Tunnel – Callowhill Carhouse. Replaced by buses in 1956.
- Route 37 – Chester, PA (3rd & Crosby Streets) to Juniper/13th Street Station via Industrial Highway (PA 291) Eastwick Avenue, Woodland Avenue & Subway Surface Tunnel – Woodland Carhouse. Replaced by buses in 1955.
- Route 38 – Parkside (48th Street & Parkside Avenue Loop) to Juniper/13th Station/City Hall via Parkside Avenue, 40th Street, Baring Street & Subway Surface Tunnel – Callowhill Carhouse. Replaced by buses in 1955.
All stations are in Philadelphia and western suburbs. Stations only on Route 10 are shown in gray.
|13th Street||10, 11, 13, 34, 36||
|15th Street||10, 11, 13, 34, 36|
|19th Street||10, 11, 13, 34, 36|
|22nd Street||10, 11, 13, 34, 36|
|30th Street||10, 11, 13, 34, 36|
|33rd Street||10, 11, 13, 34, 36||
|36th Street Portal||10|
|Sansom Commons/36th Street||11, 13, 34, 36||
|37th/Spruce||11, 13, 34, 36||
|40th Street Portal||11, 13, 34, 36||
|Darby Transportation Center||11, 13||
- SEPTA 2011 Annual Service Plan p.63, total ridership for routes 10, 11, 13, 34, 36 from 2009 Route Operating Ratio Report
- Demery, Jr., Leroy W. (November 2011). "U.S. Urban Rail Transit Lines Opened From 1980" (pdf). publictransit.us. pp. 37–40. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- Philadelphia Transit; Streetcars;Route 11 (Kavanaugh Transit Systems)
- "Studio 34's Eponymous Trolley, or, A Short History of Route 34". Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- SEPTA Subway-Surface Lines map
- "SEPTA - Spring 2012 Route Statistics" (pdf). Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-28.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to SEPTA Subway-Surface Trolley Lines.|
- SEPTA subway and trolley schedules
- Map of subway surface lines in West Philadelphia
- Tramway, Light Railway and LRT in Philadelphia (PublicTransit.US)
- Transit Systems in Philadelphia and Southeast Pennsylvania Electric Railway map (Chicago Railfan.net)
- WorldNYCSubway.org - SEPTA Subway-Surface Streetcar Lines