Talk:Market–Frankford Line

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Tunnel route?[edit]

The article claims that the southwestward-bound Subway-Surface tunnel runs west under Walnut between 33rd and 36th, and then heads south under 36th. this can't be true, because there's a station at 36th and *Sansom*, not Walnut. furthermore, the 36th and Sansom station is, if I remember correctly, oriented north-south along 36th. My guess would be that the westward portion of the tunnel there runs under Chestnut, but I don't know, and I don't care to hazard a guess at it when the actual information is probably easily available in sources I'm not familiar with. Izzycat 17:40, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Subway surface map EdK 20:37, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
The map is really only good for really for reference for general station location and not so much for the position of the tunnels. As for the tunnels, the SS line does not run under walnut, as it would not match up with the station on 36th street, which for it to work that way on walnut it would have to be on the corner of 36th and Walnut and not where it is (the portals for 36st stree if i recall are outside of the contempeoary art museaum, north of samsom, and the land title building? south of sansom. I think the tunnle runs under ludlow, split after 34th street to the portal for the lancaster ave line, with the rest of the lines making the turn south at 36th and ludlow. I think i can recall seeing grates on 36th between ludlow and Chestnut. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 07:56, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
True. A PTC handout dated 1955 October 13 shows a somewhat better map of the then new extensions of the Market Street Subway and Surface-Car Subway. It isn't a blueprint at all, but clearly shows two trolley tracks curving southwest from the subway route to the 33rd St station, then immediately curving west between Market and Chestnut and at 34th St curving slightly north before continuing west to the route 10 portal, then turning sharply to the south under 36th St to the Samson St station, crossing under Walnut St at right angle to that street (not otherwise going under Walnut), turning southwest along Woodland to the 37th St-University station, and continuing under Woodland to the 40th St portal. EdK 01:49, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
That sounds pretty much like how I described it in the article. You have the actual map, though, so feel free to edit if you feel my description doesn't agree with the map. Also, the street running between and parallel to Chestnut and Walnut is Sansom, not Samson.
Sorry, i miss tha spelling all the time. Actually you can kinda guess the roter useing like google maps, or something similar, and overlay the sat photo with the street map. Using it you can see the portal curving out from under Ludlow then running parralell to it. But it took me a while to figure out how they have to make that turn down 36th, 36th isn't that wide of a street, and the buildings on the south end of the 36th and ludlow are right up to the corner, so their foundations would be in the way. But of you look on the north end of the intersection, the NE corner is the bortal so no buildings in the way, the building in the NW corner doe not come all the way to the corner but is at an ofset angle to it, which would allow a bit of a turning radius. The only other place i know that this is seen is at 34th and ludlow. The Korman center, the octogan shaped building on the Drexel campus, at least i was allways led to belive, is shaped that way because of the tunnel on the NE corner of the buliding. Now it mae be a stretch, but it does make sence. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 04:50, 3 March 2006 (UTC)

Attempted suicide 6/8/2006[edit]

Hey everybody, I was a passenger in the front car of the El that was struck by a jumper from the platform yesterday. I'm looking for any information regarding the jumper (amazingly, he survived the impact, crashing through the front door, but I don't know if he lived much longer afterwards) and the conductor. Any information would be greatly appreciated. --Christopher Schwartz, Philadelphia City Paper 16:12, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

How Should Stations Be Designated?[edit]

Group: I have noticed there are duplicates and inconsistencies of the listings of the SEPTA MFL stations. For example, see 5th_Street_(MFL_station) and also 5th_Street_(SEPTA_station). There are a number of other such examples. What is the consensus on how these should be depicted? Then there needs to be some wholesale consoldation and perhaps disambig pages. Professor water 11:12, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Equipment Details[edit]

I would like to see some discussion of the equipment used on the line, like types of subway cars, being a third rail paddle system, the token entry/exit system and how interchanges function at Broad Street and between the trolley lines. Also, I don't know if this is in the scope of this article or some other article, but the underground pathway system between 11th and 15th street (especially around city hall) is rather intracate, though at present a lot of it has been abandoned. I've always wanted to know what the original intent and map of that area looked like. I always assumed it was part of the old interchanges w/ the Broad Street subway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by DLPanther (talkcontribs) 21:12, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

A "third rail paddle" is called a contact shoe Peter Horn User talk 01:51, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Star Wars @ Erie–Torresdale Station?[edit]

Some anonymous user keeps posting the idea that Erie–Torresdale (SEPTA station) was a Star Wars Space Base Station beginning in the late-1970's, and posting an e-mail address for those who want more info. I'm pretty sure Wikipedia's not a place to post e-mail addresses, phone numbers and the like, but perhaps somebody would care to tell me what this sort of thing is all about. Maybe then, they'll stop messing up the article on that station. ----DanTD (talk) 22:40, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

Frankford Avenue elevated problems[edit]

A recent newspaper article says that there is spalling from the concrete used in the Frankford Avenue elevated line, as a result of improper design. This should be covered in detail. --DThomsen8 (talk) 18:40, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Done. Hiroe (talk) 15:35, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

You can't get to heaven on the Frankford El[edit]

...because the Frankford El goes straight to Frankford. that tune! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:00, 8 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, clearly you're referring to "Beat-Up Guitar" from The Hooters album Zig Zag. Hiroe (talk) 22:36, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Extension to 2nd Street question[edit]

I'm confused; According to this article, the extension to 2nd Street and the Ferry line was built in 1908 as an elevated line, but when was this section driven underground? ----DanTD (talk) 15:59, 7 May 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for noting this, and I've gone ahead and clarified the original construction details in the history section. I may add some further refs to this later; but I cannot currently find my copy of The Road To Upper Darby. Hiroe (talk) 16:53, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Who created the Market-Frankford Line?[edit]

The article notes that the MFL was built entirely with private money, no taxes involved. But it fails to name the company or the personalities involved. Was it controversial at the time? Why did they choose broad gauge? Why does this gauge differ from everything else in the area? — Solo Owl (talk) 17:54, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Be it noted that the SEPTA Subway–Surface Trolley Lines use the same oddball track gauge. Peter Horn User talk 00:49, 16 June 2011 (UTC)
It was PTC that built the subway. This is covered in detail in The Road To Upper Darby. Still need to find it to answer some of the questions about the "why" of the gauge. Hiroe (talk) 03:07, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

The track gauge[edit]

Jane's World Railways, 1969 - 1970 edition page 715, gives the track gauge as 62.25 rather than 62.5 Which one is right? Personally I would trust Jane's. Peter Horn User talk 00:56, 16 June 2011 (UTC)

Jane's is wrong, actually. It has been noted several places (one of which is again The Road To Upper Darby) that the track gauge differs from the streetcar network by 1/4". None of the historians (mostly EPTC guys) I've asked can explain why, much less provide reliable sourced answers. Hiroe (talk) 03:07, 8 August 2011 (UTC)
Having finally found my copy of The Road To Upper Darby, I am dismayed to discover that while it does state that the track gauge is 62.5 (page 17); it does not explain the why. Hiroe (talk) 03:05, 4 October 2011 (UTC)
A contemporary source states that the track gauge was 5' 2 1/4" (at the time of construction). See: Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. 1908. "Philadelphia's Rapid Transit: Construction and Equipment of the Market Street Subway and Elevated" (pages are not numbered). — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:06, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
Found the above, and it does say 5' 2 1/4". There are many other print sources - including Jane's - that confirm this. See, for example, various "Electric Railway Journal" articles, annual reports (to state regulators) and so forth. The gauge info in the article needs to be changed to 5' 2 1/4". Skeptics need to explain - with documentation - why the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Co stated the gauge incorrectly, and/or when the gauge was widened to 5' 2 1/2" - and why.
I think it's time to change the article: Cox and trolley fans notwithstanding, many sources state 5' 2 1/4" and they date way back. I'll do this in a few days unless someone can explain "why not." Upper Darby Dave — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:23, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
Dave, I appreciate the effort; but please be aware that the reference you altered was used for more than just the track gauge. If you want to restore the track gauge to .25 instead of .5, I've got no serious objections to that; but you will need to *add* a reference to the source you want, and move the existing ref to it's other use in the article text. (I believe it's also covering the opening date of the Frankford elevated.) Hiroe (talk) 01:26, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and separated out the references as needed, which allowed me to restore your edits as intended. Hiroe (talk) 01:42, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Thank you, Hiroe. I could not figure out how to do this. Upper Darby Dave — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

Referring to Philadelphia in the lead[edit]

This article's lead defines the Market-Frankford line as "a rapid transit line in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States". I changed that to "a rapid transit line in Philadelphia". Another editor reverted that change, noting (quite reasonably) in the edit summary that "people outside the US may not know where Philly is"

Clearly, editors have different preferences for how to refer to a city. But this turns out not to be a mere matter of taste. Wikipedia has a relevant policy, WP:naming conventions (geographic names). That page begins, "This page describes conventions for determining the titles of Wikipedia articles on places and for the use of place names in Wikipedia articles."

It's a long read, but the part that's relevant here is this: when naming a U.S. city, Wikipedia's policy is to follow the AP Stylebook. For most U.S. cities the AP (and, therefore Wikipedia) uses names of the form "<city>, <state>" (for example, "Intercourse, Pennsylvania"). But for a list of about thirty large U.S. cities with distinctive names, including Philadelphia, the AP style (and, therefore, Wikipedia's) is to use the city name alone. So it isn't "New York City, New York". It's "New York City".

If this policy works for the print articles of the AP, it works even better for Wikipedia, because a reader who doesn't know what "Philadelphia" is can use the link. In either case, a user who does know is spared the excess verbiage. (And somebody who wants to read about the Market-Frankford line is more likely than the typical reader to know already what Philadelphia is.)

This is really all about hypertext. A node in a hypertext document needs to contain only the information that's directly relevant to its subject. It doesn't have to duplicate information stored elsewhere. That's why the term "rapid transit" is used but not defined in this same sentence; further information is linked if needed.

Fellow Wikipedians, what do you think? TypoBoy (talk) 20:45, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

I see now. Removing "Philadelphia" is reasonable in this context, if the article on Philadelphia is linked. Epic Genius (talk) 14:10, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Correction needed: Frankford El was not completed before 1922[edit]

"... the Frankford Elevated had been built several years earlier [than 1922]."

This is simply not true, and the article needs to be corrected. It's true that construction was started in 1917, but it was not completed until early 1922. Online documentation is available (but print documentation is much better).

See "Frankford Elevated News (1915-1927)" on ( The city was still issuing contracts for signals, cables etc. earlier in 1922 - and the first cars did not begin arriving until about midyear. So the Frankford El was certainly not complete before 1922, and could not have been opened much earlier than it was. See also "Frankford Elevated - Bent #635 - South of Bridge Street - Unloading 68 Ton Girder from Truck" on ( This is a City of Philadelphia photo dated May 2, 1921, and documents that the northernmost portion of the El hadn't even been built by mid-1921.

PRT built the Market Street el and subway as fast as it could because it had to start earning revenue from the investment (at least $500 million in today's dollars) as quickly as possible. Also, the Market Street line was not hit by WW1-era inflation, as the Frankford El was. The dispute over operating agreements was real, but it did not delay opening. Again, the article needs to be fixed. Upper Darby Dave — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:44, 3 July 2015 (UTC)

If the article is incorrect, you can be bold and edit the article yourself to fix it. Just make sure to cite any sources that you use, whether print or online. Conifer (talk) 14:10, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
Precisely. If you have relevant sources that clearly show more accurate dating, please include them. Hiroe (talk) 04:15, 1 October 2015 (UTC)
OK, but I'm not certain how much info should go in to this article. Certainly the conflict between the city and the company (Philadelphia Rapid Transit) over the operating agreement is of interest, but is not relevant here because it did not delay completion and opening - in spite of the statements found in more than one source. The delay was the result of World War 1, inflation and municipal financial difficulties. Legal, regulatory and political issues also played a role.
How about:
The "First Operating Section" of the Frankford Elevated was planned to extend from Arch Street (connection with PTC Market Street line) and Bridge Street, 6.4 miles (10.3 km). Construction, financed by the City of Philadelphia and managed by the Department of City Transit, was started in September 1915 [Source 1, page 18]. At that time, construction was anticipated to require about three years [Source 2]. However, construction was slowed because of World War I. By February 1920, 65 percent of the construction work had been completed and 15 percent was under contract. Of the remainder, plans had been completed for ten percent, leaving approximately ten percent of construction "yet to be arranged for"[Source 1, page 18]. The superstructure had been completed between Dyre Street (south of Bridge Street) to a point just north of Arch Street. However, only two stations had been completed, and six had not been started [Source 1, page 17]. Signals, substations and cars had "yet to be arranged for" [Source 1, page 14]. In 1919, the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania approved a connection between the Frankford and Market Street lines in 1919, with signals and signal tower to be built by PRT [Source 1, age 18]. But the Philadelphia City Solicitor determined that the connection could not be built until a contract for operation had been signed and approved by the PSC [Source 1, page 19]. This did not take place until 1922. The line was dedicated on November 4, 1922 and opened for service on November 5 [existing references].
Total expenditures by the city for the Frankford El "with its track, substations, equipment and certain rolling stock" was $15,604,000 to December 31, 1929 [Source 3, page 14]. The planned - and authorized - second section of the Frankford El, Bridge Street to Rhawn Street with intermediate stations at Comly Street, Levick Avenue, Tyson Avenue, and Cottman Avenue, 3.0 mi (4.8 km) [Source 1, page 17] was not built.

Source 1: A Report to the City Council of Philadelphia on the Frankford Elevated Railway with a statement showing funds required to complete and equip the line - also data relative to leasing the road - as requested in resolution of the city council, January 20, 1920. By William S. Twining, Director, City of Philadelphia, Department of City Transit. March 30, 1920.
Source 2: The first operating sections of the Frankford elevated railway and Bustleton surface line: a souvenir booklet giving a brief account of their construction, equipment and operating agreement. City of Philadelphia, Department of City Transit, 1922.
Source 3: Report of Transit Advisory Committee to General Conference on Transit Situation in Philadelphia. May 24, 1930. (The "Letter of Transmittal" is signed by J.A. Emery, Chairman, and Milo R. Maltbie, W. K. Myers and S. M. Swaab.)

Upper Darby Dave.

Delaware Avenue Elevated not restored after 1939[edit]

"Following the opening of the Delaware River Bridge in 1926, traffic on the Ferries line declined sharply.[12] Beginning on January 24, 1937, operations were changed to use the Ferry Line only during the day and not at all on Sundays and holidays, though Sunday and holiday service was temporarily resumed during the summers of 1937 and 1938.[12] On May 7, 1939 the line to the ferries was closed temporarily,[12][13] although PRT was forced to return service in 1943.[12] Service was finally ended permanently in 1953, and the structure was demolished.[12][14] The old interlocking tower and stub remains of the junction with the Ferry Line survived until the realignment into the median of I-95 in 1977."

Several issues here.

I've never seen a reference which confirms "Ferries Line" - but this might well have been a nickname used by passengers. Records I've seen refer to the "Delaware Avenue Spur" (post-1922).

I rode the Frankford El many, many times during the early 70s - and saw no trace of the "old interlocking tower and stub remains of the junction." I knew about the Delaware Avenue spur back then, but saw not a trace of it.

The above two are rather trivial - but the following is not. PRT - which by then was PTC - did not reopen the old El. The replacement service was by shuttle bus. Cox makes this clear ... or at least I thought he did.

So, how about:

Following the opening of the Delaware River Bridge in 1926, traffic on the Ferries line declined sharply.[12] ["as is" to here, then continuing:] Evening, Sunday and holiday service was discontinued on January 24, 1937. Sunday and holiday service was restored from May 30 to September 13, and again from July 3 to September 12, 1938. The last day of service was May 7, 1939 [Source, page 2]. Thereafter, the line was closed and dismantled. A replacement bus service was started in 1943 to serve wartime traffic, and continued in operation until 1953.

Source: W.F. Weigand. PTC Routing Changes Volume Two. c1960.

Upper Darby Dave. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:26, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

In popular culture[edit]

Yes, a non-notable author wrote a book that uses the name of the El. Yes, a song mentions the El.

Think for a moment about Richard Nixon. How many songs, album titles, operas, disembodied heads in the 31st century, books, films, etc. are entirely about Nixon. Here's a tiny sample: "Ohio", Madman Across the Water, Nixon in China, Richard Nixon's head, Dick, etc. Now look at Richard Nixon. Where is the list of thousands of books, songs, knock knock jokes, Play Doh sculptures and ads for resorts in the Catskills?

Exhaustive, indiscriminate lists are discouraged, as are passing references to the article subject.WP:IPC This list an indiscriminate collection of passing references that tell us nothing about the El and should be omitted. - SummerPhDv2.0 16:31, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

I agree that it is trivial; it is also unsourced, so I have removed it. (Initially, I was actually going to add that it also appears in the book "Canary" (ISBN 0316403202) by Duane Swierczynski, but that's original research since the source is the book....) Epic Genius (talk) 18:59, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm sure you could have made your point without feeling the need to be sneery about someone else's effort. GreenInker (talk) 15:57, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
When I wrote that I was neither feeling sneery nor including a sneery tone.
The editor reverting my removal seemed to feel "trivial" is not justification and that removing sourced material is inappropriate. My examples are certainly too trivial to include in Richard Nixon while being far more prominent than the example you had included.
I have no problem whatsoever with your effort. Anyone can edit. Some edits are good, some are bad, 99.9% are somewhere in between. - SummerPhDv2.0 05:05, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

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