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Spring 2006 Trip Part 2 SEPTA, The River Line and PATCO

by Chris Guenzler

SEPTA Broad Street Line 4/16/2006

I left the Holiday Inn Express and walked two blocks to Broad Street, finding the stairway to the Broad Street subway. This is the north/south subway line in Philadelphia and I had no idea what the train would look like until one arrived. I boarded a southbound train at the Walnut/Locust station which took me to Lombard-South, Ellsworth-Federal, Tasker-Morris, Snyder, Oregon and then the last stop at Patterson.

After taking a picture of the train, I reboarded and retraced my steps. At Broad Street, I stayed on the train, continuing north through City Hall, Pace-Vine/Convention Center, Spring Garden, Fairmount and Girard, Cecil B. Moore/Temple University, Susquehanna-Dauphin, North Philadelphia, Allegheny, Erie, Hunting Park, Wyoming, Logan, Olney and onto the Fern Rock Transportation Center. Here we made a loop around the shops before we stopped at the station.

I took another picture of the train at Fern Rock. I reboarded the train and found a seat right behind and to the left of the operator, which not only gave a great view of the operations, but also an excellent view looking ahead. The tunnel walls have graffiti most of the way throughout the route. I returned to the City Hall Station where I transferred to the other subway line.

I went up some stairs and followed the signs, which took me directly to my next train.

SEPTA Market-Frankford Line 4/16/2006

My plan was to first go west to the 69th Street terminal, then head back going east to the Frankford Transportation Center. The train arrived and went past 30th Street, 34th Street and 40th Street before we emerged onto the elevated tracks. It was night time as we passed 46th Street, 52nd Street, 56th Street, 60th Street, 63rd Street, Millbourne, and the last stop at the 69th Street Terminal. After detraining, I used the overhead walkway, showing my transfer to go east to the Frankford Transportation Center. I boarded car 1082, returning through all the station to City Hall before entering more new trackage. We stopped at 13th Street, 11th Street, 8th Street, 5th Street and 2nd Street before we left the underground and remained elevated for the rest of the way. The train went to Spring Garden, Girard, Berks, York-Dauphin, Huntingdon, Somerset, Allegheny, Tioga, Erie-Torresdale, Church, Margaret-Orthodox, and finally the Frankford Transportation Center.

I rode car 1123 on the return trip to City Hall. I transferred here to the Broad Line for the one stop ride to Walnut/Locust, where I returned to the Holiday Inn Express for the night.

4/17/2006 The next day, I walked to the Market Street SEPTA station. I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts before finding the track for the R6 Train. This is one of the two regional rail lines I had not yet ridden in Philadelphia.

SEPTA 4616 R6 Train to Norristown Elm Street 4/17/2006

I boarded Car 336 and at 6:36 AM, I was on my way. The first stop was Temple University, followed by North Broad. Under the Northeast Corridor, we turned onto new trackage for me before we ran to Allegheny, East Falls, Wissahickon and Manayunk. The line ran up the valley then passed under a former electric line now a bicycle route. We then followed the Schuylkill River as we stopped at Ivy Ridge, Miquon, Spring Mill and Conshohocken, then onto the Norristown Transportation Center where I would connect to Route 100 on the way back. The train then traveled to Main Street and came to the end of the line at the Norristown Elm Street station.

Picture of my train at Elm Street.

SEPTA set ready to be put in service at Elm Street.

SEPTA 239 at Elm Street.

My train switching onto the longer train set.

SEPTA 336 at Elm Street. I boarded SEPTA Train 6617 and we departed shortly thereafter. At the Norristown Transportation Center, I paid the conductor the cash fare from Elm Street as I detrained, then walked over to the Route 100 station and went upstairs to a waiting train.

SEPTA 100 Route 4/17/2006

This is the first of the SEPTA high-speed trolley routes that I would ride this morning. This trolley only stops if you press a button in the station or someone wants to get off. It is a fast and efficient form of transportation and was a pleasure to finally ride. We left at 7:42 AM and crossed high over the Schuylkill River. We stopped at Bridgeport, then King Manor, Hughes Park, Gulph Mills and Matsonford, followed by County Line. This part of the line is highly scenic. Before Radnor, we passed beneath the former Pennsylvania Railroad Harrisburg Line also known as the SEPTA R5 Line. We made our way turning southeast to Villanova, Stadium, Garrett Hill, Rosemont, Bryn Mawr, Haverford, Ardmore Avenue, Ardmore Junction, Wynnewood Road, Beechwood- Brookline, Penfield, West Overbrook, Parkview, and then to 69th Street Terminal which is the end of Route 100. I detrained and went looking for Route 102, the starting point for my next ride.

SEPTA 102 Route 4/17/2006

I boarded car 1061 and left the 69th Street Terminal stopping at Fairfield Avenue, Walnut Street, Bywood, Hilltop Road, Beverly Hills, Congress Avenue, Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Park and Irvington Road, before coming to Drexel Hill Junction. Routes 101 and 102 share all the stations up to this point. At Drexel Hills Junction, we went straight, turn left Garrettford, Drexel Manor, Marshall Road, Oakview, Baltimore Pike, Penn Street, Springfield Road, Clifton Road {a connection with the SEPTA R3 Line}, Shisler Avenue, Providence Road, Magnolia Avenue, North Street, Bartram Avenue, Andrews Avenue, Collingdale and finally Chesterfield/Sharon Hill.

A pair of pictures of SEPTA 106 at Sharon Hill. I reboarded for the trip back to Drexel Hill Junction.

My trolley at Drexel Hill Junction and then leaving. Now I will show what shows what come into Drexel Hill Junction.

A trolley from Media.

A Sharon Hill outbound.

A Media inbound trolley.

SEPTA 101 Route 4/17/2006

I boarded car 117 for Media. We went through Drexel Hill Junction and proceeded to Huey Avenue, School Lane, Aronimink, Anderson Avenue Drexelbrook, Drexeline, Scenic Road and Springfield Road. We continued on to Saxer Avenue, Leamy Avenue, Woodland Avenue, Thomson Avenue, Springfield Mall, Paper Mill Road and Pine Ridge. From there, the train passed through Beatty Road, Bowling Green, Manchester Avenue, Edgemont Street, Jackson Street, Olive Street, Veteran Square, and Media, the final stop.

After some pictures of car 117 sitting in the middle of State Street, I walked down Orange Street to find the SEPTA R3 Media station. After purchasing my ticket to Elwyn, I went to a market for some snacks before waiting for SEPTA Train 331 to Elwyn.

R3 Train 331 picked me up for the four-minute trip to Elwyn. On the way to Elwyn, we crossed high over Ridley Creek.

SEPTA 350 R3 Train to 30th Street 4/17/2006

I boarded CAR 170 and waited for departure time back to 30th Street Station.

The conductor sold me a ticket to get me all the way to Trenton. The Media-Elwyn Line was the final SEPTA Regional rail line I needed to ride. We crossed Ridley Creek and arrived at Media to pick up approximately twenty passengers. Along the way, I noted that Moylan/Rose Valley had a post office in the station, Wallingford had a very unique station, Swarthmore had a beautiful stone station and Morton had a brick station.

We stopped at Secane, Primos and Clifton Alder, where one connects with SEPTA Route 102. We crossed a high bridge over Darby Creek just before Lansdowne, with a familiar looking Pennsylvania Railroad station sign on the building. Fernwood-Yeadon was just a platform, as was Angora. From here, we returned to the inner city of Philadelphia, complete with row houses. We stopped at 49th Street, then travelled on the Northeast Corridor to University City, before we arrived at 30th Street Station. I had now completed every regional rail mile of SEPTA.

A train comes in going to Chestnut Hill East.

That train heading towards the downtown Philadelphia stations.

A train coming into 30th Street Station heading for Elwyn.

SEPTA 733 Train to Trenton 4/17/2006

The train pulled out of the 30th Street station upper level platform on time, with me in car 349. Once passed Zoo Tower, we entered the Northeast Corridor for the run to Trenton. We stopped at North Philadelphia, Bridesburg, Tacony, Holmesburg, Torresdale, Cornwells Heights, Eddington, Croydon, Bristol and Levittown, before we crossed the Delaware River into Trenton, New Jersey.

I detrained, walked into the station and picked up some River Line schedules for me and other Orange County Railroad Historical Society members. I walked out of the station and to my right, was my next ride.

New Jersey Transit River Line 4/17/2006

After a few quick photographs, I bought my ticket for a trip on the region's newest light rail line. We departed at 1:00 PM, but stopped to change crews at the Trenton Shops. The engine shut down and after several attempts, including help from our previous operator, they managed to get it started. The River Line is a diesel light rail line so there are no overhead wires. We stopped at Hamilton and Cass Street, then the line ran through some lowlands and forests. It was a very scenic line to ride and I enjoyed the ride very much. A curved bridge took us across the Crosswick Creek before Bordentown and then entered the joint freight line. Freight trains use this line after the River Line shuts down for the night. We ran along the Delaware River, then passed the first two sidings which had freight cars on them. The train stopped at Roebling then by the old Florence station, still standing, before we stopped at Florence Park. Our train continued its sprint past a CSX freight train and the large US Pipe plant before we turned into the median down the middle of Broad Street in Burlington. The Burlington station now houses the local police. We next stopped at Burlington South, then continued onto the Beverly/ Edgewater Park station. We stopped at Delanco Station before we crossed Rancocas Creek, then made our way to Riverside where that station now is the Lourdes Thrift Depot.

We continued south to the Cinnaminson station where I took a picture inside the train. The train next took us to Riverton and minutes later, we arrived at Palmyra Station. Then, we traveled over Pennsauken Creek before we arrived at Route 73/Pennsauken Station. We passed under the NJT Atlantic City Line, then had a great view of downtown Philadelphia before we arrived at 36th Street station. The train next passed the main River Line Shops and the Norfolk Southern yard.

The engines at the facilities at this yard. We entered Camden, New Jersey and stopped at the Walter Rand Transportation Center. We continued on to Cooper Street/Rutgers University, then the Aquarium Station, then on to the last stop at the Camden Entertainment Center, where I detrained for some pictures.

What a fantastic job New Jersey Transit did when they built this unique light rail line. I waited twenty minutes for my trip back to the Rand Transportation Center and my connection with PATCO.

I went into the Center, bought my tickets, went downstairs to wait for my first ride on this train.

PATCO 4/17/2006

This would be my first time riding this system as well. {There had been plenty of firsts in the last couple of days with more to come later today and tomorrow}.

I rode the first train out to Lindenwold but I will give trip details for the complete westbound trip.

Meeting a westbound train after it had passed us.

My eastbound train at Lindenwold before it went out of service.

My 3:11 PM westbound train for the 15-16th Locust Station in downtown Philadelphia was now ready for boarding.

I had rode the first train out to Lindenwold but I will give trip details for the complete westbound trip. I took the front railfan seat in the car as an eastbound PATCO train arrived at Lindenwold with the NJT Atlantic City Line off to the right. I met the operator and he told me no cameras were allowed on PATCO, so I put mine away and talked with the operator all the way into Philadelphia. We left Lindenwold, with our first stop being Ashland then Woodcrest, Haddonfield, Westmont, Collingswood and Ferry Avenue, which are all above-ground stations. We entered a tunnel for the Broadway and Camden City Hall stations. We exited the tunnel onto the Ben Franklin Bridge over the Delaware River back into Pennsylvania. At the western end of the bridge, we returned underground for the rest of the trip. We turned south to the unused Franklin Square station then went into the 8th and Market station. Our route turned right to the last three stations at 9-10th Locust, 12-13th Locust, and then the last stop at 15-16th Locust. The PATCO tunnels are graffiti free. I said goodbye to my new friend, the operator, and then returned to 8th and Market to ride my last section of the Broad Street Subway.

Broad Ridge Spur Line 4/17/2006

I exited PATCO, having enjoyed my ride and headed back to SEPTA. This was the last Philadelphia subway that I needed to ride, but had to do it today since it did not run on Sundays. Because it was getting later in the day and I wanted to relax tonight, I would ride just one trolley route and save the others for another trip. We departed 8th and Market at 3:53 PM making our way to Chinatown and then Fairmount, but the operator told me to stay on to Girard in order to return to City Hall. I thanked the operator, then went up and over where I found the "Long Train" waiting. Back on the Board Street Line, I returned to the City Hall station for my last SEPTA trip for the day. I got off at City Hall and went upstairs to a waiting Route 36 trolley to Eastwick.

SEPTA Route 36 Trolley Line 4/17/2006

I boarded car 9012 to take me from Philadelphia to Eastwick. We stopped at 19th, 22nd, 30th, bypassed 33rd, 36th and 37th Street stations, which are all below ground. At 40th Street Portal, there is a major trolley junction with the Route 34 to Angora leaving, then a block later, the Route 13 for Yeadon takes off. The train dropped people off at the various stations, so I won't tell about each stop. On Woodland Avenue, we went to 49th Street, where we turned left leaving Route 11. We were now on our own route and soon crossed the Northeast Corridor. We turned south down Lindbergh Boulevard to Elmwood Boulevard, then we went over the SEPTA Airport line and ran through some interesting neighborhoods from the safety of the trolley. Our route passed the car barns before we turned left onto Island Road to the end of the route at the turning loop near Penrose Plaza Shopping Center near 80th & Eastwick.

SEPTA Car 9015

SEPTA Car 9072 which would take me back to the city.

I boarded SEPTA car 9072 which would return me to the city and relaxed the rest of the trip, as I was one happy but tired train rider. The operator and I talked the rest of the trip. We arrived back in town and soon we went around the downtown turning loop. After detraining, I made my way to the hotel, called home and got my own voice on the answering machine.

I went to Ritz Camera for two more camera batteries after my extra pair died at the north end of Broad Street Line last evening. I always carry spare batteries with me on my trips. I walked over to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner and had a New York Strip Steak, something I did not get on Amtrak, and relaxed. Despite all that I did today, I was still really on vacation. I returned to the hotel, checked e-mails, called home with better results and watching Deal/No Deal on NBC, I called it a night.

Part 3 NJT Princeton Branch, PATH, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and the Mets Game.