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SEPTA Subway–Surface Trolley Lines

Subway–Surface Trolley Lines
#9074 seen on Lansdowne Avenue/Main Street operates on the #13 line in Darby, PA.
Type Trolley
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 84,829 (ave. weekday, FY 2014)[1]
Opened 1906
Character Underground and surface
Rolling stock Kawasaki Heavy Industries Rolling Stock Company K LRV cars
Line length 19.8 mi (31.9 km)[2]
Track gauge 5 ft 2 14 in (1,581 mm)[3][4]
Electrification Overhead lines
Route map

The Subway–Surface Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 & 36 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 about 19.8 miles (31.9 km) of route.[2] (SEPTA Route 15, the Girard Avenue Line, is also a Streetcar Trolley and it's map are colored in Green but is not part of subway-surface system.)

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. Where Boston and San Francisco's systems use longer, articulated LRT vehicles, Philadelphia uses 112 Kawasaki K-Car LRVs. Delivered in 1981-82, they resemble ones used on the suburban trolley routes.

Starting from their eastern terminus @ Juniper Street Station in downtown Philadelphia, the lines loop around in a tunnel under City Hall before stopping under Dilworth Park then re-aline back 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 Jefferson Station and Suburban Station.

The 30th Street trolley station is across the street from the 30th Street railroad station that serves SEPTA Regional Rail, Amtrak, and New Jersey Transit 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.[5]


  • History 1
  • Diversion services 2
  • Routes 3
  • Stations 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


College Hall (and Logan Hall) viewed from Woodland Ave., ca. 1892.

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.[6]

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.

Diversion services

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.[7]


Route Length of Line[8] West terminus Main streets of travel East terminus Depot assigned
Route 10 5.9 mi Overbrook
63rd Street/Malvern Avenue Loop
Lansdowne Avenue and
Lancaster Avenue
Center City
13th Street Station
/City Hall
Callowhill Carhouse
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


All stations are in Philadelphia and western suburbs. Stations only on Route 10 are shown in gray.

Station Lines Notes
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  
Overbrook Loop 10
Sansom Commons/36th Street 11, 13, 34, 36
37th/Spruce 11, 13, 34, 36
40th Street Portal 11, 13, 34, 36  
  • Transfer to SEPTA Buses 30, 40, 42 & LUCY Routes
Angora Loop 34
Mt. Moriah 13
Yeadon 13
Elmwood Carhouse 36
  • Also storage facility for Routes 11, 13, 34, and 36.
Darby Transportation Center 11, 13
  • Limited service on Route 13 to this station
  • Transfer to SEPTA buses 113, 114, and 115
Eastwick Loop 36

See also


  1. ^ "Fiscal Year 2014 Annual Service Plan" (pdf).   – Total ridership from sum of riderships for Routes 10 (16,845), 11 (18,274), 13 (15,906), 34 (16,268) & 36 (17,536) from the FY2014 Annual Service Plan report.
  2. ^ a b Demery, Jr., Leroy W. (November 2011). "U.S. Urban Rail Transit Lines Opened From 1980" (pdf). pp. 37–40. Retrieved 2013-11-02. 
  3. ^ "The history of trolley cars and routes in Philadelphia".  
  4. ^ Hilton, George W.; Due, John Fitzgerald (January 1, 2000). The Electric Interurban Railways in America. Stanford University Press. Retrieved 2014-06-10. Worst of all, not all city systems were build to the standard American and European gauge of 4'-8 12". Pittsburgh and most other Pennsylvania cities used 5'-2 12", which became known as the Pennsylvania trolley gauge. Cincinnati used 5'-2 12", Philadelphia 5'-2 14", Columbus 5'-2", Altoona 5'-3", Louisville and Camden 5'-0", Canton and Pueblo 4'-0", Denver, Tacoma, and Los Angeles 3'-6", Toronto an odd 4'-10 78", and Baltimore a vast 5'-4 12. 
  5. ^ Philadelphia Transit; Streetcars;Route 11 (Kavanaugh Transit Systems)
  6. ^ "Studio 34's Eponymous Trolley, or, A Short History of Route 34". Retrieved 2008-03-11. 
  7. ^ SEPTA Subway-Surface Lines map
  8. ^ "SEPTA - Spring 2012 Route Statistics" (PDF). Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. 2012. Retrieved 2013-06-28. 

External links

  • 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
  • - SEPTA Subway-Surface Streetcar Lines
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