Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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1903 - 1908 | Market Street Subway (PRT)

The electrification and unification of Philadelphia's public transportation system was begun in 1883 when the Philadelphia Traction Company was formed to supply power to existing lines. The three primary rival companies operating in Philadelphia were the Philadelphia Traction Company, People's Traction Company and Electric Traction Company. They merged to form the Union Traction Company in 1895. With the problem of street congestion still remaining, the solution seemed to lie in subway and elevated rail lines. To accomplish this, Union Traction Company was absorbed into a new organization, the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company (PRT) in 1902. Construction on the Market Street subway began in 1903, and by 1905 the western part of the subway was open for use.

1915 - 1920 | City Hall Station

Broad Street subway is constructed and building foundations are underpinned.

1928 | Opening of the Broad Street Subway

Service on the northern half of the Broad Street Line, between City Hall and Olney Avenue, opened on September 1, 1928. While the original subway tunnel had been finished to just north of the present-day Lombard-South station, service to the Walnut-Locust station did not begin until 1930; the Lombard-South station entered service in 1932. Service from that point south to Snyder Avenue began on September 18, 1938.

1929 - 1934 | Market-Frankford Under City Hall

Though it now tunnels in a straight line directly beneath City Hall, prior to 1936, the original MFL tracks between 15th and 13th Street stations separated and looped around the foundation of City Hall (eastbound trains around the south side returning to be westbound trains from the north side). Parts of that original alignment can still be seen from subway-surface cars as they pass south of City Hall en route to 13th Street station (as well as the bridgework in the ceiling of the southbound platform of the City Hall stop on the Broad Street line).

1966 - 1974 | Construction of Dilworth Plaza

Built in the mid-1970s as an urban renewal project, Dilworth Plaza lies above several levels of transit infrastructure, linking regional rail lines to city subways, trolleys and buses. Comprising 2.8 acres at the intersection of Philadelphia's major art and cultural districts, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and the Avenue of the Arts, it has the potential to be a stimulating gathering place in the heart of the city.

2012 - 2018 | City Hall Station Renovations

"Completion of the Dilworth Plaza Phase of SEPTA's project is only the beginning of SEPTA's work to enhance our 15th Street and City Hall stations, but we believe this project will highlight the importance of providing the resources needed to make critical transportation improvements to better serve our customers and support the growth and vitality of the city," said Jeffery Knueppel, assistant general manager of SEPTA.

Philadelphia's Trolley Line

The Subway-Surface lines are remnants of the expansive streetcar system that was created in Philadelphia after the arrival of electric trolleys in 1892. Many independent 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.