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Celebrating SEPTA's Centenarian

Route 101 Media Trolley Marks 100th Year in Service

April 12, 2013

A milestone birthday deserves a special celebration and SEPTA will commemorate the 100th birthday of the Route 101 Media Trolley Line with festivities throughout the year.

The Route 101 centennial celebration includes the wrapping of one current Media Line car to look like the trolley did when it was first rolled out on the tracks by the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company on April 1, 1913. This unique trolley will be in service over the next year, making its in-service debut from 69th Street Transportation Center to Media on Saturday, April 13. The birthday edition of the Route 101 will also take part in Media's Super Sunday festivities on Sunday, April 14, when the vehicle is stationed by the Media Theater (104 E. State Street) for photo opportunities and the chance for history buffs, transportation enthusiasts and the public to get an up close view of the special car.

"We're excited to have SEPTA partner with us and support our Super Sunday activities by bringing the Route 101 birthday trolley to Media," said Media Borough Council member Monika Rehoric. "This is a great opportunity for our residents to learn about our past while celebrating the Borough's future."

"The Route 101 has been a fixture in Media and the surrounding community since its service commenced," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "We knew that we needed to recognize the impact the trolley has had on transportation in the borough for a century."

What is now SEPTA's Route 101 was the last trolley line built by the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company. Construction on the Media Line began in May 1912; less than one year later, operations were up and running, with service scheduled for every 30 minutes. Over the years, the line was expanded to run on a more frequent schedule, with more vehicles to accommodate passengers at more stations.

In April 1936, the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company was reorganized into the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company. The new company utilized a marketing firm and created a red and cream symbol with the words "Red Arrow Lines" outfitted on the company's buses and trolleys. The term "Red Arrow" became synonymous with bus and trolley service operating in Philadelphia's western suburbs.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company maintained the Red Arrow lines until February 1970, when SEPTA assumed their operation. Since that time, SEPTA has conducted numerous improvements projects to the line, the largest of which was a result of the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2008. From September 2009 - August 2010, an extensive program was undertaken to rehabilitate track, ties, signals, power systems, station renewal and other elements necessary to upgrade service, safety and comfort on the Route 101 Media and the Route 102 Sharon Hill Lines.

"Our investment in the Route 101 not only demonstrated SEPTA's commitment to the customers we serve, but it was also an acknowledgement of the region's transportation history," said Casey. "We invite the community to help us celebrate the Media Line and 100 years of service to Delaware County by riding the trolley and catching our historically wrapped 'birthday' vehicle at events and on the line over the next year."