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

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SEPTA Trolley Tunnel to Close for Trolley Tunnel Blitz

Maintenance and Construction Work to Take Place July 8-18

June 21, 2016

Due to power, track and station improvement projects, SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the Center City tunnel from 10 p.m. on Friday, July 8 through 4 a.m. on Monday, July 18. Trolley service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets; trolleys will use their alternate diversion service routing to connect to SEPTA's Market-Frankford Line at 40th and Market Streets. Trolley passengers can board the Market-Frankford Line at 40th Street Station for travel to and from Center City, as the work efforts will not affect that service.

This is the fourth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. During this year's nine-day tunnel closure (the tunnel was closed for 16 days in 2015), more than 400 members of SEPTA's in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will build on last year's accomplishments and work around-the-clock on key maintenance and construction tasks.

"Since the first Trolley Tunnel Blitz in 2013, our crews have replaced switches and thousands of feet of rail and overhead contact wire, and undertaken an aggressive improvement and cleaning program at the trolley stations," said SEPTA GM Jeffrey Knueppel "However, we still have work to do to bring the tunnel into a state of good repair."

There are more than 1,300 daily trolley trips through the five-mile single loop Center City tunnel. Because the tunnel is used 24 hours a day, it is difficult for SEPTA crews to get productive work windows to complete necessary repairs and improvements. "The Trolley Tunnel Blitz allows SEPTA to maximize productivity during improvements projects while minimizing the period of inconvenience to passengers and communities because it is held during the summer when ridership is lower," said Knueppel.

Members of SEPTA's Power Department will remove and replace 1,500 feet of wood protection board (a part of the system attaching overhead wire to the tunnel ceiling) on the eastbound side of the tunnel between 19th Street-22nd Street Stations. SEPTA's Track Department will replace the existing track on the westbound side of the tunnel between 19th and 22nd Street Stations. This track has been in use for 30 years. The track department will also upgrade infrastructure directly outside of the 40th Street Portal.

Other work that will be completed during the tunnel closure includes:

  • Completing signal and wire reliability work throughout the tunnel
  • Performing critical maintenance tasks and component replacement work at the substation
  • Performing maintenance tasks including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, drain clearing and heavy cleaning at all stations
  • Testing emergency generators and lighting throughout the tunnel


"The projects we work on during the blitzes improve safety and service reliability throughout the trolley tunnel," said Knueppel. "We thank our customers for their continued support and understanding during these closures. We will work to make this year's blitz as productive and successful as in previous years."

SEPTA's Trolley Tunnel Blitz is part of the Authority's "Rebuilding the SEPTA System" capital program and funded through Pennsylvania Act 89. For more information, including Market-Frankford Line schedules, please contact SEPTA Customer Service at 215-580-7800, clcik here and follow SEPTA service updates on Twitter at @SEPTA.