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

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Our riders share, "What Kind of SEPTA Vehicle are You?"

Manuel McDonnell Smith
Public Information Manager

This past month, our ISEPTAPHILLY Marketing Team asked our riders a thought-provoking question: What Kind of SEPTA Vehicle Are You? As one of only two U.S. Transit Authorities that operates all of the five major types of transit vehicles (Commuter Rail, Subway Trains, Light Rail, Electric Trolleybuses, and Motor Buses), we wanted to know which one of the modes that our riders most identified with, and why. The answers that came in were as varied as the 144 routes we operate daily, but we narrowed the entries down to what we consider the 10 top, most creative and interesting replies (1 grand prize and 9 runners up). Each selected writer/rider won a "ISEPTAPhilly" tee-shirt, with the Grand Prize Winner receiving a June Trailpass. Check them out below, and let us know if you agree with their choice of "best modes" at http://www.iseptaphilly.com

Grand Prize - Tony Hinch - 'Tony, the Broad Street Subway'
My name is Tony the Broad Street Subway. Yes, I am a subway train. However I do a lot more than carry people North & South on my orange seats. I'm a time machine. I've zipped through history, Philly History that is. I took you to see JFK Stadium, the Spectrum and Veterans Stadium rise up and come down. I took Philadelphians to see the Pope. I was there at Broad and Pattison in 1974 waiting for Philadelphians to return when Bernie Parent, Bobby Clark and the rest of the "Broad Street Bullies" took us to the Stanley Cup. I traveled to the Phillies' World Series in 1980 and 2008. I've taken a plethora of Mayors to and fro throughout history. I took Philadelphians to see Presidents, Rock stars, Artists, and political figures make history, and on July 13th, 1985 I assisted Bob Geldoff and Philadelphia to help the rest of the world raise funds for relief of the ongoing Ethiopian Famine during the Live Aid concert at JFK Stadium. Yes, I am Tony the time traveling subway train. In Philly they call me the Broad Street Subway, and I have helped Philadelphia see it all. When the game is done I'll be waiting, when the last guitar string is plucked and the concert is over, I'll be there. I'll get you there, and back safe and fast. Ill travel through time with all of you, together we will see Philadelphia and Philadelphians be the best we can be.

Runner Up - Nikki Malone - 'Silverliner IV Nikki'

If I was to be a SEPTA vehicle, I would be a Regional Rail Silverliner IV. The Reason? Where to start? Unless it's snowing, I rarely breakdown. I'm fast when I'm supposed to be but I can "tip-toe" down the tracks as well. I burn no fuel, only pure emission-free electricity. Though I am not as attractive or as slick-looking as my Silverliner V brothers, you will see me every on every line getting the job done. You can see me in numbers, you can see me by myself on the Cynwyd, either way I use the same amount of clean electricity. I travel the farthest places outside of Philadelphia and bring back millions to the city. I'm reliable, I'm there, I'm the face of Regional Rail. I had to earn my stripes, just only wearing patches back then when I was still young. I've been here for almost 40 years and with a little luck and the well maintenance I've been getting, I can last 7 more. Heck, maybe I can push 49 like the elders before me. Only time will tell. Until then, I am the Silverliner IV.


Runner Up - Dave O'Sullivan - 'EL Train Dave'

I would be a train on the Market Frankford Line. As I leave the Frankford Center early in the morning, I know that I have a great day ahead of me. Many of my passengers are on their way to work, school or maybe a visit to a doctor or hospital. I will pass where history was made, the birthplace of this country, the smallest National Park, and a great place to spend some time walking around. The trip could also be to a museum, park, theater, restaurant or shop. I can and do get them there. I move out of the terminal and welcome the sun coming up. The view is moving. I see steeples that are reaching heavenward. I also see so many places that people work at. The homes with flat roofs welcome people to "tar beach". I can see old buildings that need some care; I also see all the new construction that brings new people to my city. Soon I will see the hulking expanse of the bridge, before I go underground. I see the universities, medical centers, and the neighborhoods on my trip west. The young people and new wave of immigrants are settling into this are of my city. I see a new supermarket near an old gem. I continue my trip and will be at the end stop soon. A bright new terminal awaits my arrival. Working on the "el" every day is a sight that I see, hold, and smell every day. Not a knock on my other transit cars in other places, my place is better than yours

Runner Up - Angelique Benrahou - 'Angie Route 23'
I am like the 23 bus. I am the longest route, adaptable turning from a trolley, into a bus, and I connect countless neighborhoods together. I grew up in Chestnut Hill, I go to school in Center City, and I shop in South Philly. I am a True Philadelphian, cruising through the streets, and stopping to say 'Hi' to everyone on the sidewalk.

Runner Up - Dwayne Thomas - 'Universal Express'
If I were a Septa Vehicle, it would be the Subway. My three children and I pretend it's a secret cave that takes us on our personal "Express" spaceship ride!!! "Daddy can we go to the secret cave and get on the express spaceship?"

Runner Up - Lillian Rodriguez - 'Rail Route Lillian'
Being a person that has the ability to walk, but not able to ride like a vehicle is an undermining aspect to compare experiences. However, if I had a dream of being a SEPTA vehicle I would be a Regional Rail Train. With high speed, shedding miles, and sightseeing is just what I would get out of it. I like to travel to visit places that I have never been to before. Go outside of Philadelphia, and see people from all sorts of places like Rosemont, and Overbrook, or Thorndale, watching people board on the train, and off the train. Seeing people go to work, school, meetings, visit friends, family, and even maybe vacationing will be a part of a great day as a Regional Rail Line Train. Being a Regional Rail Train will help me explore these things, and become open to the beauty of spaces, places, and far out stops that I wouldn't be able to get to by walking. But finally, when I wake up and realize I am once again a human, I shall wish to board that same Regional Rail Line train to explore these same things. On the Quiet Car, sipping some Starbucks Coffee, and looking out my window.

Runner Up - Victoria Hoppes - 'High Speed Hoppes'
For me, I'm like a High-Speed Train. My life is always on the Fast Track, and I'm going somewhere as fast as I can. It's like I'm living on high speeds all the time, and when I do stop, it's not for very long. Plus, I'm always moving forward... I never like to move back!

Runner Up - Alexandria Placido - 'All Aboard Alex'
"What transportation would you be?" Is the question Septa puts to me. Boat, bike, or three-wheeled trike. Ferry, or car, or even plane, I cannot lie; I am the train! Regional Rail can never fail, from Media to Lansdale. With thirteen branches it carries commuters, from the past, into the future. The Silverliner shines with Chrome. On the Quiet Car, you cannot use your phone. Chat with friends, or read the Inquirer, of public transit, you will become an admirer. So get your TrailPass at the station, and become a member of the Septa Nation!

Runner Up - Joseph Jovinelli - 'One Track Joe'
I'm definitely the subway system. I'm single-minded when I want something and quick, direct and to the point. I get my work done efficiently and don't go off-track. Also, like the subway, sometimes I have get low-down to get my work done, but I prefer to take the "high (elevated)-road".

Runner Up - Menika Dirkson- 'High Speed History'
The SEPTA Regional Rail and I are alike because we both "ride" through History. Like the Regional Rail, I am not only living through historic moments each day, but I am also going to college to study the History that I am fascinated in, so that I can teach it to others one day. In general, we are both travelling through History: I through books, and the train through railway stops. The train and I have travelled through and made History together. From Chestnut Hill to the Gallery at Market East, the Regional Rail has been my route for discovering my hometown's plethora of History. Together the train and I have both travelled through Chestnut Hill, a treasured hub of Art History. Together we have seen country houses, schools, libraries, and other architecture like Victorian architect Frank Furness' Graver's Lane Station, Gothic Revivalist Thomas Ustick Walter's Inglewood Cottage, Modernist Louis Kahn's Esherick House, and Post-Modernist Robert Venturi's Vanna Venturi House. We have travelled through Mt. Airy, a neighborhood known for its successful racial integration where residents fought unfair real estate practices (i.e., blockbusting and redlining) as early as the 1950s, and embraced all groups of people throughout the years by housing many multicultural and religious centers and organizations. As we travel through Germantown, I not only pass my elementary school where I first developed a love for History, but also the historic home of colonial German settlers, and the 1777 Battle of Germantown where British subjects became Revolutionary Americans in our country's effort to become free and independent people. As the train and I ride through North Philadelphia, we reminisce about how Philadelphia was once a booming industrial city (before outsourcing gained terrific speed in America by the late 20th century) as we view the remnants of the city's steel and textile factories that dot along the train's route to Center City. Along the way we look at the graffiti and always remember that everyone has a voice that wants to be heard, not just our Colonial Figures and today's Politicians, but also our youth, who have many stories of their own to tell us as they themselves and the "art" they create contribute to the city's urban history. As the train and I pass the rowers on the Schuylkill River, Kelly Drive, and the 140-year-old Philadelphia Zoo, we consume a ton of Philadelphian History, all at once, and are easily reminded of how lucky we are to live in such a historic city. As we go from 30th Street Station to the Gallery, we are continuously reminded by the travelers going to and fro, that History is about people's memories, stories, and the events they have seen, heard, and experienced. As I work on my Master's degree in History at Villanova University, I think about all these things as I ride the train. I dream, and wonder how I can incorporate the History I've learned into educational material that I can one day creatively teach to my future students. As SEPTA celebrates its 50th anniversary of servicing Philadelphia and its outlying regions, I will remember the memories I have of the countless train rides, where I've seen, heard, and lived History along the railway stops the train faithfully glided on by.


The 'iSEPTAPHILLY' campaign celebrates the Authority's 50th Anniversary.



By Bus or Trolley, SEPTA makes it easy to hop around the city and the region.



Trains on the Market Frankford Line have the ability to capture & reuse energy.



Cars on the the "inter-urban" NHSL can go 60 mph.



Regional Rail Trains travel to the farthest reaches of the region, and parts of 3 states.