Philadelphia visited by Jack May

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  • Member since
    June 2002
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Philadelphia visited by Jack May
Posted by daveklepper on Monday, September 13, 2021 5:27 AM


03-Breaking COVID's cabin fever - Philadelphia SEPTA transit




Jack May


During the month of April in the northeastern U. S., trees begin to blossom and shortly thereafter their leaves start to emerge.  I especially like to take photos of traction subjects adjacent to greenery during that period, as the subtle shades of the colors appeal to me much more than the lush dark green of the summer.  But I waited for bright sunny weather a day or two too long and by the time I got to the City of Brotherly Love many of the blossoms had passed their peak, but a few, here and there, were still in full bloom.

Here is a compendium of my photos from a mid-April day's motor trip in and around Philadelphia.

One residential street that is noted for its beautiful houses and fruit trees is Woodlawn Avenue in the borough of Aldan; its pavement is adorned with the double track of SEPTA's route 102-Sharon Hill.  However, with the line running on an off-peak half-hour headway, I was thwarted in my efforts by traffic getting in front of my lens on two occasions.  However, on the other hand, when I chased one of the cars to its Sharon Hill terminal, a serendipitous moment occurred and I was rewarded by seeing a SEPTA work car.

 At North Street near Aldan's southern boundary, the trackage of SEPTA's Route 102 goes from double-track to single as the line leaves the pavement of Woodlawn Avenue.  Overhead Maintenance Car CMC-2002/OPS0862 is parked on the stub end siding.  The diesel powered "wire car" was built by Harsco in 20


 Above and below:  Two scenes of SEPTA car 123 running on Route 102 in the Sharon Hill area.  The upper view shows the double-ended pantograph-equipped Kawasaki-built car (1981) near the Bartram stop in Collingdale, while the lower photo shows the unit laying over at its Sharon Hill terminal.

My next destination was Southwest Philadelphia, where SEPTA routes 11, 13, 34 and 36 provide subway-surface service from downtown (City Center) through a tunnel portal located at 40th Street.  All of the outdoor trackage on these routes is located on city streets except for some at the outer end of the 36, which was the first place I looked for blossoms.  But the flowering trees there were already well past their prime, and so I continued my quest in other areas.
The outer end of route 13-Chester Avenue lies in the Borough of Yeadon, just beyond the city limits.  Here, just east of the intersection of Chester Avenue and Church Lane, a pair of single-ended Kawasaki-built (1980) pole-equipped city cars pass in a suburban setting.

 I hit paydirt at the intersection of 48th Street and Baltimore Avenue on route 34.  In a setting that exudes gentility, flower pots supply additional color to the two blossoming trees on the opposite corners.

The innermost portion of Chester Avenue runs past Clark Park just east of 45th Street.  The trees are in various spring shades of green behind Kawasaki car 9105.


Above and below:  Two views at the 40th Street subway portal.  A beautification project has resulted in the station and trackage at this location being spruced up with landscaping and flowers.  The layout allows cars coming from any direction: Center City, Woodland Avenue and Baltimore Avenue, to lay over and also to return to their starting points.  Very useful for fantrips as well as emergencies


I then followed route 10, looking in vain for some leafage along Lancaster Avenue, the arterial thoroughfare that is numbered U. S. 30 west of 48th Street.  At 52nd Street the carline turns onto a relatively narrow residential artery, Lansdowne Avenue, which is dotted with row houses, some with vegetation in their postage stamp front yards.



K-car 9079, bound for 63rd & Malvern, is shown running westward on route 10 along Lansdowne Avenue, approaches Felton Street.
At 63rd Street the route 10 tracks turn to the north of off Lansdowne Avenue in the direction of Malvern Avenue and the line's turning loop.  An inbound car is shown along this wide thoroughfare in the western end of the city.


Tho loop is reasonably close to the city line, and a short drive down City Avenue (called City Line Avenue by the natives) but also numbered U. S. 1, brought me to Cobbs Creek and SEPTA's Norristown line at the Township Line Road station.  By now the shadows were long so I found a less enclosed space, which turned out to be the next outbound station, Pennfield.


Above and below:  Two almost identical views from the inbound platform of the Pennfield station of SEPTA's Norristown High-Speed line.  Previously called route 100, the third rail-equipped former Philadelphia & Western Railroad runs west and north over a 13.4-mile route through Delaware and Montgomery Counties to its namesake city from the Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated terminal at 69th Street in Upper Darby.  While not a streamlined as its previous Bullet cars, the ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri) built N-5 units from 1993, which are capable of MU operation, can provide fast and frequent service.  This verdant section of suburban Havertown displays the subtle light green color of leaves just emerging
It was a fine day, and I enjoyed being on the road.

Next, up to North Jersey



  • Member since
    September 2003
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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 11:55 AM

Do the N-5s get over 70 as the Brills sometimes did?


  • Member since
    June 2002
  • 20,071 posts
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, September 16, 2021 10:39 PM

They can and did, until SEPTA started enforcing a 55mph limit.  Someone local can relate the degree and how this is enforced.

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