secrets beneath the streets
ben franklin bridge
city hall
gold depository
peco substation
swann fountain
water department
in the sewer



The original Philadelphia subway opened in 1907 as the Market Street Subway-Elevated line, with that first section operating between center city and 69th Street. In 1922, the Frankford Elevated was connected to the Market Street line and the Market Frankford "El" was born. It stretches underground from Front Street to 46th, and is elevated everywhere else.

The original Philadelphia Broad Street Line opened on September 1, 1928. This first section of the Broad Street Line shuttled passengers six miles to points between City Hall and Olney Avenue. Round trip fare was a whopping 15 cents. Two years later, the line was extended farther south, to South Street. By 1938, the Broad Street Line stretched all the way to Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia. In the mid-1950s, the northern portion was extended to Fern Rock, and in 1973, the South Philadelphia stadium complex dictated an extension to Pattison Avenue. Today, the Broad Street Line uses 35 miles of track to cover 11.5 mile stretch.

In 1967, an underground subway station was constructed at the intersection of Roosevelt Boulevard and Adams Avenue at a cost of nearly a million dollars. It was intended to become a huge transit terminal for the growing corridor between center city and Northeast Philadelphia, with the gigantic Sears building being the focus of that connector. Economic and political issues kept the Broad Street line from ever being extended into the northeast, and eventually the entire project was put to rest. The Roosevelt Boulevard station lay dark and derelict for decades until it was destroyed during the implosion of the Sears building in the mid-1990s.

SEPTA serves five counties in Pennsylvania: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. It also provides regional rail service to Trenton, New Jersey and Newark, Delaware. SPETA's service area covers nearly 4 million people.

SEPTA is the sixth largest public transportation operator in the country, with combined operating and capital budgets of more than $1.3 billion per year. SEPTA employs nearly 9,000 people.

Before City Hall, Penn Square had been used as a public hanging ground, and later, a water pumping station.

The clock in the tower weighs 50 tons and the second hand travels 114.7 miles in one year.


SEPTA numbers at a glance

Bus trolley and train routes 134
Total miles traveled per year 79 million
Number of daily rides 1 million
Number of rides last year 305 million
Diesel fuel used last year 14,378,000 gallons


Other Resources