Transit Trip - Philadelphia PA
Monday, August 15th, 2016



It was pre-SEPTA days, wasn't it?

In July of 2016, SEPTA discovered that the new (~4 years old) Hyundai commuter cars had developed cracks in the trucks. 

So they did what anyone else would do, and yanked them out of service till they knew what caused the problem, and effected repairs.  This was about 120 cars, or 1/3 of their fleet.

As you can imagine, this threw the commuting scene of Philadelphia into almost complete chaos.

While SEPTA was trying to figure out the details, they had to do something to alleviate the delays in service due to the shortage of cars.  The solution was twofold: one was to adjust the schedules, and two, was to lease equipment from MARC, Amtrak, and New Jersey Transit.

So, my best friend John and I scheduled a trip to Philadelphia to catch a glimpse of these trains running on track you don't usually see them on.

Here is where you will find the foreign equipment running:

New Jersey Transit - we only saw one complete train from them, stored on track 6 at Suburban Station during the off peak hours.  The train is used on the Trenton line, but once it gets on the NEC, the only difference between it and the regular NJT trains would be seeing it at a station NJT doesn't stop at (that's also assuming regular NJT trains don't run on the local tracks).

MARC - Maryland Rail Commuter - we saw two trainsets using MARC equipment, pulled by Amtrak Sprinter's.  My guess as to why MARC did not supply engines is because they do not have any electric engines to spare.  Both trains are used to serve the Newark line, heading south from Suburban station to Wilmington and Newark DE.

Amtrak - not sure how many trainsets from them are being used, at least two that we saw.  They are being used on the Thorndale (Harrisburg) line as far as Bryn Mawr.

The information was provided by a number of engineers and conductors we talked to - some of the conductors seemed more knowledgeable than others, but then again, it is not their job to know where the foreign equipment is running :-)

As you may know, we are also transit fans, so we had some time once rush hour was over, to go for a ride to somewhere.  So we took off on a #36 Kawasaki streetcar out to the Elmwood maintenance facility.  Once there, we looked for the Girard Ave PCC cars being stored at Elmwood, but didn't find them in an accessible photo spot.  The PCC's are not currently running, and are .  So we wandered around a while, took a few pictures, and then hopped on another outbound car to catch lunch at Burger King.

In Baltimore Before Departing

At 30th Street in the AM Rush Hour

At 30th Street in the PM Rush Hour







  Three PL-4 dwarf PL signals, with 3 of the 4 aspects the signal can display.

In the 30th Street SEPTA Yard




At the Suburban Street Station

This is where we found one of the MARC trains, and the NJT train hiding between rush hours.....






At Jefferson Station

None of the leased trains come this far, they all stop at Suburban Station....

From the 30th Street Station Parking Garage



On the #36 Subway Surface Line




Back in Baltimore


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!  

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


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