Four Distinct Kinds of Service

Even with all its latter-day abandonments and suspensions, the Philadelphia area still possesses a pleasing variety of light rail and streetcar routes, with some unusual transit features.  All routes are operated by SEPTA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.  There are four separate kinds of service:

        Five lines, the Subway-Surface routes, leave from an underground terminal at Philadelphia's City Hall and travel in a subway west under Market St. that also accommodates the Market-Frankford subway-elevated route.  After the Schuylkill River the routes reach the surface and head for various destinations. 

        The once-"Red Arrow" lines, which leave together from 69th Street, the western end of the Market-Frankford line, then split into two routes headed for Sharon Hill and Media.

        The venerable Norristown High Speed Line, a unique third-rail transit property with a long and rich history, which also leaves from 69th Street.

        A restored heritage streetcar line that travels along crosstown 8.2 miles through old neighborhoods in North Philadelphia and West Philadelphia. 

In this photo a Kawasaki light rail vehicle has recently emerged from the Market St. subway, and is beginning its slow street running on the 11 Darby line.