SEPTA is celebrating the end of an historic project – the reconstruction of the Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated Line.
A fixture of mass transit in the region, SEPTA’s busiest and oldest heavy rail line has been fully modernized through a series of initiatives.
“The Market-Frankford Line has served our region for over 100 years,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. “With this historic reconstruction, the El is now ready to serve our customers through the 21st century, and beyond.”
To mark this historic occasion, on Friday, Sept. 11th, SEPTA held an “Elebration” in West Philadelphia, the center of the recently completed, $740 million project that transformed the Market Street portion of the line into a fully modern transit artery. The community joined SEPTA and local officials for a block party outside The Enterprise Center at 46th and Market streets. WDAS 105.3 FM DJ Patty Jackson was on hand to fill the air with music, and there was plenty of food and fun, including prizes, giveaways, a magician, a juggler and a face painter.
It was a big party – and that’s only fitting, considering the major and critical role the Market-Frankford Line plays in SEPTA’s day-to-day operations.
Serving approximately 160,000 riders daily, the El stops at 28 stations along its nearly 13 miles spanning from the Frankford Transportation Center in Northeast Philadelphia to the 69th Street Terminal in Delaware County. Tens of thousands of regular SEPTA riders rely on the convenient connections it provides to all SEPTA’s rail lines, as well as numerous bus routes.
“The El is the backbone of our system,” Casey said. “With this modernization, our customers can continue to count on the El to get them where they need to go.”
The comprehensive overhaul of the entire line, done through a series of initiatives in recent years, has the El ready to take on the future. Highlights of the improvements include new modern stations with improved lighting and safety features; elevators and escalators, many replacing 100-year-old stairways; new track throughout the line; new infrastructures and supports; and new train cars.
These improvements mark the next chapter in the storied history of the Market-Frankford Line, which traces its roots to the early 1900s. The Market Street portion opened in 1907, and the Frankford Elevated Line first transported customers in 1922. The two lines were later combined to Market-Frankford Subway-Elevated Line – commonly referred to by riders today as simply the “El.”
SEPTA invites its customers and others in the community to visit the El’s new stations and experience all of the modern amenities they offer. The El is also a great place to view exciting new work from local artists, which are on display at stations as part of the “Art In Transit” program. Then, jump aboard the El to view a “Love Letter,” a series of 50 rooftop murals from 45th to 63rd streets. This work – featuring a love letter from a guy to a girl, an artist to his hometown and local residents to their West Philadelphia community – is best viewed from aboard the train.