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How the Trolley Blitz Advances Trolley Modernization

July 12, 2021

Trolley tunnel 36

Trolley Modernization is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine one of the nation’s largest—and oldest—light rail networks to dramatically improve transit accessibility, capacity, and reliability. This project is a key part of SEPTA Forward, our plan to create a seamless transit network that empowers everyone in our region with safe, reliable, and accessible mobility choices.

The age and size of SEPTA’s trolley network makes short-term, partial system shutdowns necessary to build the inclusive and efficient transit system our region needs. That’s where the 16-day Trolley Blitz comes in.

Starting late night Friday, July 9th and ending early morning on Monday, July 26th, the Center City trolley tunnel will be closed. Routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 will be diverted to the Market-Frankford Line at 40th and Market Streets. Here’s how this 16-day maintenance Blitz will advance our Trolley Modernization efforts:

Accessible Trolleys

The Trolley Blitz will improve accessibility by upgrading the tunnel’s electric system in preparation for new, fully-accessible trolleys. SEPTA isn’t just maintaining existing assets—we’re preparing for the future.

On-Time and Reliable Trolleys

The Blitz will improve reliability by reducing delays caused by aging infrastructure. SEPTA forces will replace track at 37th Street eastbound and 15th Street westbound, two areas causing bottlenecks in our trolley network.

Our trolley system relies on a vast signal system to run frequent and safe service. The Trolley Blitz will keep trolleys on-time by performing tests and maintenance work on the entire tunnel signal system—including intensive maintenance work on the Ludlow Switch.

Better Customer Experience for Riders

The Trolley Blitz will improve customer experience by giving our underground stations a makeover: SEPTA crews will heavily clean, maintain, and update all trolley stations closed during the Blitz, including upgrading lighting, removing graffiti, drains and pipes, and even rebuilding the entire eastbound 22nd Street platform.

An Efficient and Growing System

A growing region needs efficient transit. The Trolley Blitz will improve efficiency by rebuilding the entire track bed at the 22nd Street platform, including new concrete decking.

Maintain and Improve the Trolley System

The Trolley Blitz will maintain the system by replacing four miles of overhead contact wire—what powers the vehicles. This is critical to ensuring that our trolley system is up-to-date—especially once our new accessible trolleys arrive.

Read more about Trolley Modernization and SEPTA Forward—our plan to create a seamless transit network—here.

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