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Line of the Week

Line of the Week: Market-Frankford Line

May 3, 2021

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This week - we're taking a look at the workhorse of SEPTA: the Market-Frankford Line!  This behemoth of a line came into existence in 1904. At the time, it only went from City Hall to a portal at 23rd Street. In 1907, service was extended to 69th Street Transportation Center (then known as 69th Street Terminal). The next year, the line was built farther east to 2nd Street. SEPTA didn't take over operation of this line until 1968. Before that, it was operated by Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company and Philadelphia Transportation Company.

The Market-Frankford Line connects to 28 stations in all, stretching 13.6 miles between 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby and Frankford Transportation Center in the Northeast. It serves so many neighborhoods throughout Philly - like Fishtown, Center City, and University City - where you can visit the Penn Museum and get $2 off admission with this Perk! It also serves the Delaware River Waterfront - which is a short walk away from 2nd Street Station.

We've also done some major work to the Market-Frankford Line - in particular to Allegheny Station and Somerset Station

And since everyone over the age of 16 who lives in Philadelphia is now able to get the COVID-19 vaccine - there's even more reason to ride SEPTA! The Center City Vaccination Center (100 N. 12th Street Philadelphia, PA 19107), the Community Academy (1100 E Erie Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19124) and Salvation Army (5501 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19139) are all walkable from Market-Frankford Line Stations! You can read more about how to get the vaccine (and how to get there on SEPTA!) here.

The Market-Frankford Line is often affectionately referred to as the "Blue Line," since that's the color it is on most maps. It's also called the "El" since it's a "Subway-Elevated Line" which means it spends about half of its time on an elevated track (it's underground from 46th Street Station to 2nd Street Station. The elevated parts of the journey are many people's favorites because they offer some truly spectacular views. 

In 2009, these views were enhanced by artist Steve Powers, who created a series of murals along the Market-Frankford Line in a project entitled "A Love Letter For You." Powers, a West Philadelphia native now based in New York, is a former graffiti writer who became an established studio artist, illustrator, and Fulbright scholar. In Powers’ own words, Love Letter is “a letter for one, with meaning for all” and speaks to all residents who have loved and for those who long for a way to express that love to the world around them. He considers the project “my chance to put something on these rooftops that people would care about.”

If you're planning on riding, there are a few things you don't want to forget.

  • You'll want to remember your SEPTA Key! This is your "key" to not just the Norristown High Speed Line but to all of SEPTA! If you're using your SEPTA Key, fare will be $2, your first transfer will be free and your second transfer will only be $1. Not only that, but children under the age of 12 ride free when accompanied by a fare-paying adult!  And starting 10/20, you can buy a Three Day Convenience Pass which is ideal for individuals who travel on SEPTA less than 5 days a week and visitors and tourists enjoying a multiple day stay in Philadelphia. The cost is $18 and it's good for 24 trips over 72 consecutive hours. Time starts with your first tap. It is meant for one rider. You can read up about fare here. And if you've never ridden the NHSL before, check out this informative video on How to Ride!

  • Don't forget your mask! This isn't just to keep you safe, it's to keep everyone who rides SEPTA safe! Make sure your mask is covering both your mouth and your nose.

  • And finally, don't forget to keep social distance!

As the song goes, you may not be able to get to heaven on the Frankford El, but you can certainly get to a lot of other places!​

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