From 1883 Cable Cars

Two lines were operated which crossed at right angles. The cars were hauled by a series of cables located in conduits i the road. When the car was ready to go the driver operated a grip which grabbed the moving cable and off the car went. Turning via loops was complicated as several bits of moving cable were required, each one to be gripped and ungripped separately.
Where the two lines crossed, cars had to be ungripped and “coast” across the track join. When they failed to make it, the operator had horses standing by to haul the errant cars.
Generally the system was unreliable and unsuccessful!
From 1907 El

The “El” opened in 1907 running along Market Street to the city centre. The Frankford line was originally separate. Later the two sections were joined, also elevated.

But we start at our old friend 69th Street Transportation Center.

West of the platforms (far right centre) there is a large turning loop and tracks also pass through the middle and under the loop. There lead to the line’s main depot and works.

After leaving the terminus, the line runs round the back of a small housing development with a train glimpsed here over the wall.

The tracks soon climb up to a gantry structure above the roadway.

The route diagram actuaykky shows where the El section starts …

… just east of Millbourne station then continues to jyyst east of 46th Street station.

The structure is heavy duty …

… because it carries full sized heavy trains. Note the big climb from street kevel to platforms. There was little sign of accessibility for those with mobility problems.

The line plunges underground from 46th street into the centre.
The underground sections are primitive by modern standards, being cut and cover (note the pillars) …

… and with very basic entrances reminscent of the original lines of the Paris Metro.

After departing from 2nd Street station …

… the tracks turn sharp left and join up with the Frankford line. As Eric Morecambe might have said, “You can’t see the join” because it is all tangled up  with a complex set of road flyovers …

… but somewhere in there the tracks re-appear and climb onto the rest of the “El”. Somewhere up there is Spring Garden station!

But eventually, the railway untangles itself from the motoring spaghetti …

… and continues north east in much the same style as the Market Street section.

fbb suspects that sections of the line were rebuilt to allow it to share space with the roads! 

Soon the terminus at Frankfort Transportation Centre is reached.

Here there is interchange with buses and the line wiggles into a small block of storage sidings.

There have been no serious plans to extend the line; it remains a modest 13 miles long.
The timetable …

… offers a six minute frequency Mon to Sat daytime, reducing to every 12 evenings and Sundays.

There is an all night service (labelled “Owl”)  …

… but operated by buses.

Like most busy Metro-type services world-wide, the rolling stock is the same all the way through.
Here is a video from Millbourne Station, the stop before the line is elevated to El status.


But there is a problem with the on-line information. Apparently some trains miss out some stations, called in the trade a “skip stop” service …

… but nobody seems to want to tell you about it.

But there it is. 
The above picture is of a “B” train which serves “B” stops only whilst an “A” train – well, you can guess the rest.
SEPTA’s long-running A/B skip-stop system on the Market-Frankford Line has officially come to an end as the transit authority implemented service changes on Monday. (thet’s February 2020)!

Skip-stop service was SEPTA’s practice of using A and B trains that would stop at every other station during peak hours. Now, when riders board the Market-Frankford Line during peak travel times on weekday mornings and evenings, each train will stop at every station on the line. Officials had announced the changes were coming to the Market-Frankford Line last month.

Aha! Despite the amount of stuff on-line – they don’t do it any more.

But there is a THIRD train service from 69th Street Transportation Center. We sort-of glimpsed it yesterday …

… and it’s coloured purple.

And Trees
Most trees on model railways are too small. Natural trees are often big – very big. Likewise most model tress are poor representations of real trees; either made of discs of “leaves” in plastic or with added foliage in unrealistic colours. More fbb pictures to follow in due course. 
The new railings have not fallen in a mess of twisted metal on to Peterville station platform, they are in the workshop to deal with those mysterious window frame additions.
But for the revamped townscape, fbb felt thy need of a couple of good (and expensive!) treets. These were made by Heki, sold as Beech Tress and you cannot get for “English” than that. 
Most of fbb’s current arborial additions are small and not particularly “accurate” but they are at the back of the layout.

So an acceptable bodge!

 Next Philly train/tram/trolley blog : Weds 14th June 
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