She Wore A Brand New Jersey!

This blog is definitely where it’s at! Not only do you get fascinating public transport stuff but Perry Como as well!
But we do need to grasp a bit of US geography.

Travelling east from Philadelphia, you cross the Delaware River to enter New Jersey. The first community you reach is Camden.

In the early days, you made the crossing by ferry.

This picturesque terminus was in Camden …

… and that on the Philadelphia side was at Penn’s Landing. Whether William Penn actually landed there is a matter of conjecture and convenient history!

It became part of Philadelphia’s industrial waterfront …

… with the area now a poshed up tourist destination.

But the ferry still runs …

… but more for tourism than essential commuting!

What changed things was the Benjamin Franklin Bridge …

… which opened in 1926.

As well as multiple lane of rubber tyred traffic, it has two walkways set above the car deck on stilts …

… and, tacked on to both outer edges of the road deck, the tracks for the PATCO Speedline.

Like the Purple Norristown Line, this is standard gauge track (4 feet 8 1/2 inches) and powered by third rail. So it has no physical connection with the metro lines in Philadelphia.

The line has its own terminus underground at “15th/13th and Locust” (Streets) …

… where it has the “flavour” of the Paris Metro.

A couple of tight turns (dashed RED line on map below) takes it over the bridge.

It continues underground in Camden, having re-plunged below near the tollgate for the bridge. It’s in there, somewhere, plunging!

At Broadway (route map upper left) …

… it offers interchange with buses and a New Jersey tram line …

… of which more in a weekend variety blog! The red line soon comes into daylight …

… (following assorted bits of old railway) and remains so until the end of the line.
The history of the physical line is remarkably simple. In 1936, ten years after the Ben Franklin bridge opened, trains began using the two rail tracks. The line ran from Philadelphia centre over the bridge to Camden Broadway. using single cars.

The Bridge Line (subtle name, eh?) was never very successful providing only a relatively expensive centre to centre link; and, by the early 1950s, frequencies had been cut and evening and Sunday serviced withdrawn.

Sounds familiar!
Then came the cunning New Jersey plan to create a network of “metro” style lines centred on Camden. In the end only the line to Lindenwold was built.
It was opened fully in 1969 and operated by the Authority that manages the bridge and collects its tolls. Technically, the tracks over the state line in Philadelphia are owned by SEPTA.
Just for the record, a video of the trains  in operation today : also those Camden “trams” …

… and a still of the terminus at Lindonwold.

Here there is interchange with the rather quaint “Atlantic City Line”.

Finally, here is part of the current PATCO RED line timetable (click to enlarge) …

… showing a 15 minute service Monday to Friday. Trains run every 20 min on Saturday and every 30 on Sunday.

Tools For Fencing?

But a different kind of fencing? Earlier, fbb just posed the fence …

… and posed a question. Why are window frames stuck to the railings?

fbb does not like to go into too much detail about the complex techniques used in his bodging modelling but the tools for anchoring the fence while the glue set are specific and essential as illustrated here.

The stonework has been painted and the windows? 

As the railings are close together and eight feet high, the Council has installed viewing “windows” so visitors and residents alike can see what is going on in Peterville Station, down below.

Neat idea, eh?

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 17th June 
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