SEPTA to Close Trolley Tunnel for Repairs

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will not operate Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 in the Center City tunnel from 10 p.m. on July 7 through 5 a.m. on July 17 in order for power, track and station work to take place. This is the fifth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. 

"Over the past four summers, the Trolley Tunnel Blitzes have allowed our crews to replace switches and thousands of feet of rail and overhead contact wire, and undertake an aggressive improvement and cleaning program at the trolley stations," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel. "We still have some work to do to bring the tunnel into a state of good repair, but the previous Blitzes have allowed us to reduce the number of days the tunnel is closed for service." 

"The Trolley Tunnel Blitz allows SEPTA to maximize productivity during improvements projects while minimizing the period of inconvenience to passengers and communities because it is held during the summer, when ridership is lower," added Knueppel. 

During the closure, SEPTA's Power Department will remove and replace 1,000 feet of wood protection board, which attaches overhead wire to the tunnel ceiling, on the westbound side of the tunnel between 19th Street-22nd Street Stations. They will also install new trolley wire from west of 22nd Street to west of 30th Street Stations and tension the trolley wire between several locations in the tunnel. 

SEPTA's Track Department will replace the curved rail and rail clamps on the westbound side of the tunnel east of 33rd, 36th and 37th Street Stations, and on the eastbound side east of 15th Street and east and west of 33rd Street Stations. They will also replace frogs (the crossing points of two rails) and rails at the intersection of Chester and Woodland Avenues. 

Work will include installation of track wires for newly installed rails; testing relays (electrical switches) and performing maintenance on switches at Ludlow Interlocking; maintenance, including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, drain clearing, track bed cleaning and heavy cleaning at all stations; and testing emergency generators and lighting in the tunnel.

"The projects we work on during the blitzes improve safety and service reliability throughout the Trolley Tunnel," remarked Knueppel. "We thank our customers for their continued support and understanding during these closures. We will work to make this year's blitz as productive and successful as in previous years." 

SEPTA's Trolley Tunnel Blitz is part of the Authority's "Rebuilding the SEPTA System" capital program.