SEPTA’s annual Trolley Tunnel Blitz, originally scheduled for nine consecutive days in July, will take place on weekends and weekday nights starting Friday, August 12.
With power, track and station improvement projects to be advanced this summer, SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the Center City tunnel on the following weekends:
- 8 pm. Friday, August 12 – 4:30 am Monday, August 15
- 8 pm. Friday, August 19 – 4:30 am Monday, August 22
- 8 pm. Friday, August 26 – 4:30 am Monday, August 29
Trolleys will not operate in the tunnel on weeknights from 8 pm-4:30 am August 15-19 and 22-26. Trolleys will use the tunnel from 4:30 am-8 pm weekdays to serve our customers during peak rush hours and throughout the day.
During the closures, trolley service will begin and end at 40th and Market Streets; trolleys will use their alternate diversion service routing to connect to SEPTA’s Market-Frankford Line at 40th and Market Streets. Trolley passengers can board the Market-Frankford Line at 40th Street Station for travel to and from Center City, as the work efforts will not affect that service.
“The Trolley Tunnel Blitz was postponed due to our current Regional Rail car shortage,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel. “However, based on the type of work SEPTA planned for this year, we developed a modified schedule that will allow us to advance several infrastructure improvements, and enhance safety and reliability through the tunnel while minimizing the service impact on our riders.”
This is the fourth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. During this year’s closure, more than 400 members of SEPTA’s in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will build on last year’s accomplishments and work on key maintenance and construction tasks.
“Since the first Trolley Tunnel Blitz in 2013, our crews have replaced switches and thousands of feet of rail and overhead contact wire, and undertaken an aggressive improvement and cleaning program at the trolley stations,” said Knueppel. “However, we still have work to do to bring the tunnel into a state of good repair.”
There are more than 1,300 daily trolley trips through the five-mile single loop Center City tunnel. Because the tunnel is used 24 hours a day, it is difficult for SEPTA crews to get productive work windows to complete necessary repairs and improvements. “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,” said Knueppel.
During the modified Trolley Tunnel Blitz, SEPTA’s Track Department will replace the existing track on the westbound side of the tunnel between 19th and 22nd Street Stations. This track has been in use for 30 years.
Other work that will be completed during the tunnel closure includes:
- Completing signal and wire reliability work throughout the tunnel
- Performing critical maintenance and improvements to overhead wires
- Performing maintenance tasks including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, drain clearing, heavy cleaning and tunnel lighting replacement
- Testing emergency generators throughout the tunnel
“We thank our customers for their continued support and understanding during these closures,” said Knueppel. “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 and funded through Pennsylvania Act 89. For more information, including Market-Frankford Line schedules, please contact SEPTA Customer Service at 215-580-7800, visit www.septa.org and follow SEPTA service updates on Twitter at @SEPTA.