SEPTA today awarded a contract to Alstom Transportation Inc. for the purchase of modern, fully ADA-compliant trolley vehicles to replace the Authority’s entire aging fleet of trolleys. This represents a major step forward for Trolley Modernization – SEPTA’s program to transform the nation’s largest trolley network into an accessible, fast, and easy-to-use system.
“Trolley Modernization poses economic benefits for both riders and the region at large,” said SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale T. Deon Sr. “This project will strengthen existing connections by improving transit services that link workers to jobs, students to schools, and diverse communities to each other – supporting local businesses and an affordable cost-of-living for everyone.”
Trolley Modernization is a core component of SEPTA Forward, the Authority’s Strategic Plan, to create a “lifestyle transit network” – a transit system that can be easily used for any type of trip, not just traditional 9-to-5 commutes to work.
Under the contract, SEPTA will receive 130 trolleys, with the option to order up to 30 additional vehicles. The total contract amount for the base order is $714,239,455. Delivery of the new trolleys is scheduled to begin in 2027 with full fleet delivery by the end of 2030.
The new trolleys will be longer and have higher capacity to move more passengers. The fleet will feature low floors and ramps; wider pathways; audio and visual messaging systems to communicate upcoming stops and service changes; and designated open space for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers, and bicycles.
“SEPTA is committed to ensuring our trolleys meet the needs of all riders – people with disabilities, seniors, families with small children, new users, and anyone who needs a little more help to get where they are going,” said SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richards. “SEPTA is still seeking over $800 million in competitive grants, and state and local funding, to make all the improvements necessary for seamless boarding. We are doing everything we can to move this project forward, but we need to secure new options for funding to leverage the once-in-a-generation infusion of federal dollars.”
Together, SEPTA’s eight trolley lines run for 68 miles and connect communities in West Philadelphia, Southwest Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, and Delaware County directly with the region’s two largest employment and healthcare centers, Center City and University City. The current trolley vehicles have served riders since the early 1980s.
SEPTA is building on-street stations to serve the new trolleys and rebuilding underground stations to be fully accessible. The Authority is also making significant operational and infrastructure improvements and extending some trolley lines to key locations to make connections to other SEPTA services easier. SEPTA is working on new and improved maintenance facilities to serve the new fleet.
Funding for Trolley Modernization comes from SEPTA’s Fiscal Year 2023 Capital Budget and 12-Year Program. In addition to Trolley Modernization, this Capital Program advances several other SEPTA Forward initiatives, such as Bus Revolution, King of Prussia Rail, station accessibility, and rail fleet replacements. These projects work together to promote and strengthen regional growth and connect people with opportunity.
For more information about Trolley Modernization, visit planning.septa.org/projects/trolley-modernization/about/. For more information about SEPTA, visit septa.org, follow @SEPTA on Twitter, or download the official SEPTA app.