SEPTA Trolley Tunnel to Close for Trolley Tunnel Blitz

SEPTA Trolley Tunnel to Close for Trolley Tunnel Blitz

Maintenance and Construction Work to Take Place July 7- 17

Due to power, track and station improvement projects, SEPTA Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not operate in the Center City tunnel from 10 pm. On Friday, July 7, through 5 am on Monday, July 17. 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.

This is the fifth consecutive summer SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. During this year’s nine-day tunnel closure, members of SEPTA’s in-house Engineering, Maintenance & Construction Division crews will work around-the-clock on key maintenance and construction tasks.

“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 GM 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 tunnel was closed for 16 days in 2014 and in 2015.

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.

Members of SEPTA’s Power Department will remove and replace 1,000 feet of wood protection board (a part of the system attaching overhead wire to the tunnel ceiling) on the westbound side of the tunnel between 19th Street-22nd Street Stations. The Power Department 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. The track department will also replace frogs (the crossing points of two rails) and rails at the intersection of Chester and Woodland Avenues.

Other work that will be completed during the tunnel closure includes:

  • Installation of track wires for newly installed rails
  • Testing relays (electrical switches) and performing maintenance on switches at Ludlow Interlocking
  • Performing maintenance tasks including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, drain clearing, track bed cleaning and heavy cleaning at all stations
  • Testing emergency generators and lighting throughout the tunnel

“The projects we work on during the blitzes improve safety and service reliability throughout the Trolley Tunnel,” said 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 and funded through Pennsylvania Act 89. For more information, including Market-Frankford Line schedules, please contact SEPTA Customer Service at 215-580-7800, visit and follow SEPTA service updates on Twitter at @SEPTA.