Between yesterday and this morning, SEPTA vehicles have been in some thick situations, including a Route 23 bus that was rear-ended by a vehicle that injured 5 people, a man hit and seriously injured by a 15 trolley, and a man hit while waiting for the train by a Lansdale-Doylestown regional rail train.
It seems like every summer, SEPTA has been ripping up and replacing trolley lines. And this summer, it’s time for the 34 trolley.
According to westphillylocal.com, SEPTA recently announced that they’ll be replacing the 34 trolley tracks on Baltimore Avenue this summer. Sure, it’s needed infrastructure improvement, but bummer for those (of us) who live near and depend on the 34 trolley.
A car traveling eastbound entered the trolley tunnel at 40th and Baltimore on Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. and caused a temporary disruption of service when routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 were put on diversion, according to SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch. …
The crazy thing is that this happens kind of frequently.
“It’s not that uncommon,” said police spokesperson Tanya Little.
Two years ago, on January 29, 2010, Broomall resident Peter Yeremian got on the 100 (aka Norristown High Speed Line) at about 8pm. He was pretty drunk. He rode the 100 all the way up to Norristown and back to 69th Street. When the 100 pulled into 69th Street Station, he was discovered dead.
Yeremian’s father, also named Peter Yeremian, sued SEPTA for negligence. Last week, a federal court denied his complaint.
“While the Court sympathizes with Plaintiff’s untimely loss of his son, the law is clear that such actions do not rise to the level of a constitutional violation,” [U.S. District Judge Ronald L.] Buckwalter wrote.
Buckwalter also dismissed the complaint’s state-created danger claim, noting that when the train operator first discovered the plaintiff’s son unresponsive, he immediately contacted SEPTA dispatchers to let them know of the situation and inquire what to do next.
“Decedent was therefore in no way restrained by SEPTA’s actions here,” the judge determined. “The allegations of the Complaint and the reasonable inferences therefrom do not suggest that SEPTA created a danger to the decedent or that it rendered him more vulnerable to any danger than had it not acted at all.”
Buckwalter further wrote that nothing occurred on the train that exacerbated Yeremian’s “already-in-progress condition.”
“Thus, while SEPTA may have been alerted of a potential danger when the Decedent did not respond to the employee’s attempts to arouse him, these actions did not create a danger because the danger already existed prior to this point,” the ruling states. “Moreover, SEPTA’s actions did not render the Decedent more vulnerable to any danger than had it not acted at all.
“The same unfortunate results would still likely have occurred here even if the train operator had not radioed to the Terminal and continued to operate the train,” the ruling continues. “This is because it cannot affirmatively be stated that the Decedent would have lived under these circumstances but for SEPTA’s failure to immediately stop the train and render medical assistance.”
Governing magazine this month profiles Brookville Equipment Corporation, a company based in northcentral Pennsylvania that specializes in refurbishing old trolley cars. They’re the ones that got the $40 million contract to fix up SEPTA’s 18 PCC trolley cars that now run on the 15 line. Or, at least, will start running again after the track work is finished next month.
Not all of those cities want new trams fresh off the assembly line. A small but growing number are using old-fashioned streetcars as part of their fleet. Retrofitting period streetcars may seem like a frivolous idea, especially with local government budgets so tight. But many city planners disagree. In Philadelphia, where a discontinued streetcar line on Girard Avenue is being brought back to life, officials decided to use restored streetcars “at the request of certain advocacy groups,” according to Byron Comati, director of strategic planning and analysis for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority.
You’ve gotta love the “at the request of certain advocacy groups” line. Now who could that be?
Anyway, next time you’re driving along Route 80, get off at Exit 81. Maybe they’ll give you a tour.
Speaking of trolleys, there’s a really neat video that’s been making the rounds on transit sites lately. It’s a 1940 video that tells the story of the end of trolleys in Seattle.
The site that the video comes from is well worth the read. According to public radio station KPLU, buses replaced the trolleys in Seattle for two reasons.
First, a “secret cartel involving General Motors and Standard Oil, among others, was buying up streetcar lines in other American cities, outside the northwest, and converting them to buses.”
Second, Seattle was broke and couldn’t afford the upkeep any more. Seattle Mayor Alfred Langlie “negotiated a federal bailout loan, which would retire the streetcar system’s debt if the city switched to buses.”
By April of 1941, Seattle had ripped up 230 miles of streetcar lines, melting them into steel for the war effort – and becoming the largest city in the country at that time to have no streetcars. Instead, the city got the electric trolley-bus system we still have today.
And now, seventy years later, we sure do miss those trolleys.