DRPA Moves on Plan to Reopen Franklin Square PATCO Station

The plan, long favored by Johnny Doc, advanced yesterday as the Delaware River Port Authority set aside $500,000 to study opening Franklin Square Station.

The Delaware River Port Authority has approved a half-million dollars in its budget next year to study re-opening the Franklin Square PATCO stop. If opened, the current “ghost station” would be the first stop in Philadelphia on the PATCO High Speed Line. The current first stop is at 8th and Market.

Re-opening that station has long been a goal of Johnny Doc, who Philadelphia’s magazine Robert Huber recently profiled. He represents Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale on the Port Authority board.

It is believed to cost about $12 million to refurbish and re-open the PATCO stop.

The Franklin Square station opened in 1936, and has had four periods of operation. Sources differ on the details of when the station was open! But here’s a rough estimate:

  • 1936-1939
  • 1943–1946
  • 1953
  • 1976-1979

The station was refurbished for that last opening for the 1976 bicentennial, but was closed due to lack of ridership three years later. Franklin Square, at one point a needle park, was refurbished in 2006. Attractions at that area besides the park are slim: There’s police headquarters at the Roundhouse, and the Metro Club condominiums in the former hospital. It is about as far from the historical sites as the current PATCO 8th and Market stop.

In other DRPA news, the board voted to defer a scheduled 25-cent toll increase; no toll hikes are expected in the next five years.