The Annual Trolley Tunnel Blitz Will Return Next Weekend
Here’s when trolley commuters will have to plan on taking the MFL.
Trolley commuters beware: Here comes the ol’ trolley tunnel blitz.
SEPTA will pause service in its underground trolley tunnel starting at 10 p.m. on Friday, August 9th, and lasting through 5 a.m. on August 19th. The transportation organization will use these days — as it does every year — for around-the-clock work on critical track, power, and station upgrades, as well as tile replacement and tunnel, track area, and station cleaning.
It’s a doozy of a maintenance project, which, spread throughout the year, would require more than a few service outages — hence why SEPTA decides just to knock it all out in one go.
During the blitz, trolley routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 will temporarily divert to 40th and Market streets. There, customers can transfer at 40th Street to the Market-Frankford subway line for connections to and from Center City, and tents will provide a temporary shelter for anyone transferring between trolleys and the MFL. For late-night travel, customers can use the MFL weekday night owl bus service or the all-night train service on weekends.
On average, about 700 vehicles travel through the five-mile trolley tunnel every day. The annual blitz always occurs during the summer, when ridership is typically lower.
Here are a few changes workers will make during the 2019 trolley tunnel blitz:
- Replace curved trolley tunnel track along the eastbound and westbound sides of the tunnel at 15th and 36th streets, as well as the eastbound side at the 40th Street portal. (This apparently helps to reduce the noise you hear when the trolley travels through the tunnel.)
- Replace the switch at the 40th Street Portal
- Clean and vacuum the entire track bed and drainage system and power wash the entire track bed at all stations
- Replace old light fixtures with new, high efficiency LED light fixtures between 36th and 37th street stations
- Inspect and complete maintenance on the entire signal system
Keep an eye out for signs posted at the 40th Street trolley portal and other stations for service information during the blitz. For more info, visit SEPTA’s website — or consider following the Twitter account for your specific trolley route. You can find a list below.