Broad Street Subway News (1915-1931)

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Broad Street Subway News

Electric Railway Journal · Various Issues, 1915-1931

A collection of short news articles about Philadelphia's Broad Street Subway, from various issues of Electric Railway Journal, 1915-1931.

March 13, 1915.

PHILADELPHIA MEASURE SIGNED. Mayor Rudolph Blankenburg of Philadelphia has signed the amended Philadelphia transit measure passed by the Councils on March 4 and carrying an appropriation of $6,000,000 for preliminary rapid transit work. The Mayor signed the bill upon the advice of his directors, especially Director Taylor of the Department of City Transit. Director Taylor's recommendation that the bill be approved was based upon the fact that, should a veto be sustained, there would be no hope of the passage of a proper transit ordinance this spring. In that event, the construction of rapid transit lines would be delayed for a year. The Philadelphia Ledger said that the action of the Mayor in signing the bill apparently committed the city to the construction of a Broad Street subway without terminal facilities, and with no provision for release of the heavy traffic in the congested business districts, and the construction of 3 miles of elevated structure through farm lands in the Northeast, but that the significant fact was that the passage of the measure did permit the city to begin the necessary preliminary work looking toward the construction of a more complete system in the future.

The Mayor said in part: "We know that the ordinance is defective, but its defects are not so great that they cannot be remedied when reason shall take the place of folly, when business methods shall have superseded politics and selfish interests, by the pas- sage of future transit ordinances. The ordinance now before me will make it possible for us to take the initial step in this important city-wide improvement, yet will not finally bind us to its improvident features. Such defects can be corrected by popular vote in November next before much harm is done, for the final decision on a comprehensive and sensible plan for city transit rests in the hands of Philadelphia's electors, through the election of a free Mayor and a self-owning Council."

July 3, 1915.

The Philadelphia Transit Ordinance. By unanimous vote the Common Council of Philadelphia, Pa., has passed the ordinance authorizing the $6,000,000 transit loan. The finance committee's plan is to have the loan ordinance transmitted to the Mayor as soon as it is concurred in by Select Council. Immediately upon being advised that the ordinance has been approved by Mayor Blankenburg, the finance committee will report the appropriation ordinance, which will be passed by both chambers. The committee proposes to allot $3,000,000 for preliminary work on the Broad Street subway and $3,000,000 to the Frankford Elevated line.

July 10, 1915.

PHILADELPHIA TRANSIT LOAN APPROVED. The Councils of Philadelphia, Pa., on July 1 by unanimous vote passed ordinances appropriating the $6,000,000 transit loan to the Department of City Transit and authorizing Director of City Transit A. Merritt Taylor to let contracts and start work immediately on the Broad Street subway and the Frankford elevated. The ordinances allotted $3,000,000 of the loan for each of these projects. Actual construction work on both projects will be started on Sept. 13. Mr. Taylor says that if there is no delay in making the loans available, the entire Broad Street subway can be completed in thirty-two months and the Frankford elevated road within two years.

Advertisements appeared in the Philadelphia morning papers of July 2 inviting bids for the construction of the section of the Broad Street subway which will extend from a point in Broad Street at the north side of the existing subway structure of the Market Street Elevated Passenger Railway north of City Hall to a point in Broad Street at the south side of the existing subway structure of the Market Street Elevated Passenger Railway south of City Hall. This section will pass diagonally under the westerly side of City Hall. Bids for this work will be opened on Aug. 16. The specifications call for actual construction to be commenced on Sept. 13, and for the contract to be completed within thirty months.

Advertisements were scheduled to appear in the papers on July 8, inviting bids for the construction of the foundations for the Frankford elevated line, between Callowhill Street on the south and Unity Street on the north. Bids for this work will be opened on Aug. 16. The specifications call for actual construction to be commenced on Sept. 13, and for the contract to be completed within eight months. Advertisements will appear in the papers on July 26 inviting bids for the construction and erection of the steel work for the section of the Frankford elevated line, extending from Callowhill Street on the south to Unity Street on the north. Bids for this work will be opened on Aug. 23. The specifications call for the erection of the steel work to be commenced on Dec. 1, 1915, and for the contract to be completed within one year.

On July 1 Mr. Taylor issued a statement in regard to the work which he concluded as follows: "Now that the policy of the city of Philadelphia has been finally determined by formal action on the part of the electors and the municipal authorities, after three years of research and public discussion, with full knowledge of all relevant facts, I hope that all parties in interest will cooperate generously in expediting the completion of the much-needed facilities which have been authorized, and such additions thereto as will be necessary, to the end that Philadelphia and Philadelphians may enjoy the bounteous returns which they will gain in time saving, convenience and comfort, and from a wider field of opportunity which will result from the establishment and operation of adequate rapid transit facilities in Philadelphia on a proper basis." The Mayor has signed the transit loan bills.

July 10, 1915.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- Bids will be received until Aug. 16 by A. M. Taylor, director department of City Transit, 754 Bourse Building, Philadelphia, for the construction of the City Hall station section of the Broad Street subway under City Hall and Market Street subway and work appurtenant thereto, known as Contract 101. This section will be about 700 ft. long, and will include the underpinning of the west side of City Hall and the Market Street subway. Plans and specifications may be had at Room 748, Bourse Building, upon a deposit of $50 per set, pending return.

July 24, 1915.

As the preliminary step incident to the construction of the Broad Street subway, Director Taylor on July 14 awarded the contract for the building of a sewer under Buttonwood Street, between Thirteenth and Broad Streets. The work is to begin on Aug. 4 and must be completed in two months. The building of the sewer was said to be in no way affected by the taxpayer's bill in equity attacking the legality of the $6,000,000 loan. Separate proceedings would be necessary to stop the construction of the sewer.

October 7, 1916.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- Sealed proposals will be received by William S. Twining, director Department of City Transit, 754 Bourse Building, Philadelphia, until Nov. 2 for the construction of a section of the Broad Street subway, comprising a portion of the station under City Hall and the Market Street subway and work appurtenant thereto, known as Contract 102. This section will be about 300 ft. long and 106 ft. wide, embracing four tracks with two station platforms, and will include the underpinning of the west side of City Hall and also the Market Street subway.

November 25, 1916.

Philadelphia, Pa. Bids will be received by William S. Twining, director Department of City Transit, 754 Bourse Building, until Dec. 7 for the construction of a section of the Broad Street subway about 300 ft. long and 106 ft. wide, embracing four tracks with two station platforms, and including the underpinning of the west side of City Hall and also the Market Street subway.

February 10, 1917.

Petition Before Commission-- Philadelphia Presents Petition to Public Service Commission P. R. T. Presents Full Text of Its Rapid Transit Offer.

Virtually no opposition was offered when the application of the city of Philadelphia for permission to construct the proposed high-speed subway and elevated system was heard by Public Service Commissioner James Alcorn at Harrisburg recently. Although the entire high-speed system, with the exception of the Darby "L," was under consideration, only one modification in the plan mapped out for it by the city authorities was asked for, and that was a comparatively unimportant one. City Solicitor John P. Connelly, who, with Transit Director William S. Twining, represented the city of Philadelphia, agreed that this modification should be made, affecting as it did one of the principal hotels of the city. Now that the formality of holding a hearing of the city's application for a certificate of convenience has been gone through before a member of the Public Service Commission, Director Twining can at once let contracts for the continuance of the construction of the high-speed lines under the present plan, unless the commission should itself decide upon further modifications, which is considered extremely unlikely. The application did not cover the proposed Darby "L" because the plans for it have not been completed, nor did it include the Frankford "L" south from Callowhill Street for the same reason.

The complete text of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company's offer to lease and operate the city's high-speed lines has been delivered to Mayor Smith in the form of a lease ordinance. Except as to a few modifications to provide for contingencies, the amplified copy conforms to the original plan presented to the city on Dec. 20, and noted at length in the ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL of Dec. 30, 1916, page 1359.

BONDS TO BE ISSUED. The draft of the ordinance reveals the fact that the company proposes to raise the money for equipping the lines by an issue of first-mortgage gold sinking-fund bonds. It has been estimated that it will require $19,000,000 to equip the lines, and this, it was believed, would be raised with the aid of the Union Traction Company, by assessment on the stock of that corporation, making it full paid. Such a contingency is provided for, but it is specified that the money which shall be raised by such payments on the stock of the Union Traction Company is to be used for additions, betterments, refunding and other proper capital expenditures, under the provisions of the 1907 contract between the city and the Rapid Transit Company.

Bids for the construction of the subway delivery loop were opened on Feb. 6 by Director Twining of the Department of City Transit. One of the bidders was a new company, the Philadelphia Subway Construction Company, in which State Senator Edwin H. Vare is said to be the dominating figure. One of the incorporators is Norman G. Degnon, of the Degnon Contracting Company, New York, N. Y., and another is George D. Grover, an engineer in Mr. Vare's employ. The low bidder, apparently was the Keystone State Construction Company, which is controlled by State Senator James B. McNichol, the political rival of Mr. Vare. On contracts No. 201, 202 and 203 the bids of the Keystone company were $1,575,000, $2,496,000 and $1,713,000, a total of $5,784,000. This company is already engaged on contract No. 1, which covers the City Hall section of the Broad Street subway.

The Public Service Commission will hold a hearing on the Philadelphia subway and elevated applications in Philadelphia on Feb. 15.

March 17, 1917.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- Sealed proposals will be received by the Department of City Transit, Philadelphia, Pa., William S. Twining, Director, until April .3, for the construction of the following sections of the Broad Street subway: Contract No. 103--575 lin. ft. of two-track and 2500 lin. ft. of four-track subway in Broad Street, from south of Filbert Street to Button wood Street, including one station; contract No. 104 -- 4086 lin. ft. of four-track subway in Broad Street, from Buttonwood Street to north of Stiles Street, including three stations; contract No. 204 -- 2960 lin. ft. of four-track subway, merging into two-track subway, in Broad Street, from South Penn Square to south of South Street, including two stations. Copies of plans and specifications may be obtained upon deposit of $.50, to be refunded upon return of plans.

April 21, 1917.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- Bids were opened April 3 by the Department of City Transit of Philadelphia for sections of the Broad Street subway. The lowest bidders on the following sections were: Contract No. 10:5 -- 757 linear feet of two-track and 2500 linear feet of four-track subway in Broad Street, from south of Filbert Street to Buttonwood Street, including one station. Keystone State Construction Company, Philadelphia, $2,815,240; contract No. 104--4085 linear feet of four-track subway in Broad Street, from Buttonwood Street to north of Stiles Street, including three stations, Philadelphia Subway Construction Company, Philadelphia, $2,885,941; Contract No. 204--2960 linear feet of four-track subway merging into two-track subway in Broad Street, from South Penn Square to south of South Street, including two stations. Keystone State Construction Company, $3,336,400. Awards of contracts are being withheld pending action by the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania.

January 12, 1918.

Philadelphia Transit Lease Signed-- Both Branches of Councils Pass Measure for Development and Operation of High-Speed Lines.

The Select Council of Philadelphia, Pa., on Jan. 3 concurred with the Common Council and passed without debate the ordinance authorizing the lease of the city's high-speed transit facilities, when and as built, to the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. The bill was approved immediately by the Mayor. Only the formality of confirmation by the stockholders of the company and the sanction of the Public Service Commission are necessary to complete the compact.

PROVISIONS OF LEASE. The principal provisions of the lease are:

Payments to the city and company, in proportion to the relative investment of each, equal to a 5 per cent dividend.

Eight-cent exchange tickets to be abolished outside of the delivery district in the central part of the city within sixty days after the signing of the lease, and universal free transfers to be substituted therefor.

On the opening of the Frankford line, exchange tickets to be abolished inside the delivery loop and free transfers substituted therefor.

Fares to be revised upward or downward, according to the amount of the gross revenue and the fixed demands on that fund.

Broad Street subway, from League Island to Olney Avenue. Frankford line, from Front and Arch to Rhawn Street. Bustleton and Byberry surface line. Darby line, from Thirtieth and Market Streets to Darby. Parkway subway, from City Hall to Fairmount Park, connecting with an elevated line to Roxborough. Delivery loop-subway in Arch, Eighth and Locust Streets, connecting with the Broad Street subway. Chestnut Street subway, as a possible connection between the Frankford and Darby elevated lines.

One of the features of the proposed lease is a board of supervising engineers, which will have control over the operations of the unified system. Through an amendment to the lease, made before its passage by Common Council, the director of city transit will be a member of this board. The company will name a member and it is assumed that one of the transit company's chief engineers will be chosen. The third member will be named by agreement of the city and the company.

The next step is the signing of the lease by Thomas E. Mitten, president of the Rapid Transit Company. He cannot affix his signature for a month, for the reason that the proposition must be advertised to the stockholders

January 26, 1918.

Philadelphia Partnership Plan Shows Foresight. New Contract for Unified Operation of City High-Speed Lines and P. R. T. System Provides for 5 Per Cent Return on Stock, Protected by Adjustable Fare Places Company and City Investments Side by Side Recognizes Authority of State Commission.

The lease which has just been approved by the city of Philadelphia for the operation of new city-owned rapid transit lines by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company is worthy of notice not only because it is an important addition to the list of partnership agreements in this country but also because it has several decidedly novel features. The novelty lies not so much in mere details as in the various fundaments of the new contract. The lease definitely recognizes these three principles: 1. Such unified service as the people desire should be furnished at a minimum cost. 2. The cost of this service should be met by the car riders. 3. The authority of the Public Service Commission to regulate service and fares should be fully recognized.

After two years of negotiation the new lease was approved by Councils and signed by the Mayor on Jan. 3. The only steps now remaining to be taken are the approval by the company's stockholders, who are to vote on the matter at a special meeting on Feb. 8, and approval by the Public Service Commission. The course of the negotiations and the various changes and different proposals made have been described in the ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL from time to time, and the present article will discuss only the main points of the latest and approved contract.

The lease contemplates the unified operation of the new city-owned rapid transit lines and the system of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. The city lines, authorized by Councils on July 20, 1916, include the Broad Street subway with branches, the Frankford elevated line, the Thirty-fifth Ward-Bustleton and Byberry surface line, the Darby elevated line, the Parkway-Northwest subway-elevated line and the delivery loop subway. The city system at present also includes the Chestnut Street subway, approved on April 2, 1917.

The company agrees to provide such additions to its system within Philadelphia as the Public Service Commission upon recommendation of the Supervising Board, later described, shall determine to be reasonable and necessary. The company waives any objection to the jurisdiction of the commission to issue orders in such matters, and it agrees to obey any such order in the premises, or if the commission refuses to take jurisdiction, it will obey the recommendation of the Supervising Board and construct or procure the new property, subject only to its ability to sell securities upon terms approved by Councils.....

November 6, 1920.

An extensive rapid transit system including both subways and elevated roads has been planned and is being built in Philadelphia and the stations on this system are good examples of modern, well planned, rapid transit stations. In the Girard Avenue express station on the Broad Street subway the platform length is 550 ft., the width at the center 20 ft. 9 in., tapering toward the ends through a large radius curve on the outside platform edge. The platforms are accessible from the street through a mezzanine under Girard Avenue which has eight stairways from the street and three to each platform. In addition there are stairways for exit only, near the ends of both platforms.

A local side-platform station on the same line at Ridge Avenue has a similar arrangement with entrances and exits at the center and additional exits near the ends. The platforms, 12 ft. wide except at the ends, where the width is 10 ft., are unobstructed through their entire length, platform columns being eliminated and the stairways being built in recesses outside of the walls of the main structure. Another local station at Twelfth and Arch Streets on the "delivery loop subway" has entrances at or near the ends with additional exits at the center.

May 19, 1923.

Philadelphia Report Under Attack. Common Council and Rapid Transit Company Do Not Agree with Its Findings.

The special report presented by the Mayor's Transit Advisory Board in Philadelphia on the proposed high-speed lines in that city has been the subject of vigorous debates at conferences called by the Mayor to consider the topic. It has also been the topic of advertisements published in the daily papers by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company.

SYNOPSIS OF REPORT. The report was submitted under date of April 24 to Mayor Moore by the special commission consisting of Milo R. Maltbie, chairman; Morris L. Cooke and Francis Lee Stuart. This committee was appointed by the Mayor on Feb. 24 to consider the plans of the Broad Street subway, delivery loop, and other authorized high-speed lines, as heretofore prepared by the Department of City Transit. In its report the committee recommends as the first step a subway on Broad Street for pretty nearly its entire length or from Olney Avenue on the north to League Island Park on the south. About half of this would be four tracks and the rest two tracks, but the two-track sections would be so built that they could be changed to four tracks later. In addition the commission recommends a two-track branch subway leaving the Broad Street subway at Arch Street and going under Arch, Eighth and Locust Streets, back to Broad Street and then extending west on Locust and Walnut Streets to the Schuylkill River and then as an elevated line to Darby. In this respect the report recommends something like the Taylor plan, of a loop under these streets. Other recommendations contemplate the inclusion of the Chestnut Hill branches of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Philadelphia & Reading Railway with the city-owned high speed line, a line over the Delaware River bridge now building and the adoption as standard for all these lines of a gage of 4 ft. 8-1/2 in.

The significance of the last recommendation will be understood from the fact that the present Market Street and Frankford elevateds, operated by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, have a gage of 5 ft. 2 in., the Philadelphia surface lines of 5 ft. 2-1/2 in., and the surface lines in Camden of 5 ft. The committee points out, however, that the steam railroad suburban lines, which it suggests should be taken over as feeders, have the standard gage and this cannot well be changed because they will still have to be used for the haulage of freight. It adds that if the Market Street and Frankford lines should have to be connected with the proposed subway later, they can be changed to standard gage without serious inconvenience.

August 30, 1924.

Subway Actually Started. Construction on the Broad Street subway, Philadelphia, Pa., was started on Aug. 25, when Mayor Kendrick took the pick and shovel and started the excavation. City officials, officials of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, and many citizens were on hand to witness the first step in the $42,000,000 project which has been under consideration for practically nine years. The first expenditure on this high-speed system is $14,000,000 which is the contract price for the construction of the first section. The many incidents in the promulgating of this plan have been referred to before in the ELECTRIC RAILWAY JOURNAL.

May 29, 1926.

Philadelphia, Pa. One bid was received by the City Transit Department on May 21 for the contract for supplying the rails for the Broad Street subway and the contract was at once awarded. The single proposal was from the Bethlehem Steel Company, Bethlehem, Pa., and its offers for the 2,884 tons of rails, 205,000 spikes, nutlocks and bolts is $172,541. The third section of the rail equipment contract for the Broad Street subway is covered in a call to be issued for bids for the special trackwork in the Fern Rock terminal. The bids will be opened by Director of City Transit Ehlers on June 26. The advertised call for proposals enumerates rails, frogs, switches, crossings, tie-plates and all appurtenant equipment for the terminal. Call for the special trackwork, such as switches, crossovers, sidings and frogs for the main line is being advertised now, and these bids are to be opened on June 16. Contract for finishing the stations will soon be let.

July 24, 1926.

Bids Wanted on 150 Cars. City of Philadelphia Is Now Ready to Order Cars for the Broad Street Subway -- Thorough Study of Equipment Has Been Made.

Director of City Transit Henry E. Ehlers advertised on July 16 for bids to be received Aug. 27 for furnishing and delivering 150 steel passetiger cars for the Broad Street subway in Philadelphia. These cars will be considerably wider and of greater carrying capacity than the units now in use on the Market Street subway and Frankford elevated. The new equipment will have a seating capacity of 75 passengers and a total capacity of 212, these figures being compared with 51 and 152 respectively, the capacities of the rapid transit equipment now used by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. The specifications, as advertised by Mr. Ehlers in behalf of the city call for deliveries to begin not later than May 1, 1927, these to continue at the rate of not less than 25 a month, so that all deliveries will be completed not later than Oct. 31, 1927. In passenger-carrying capacity and in general dimensions the prospective cars will be somewhat similar to those now in operation on the lines of the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company, in New York, and on the Cambridge division of the Boston Elevated Company. They will of course be of all-steel construction, 67J ft. long, 10 ft. wide and 12 ft. 3 in. high from rail to top of roof. As a preliminary to the development of the design the city transit authorities made a thorough canvass of the types and general arrangements and details of cars in use on other subway and elevated systems, railroads and street railways, with a view to incorporating, so far as possible, the best features of all cars studied and the latest developments in the art.

The maximum convenience of the car rider in the matter of seat comfort, the arrangement and freedom of entrance and exit, the safety of the passenger and operating crew, the utilization of the total carrying capacity of the subway tube, together with the effects of these various elements upon the costs of investment and operation, were stressed by the Department of City Transit.

Three sets of double-leaf doors are to be provided on each side of the car, the door openings being located so that each opening is conveniently accessible to one-third of the passengers. Doors are to be provided at each end of the car to enable movement from one car to the other.

Side doors will be opened and closed by pneumatic equipment electrically controlled from one of the cars. Automatic signal lights are provided for on the side of each car, in the roof and also in each motorman's cab to indicate whether the doors are in the opened or closed position.

There are 75 seats shown on the car plan, of which number 25 are longitudinal seats on either side of the main doors. The seats will be of the stationary spring cushion type, covered with rattan. Hand grabs on the end of the cross seats, hand straps suspended from the car roof in front of the longitudinal seats, and pipe stanchions located in front of the door openings win be provided.

In addition to the regular system of overhead lights, emergency lights will be placed in the ceiling of the car at all of the doors, which will receive their current from a storage battery and will be automatically lighted whenever the power is cut off.

August 28, 1926.

Rolled Manganese Parts Specified in Philadelphia. As a recognition of the greatly increased longevity which marks the use of chafing or wear plates formed of rolled or forged manganese steel, the city of Philadelphia has included this item in its list of specifications on 150 new cars for the Broad Street subway, bids for which were opened on Aug. 27, as reported in another item on this page. The use of rolled and forged manganese steel parts in electric railway practice is of comparatively recent origin, but very successful results have been obtained upon the properties which have given them a trial. It is possible with this type of steel to materially reduce the dimensions of the wearing parts, since the hardness of the metal and its peculiar resisting power make surface wear almost unheard of.

The chafing wear plates specified for the subway cars in Philadelphia will embody the following parts: Bolster chafing plates, transom chafing plates, motor-nose chafing plates for motor and transom, journal box gibs, pedestal gibs, brake lever chafing plates, brake lever guide wear plates, edge of slots in frame for brake lever guides, edge of horizontal radial brake lever and truck and body side bearing chafing plates.

October 30, 1926.

Brill Will Build Philadelphia's 150 New Subway Cars.

A contract for building 150 high-speed electric cars for Philadelphia's new Broad Street subway was awarded to the J. G. Brill Company on Oct. 26 by Henry E. Ehlers, Director of City Transit for the city of Philadelphia.

The Brill bid, which was the lowest of several received some weeks ago, was $4,039,434, and in awarding the contract Director Ehlers placed the limit at $4,500,000 to take care of unforeseen expenditures. Under the specifications delivery must begin in May of next year and continue until the full consignment has been delivered to the Fern Rock terminal yard.

The cars will be built at the Brill plant in Philadelphia. The Department of City Transit is to supply the motors, motor control equipment, air brake equipment, door-operating devices, couplers and draft gears and other appliances. Bids for this equipment will be advertised for shortly.

Under the Brill contract ten extra trucks are to be delivered. It is also planned to equip ten of the 150 cars with Hyatt roller bearings to determine the effectiveness of roller bearings in this type of equipment.

March 19, 1927.

Brill Gets First Motors for Philadelphia Subway Cars.

Actual operation of Philadelphia's new $100,000,000 North Broad Street subway was brought a step closer March 15 with the arrival at the J. G. Brill plant of the driving motors, electrical controls and other equipment for the first of the 150 passenger cars ordered by the city and to be built by the Brill company. When completed these cars, of all steel construction, will embody every conceivable safety device, including automatic stop controls. Their total cost will approximate $6,000,000.

The equipment was shipped from the East Pittsburgh Works of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company, this company having been awarded the contract for all the motive equipment, including controls, as well as 750 especially designed electric fans for the ventilation of the new cars.

The cars, with 210-hp. motors, will be 67 ft. long, 10 ft. wide and have a total height from the rails to the roof of 12 ft. 3 in. They will seat 75 passengers. There will be longitudinal seats for 25 passengers and transverse seats for 50 passengers. The cars are being equipped with canvas-lined rattan seats with cone springs.

June 18, 1927.

Philadelphia Subway Signal Contract Awarded.

Through its Department of City Transit Philadelphia has awarded a contract to the Union Switch & Signal Company, Swissvale, Pa., covering the complete installation of automatic block signaling, electro-pneumatic interlockings and automatic train stop equipment in the new Broad Street subway. This subway begins at the City Hall and extends northward 6 miles to Olney Avenue and Fern Rock yard, with the present layout embracing two tracks through this territory. The ultimate future arrangement will provide for four tracks throughout. Included under this contract are 264 color light signals, 93 interlocked switches, 117 electro-pneumatic automatic train stops, etc. Direct current at 630 volts will be used for propulsion purposes of the rolling equipment, with double rail return alternating-current track circuits through the entire block signaling territory. Six electro - pneumatic interlocking plants at City Hall station, Spring Garden Street, Girard Avenue, Erie Avenue, Olney Avenue and the yard portal will be installed, with two storage yard interlockings at Fern Rock, the northern terminus of the subway.

June 18, 1927.

Philadelphia Subway Bids Will Be Opened July 19.

Bids for extending the South Broad Street subway of the city of Philadelphia were called for June 10 by Henry E. Ehlers, Director of the City Transit Department, in whose office they will be opened on July 19. Unofficial estimates place the cost at $20,000,000. The specifications call for a continuation of traffic throughout the subway construction. Laying of rails, installation of electrical equipment and repaving of South Broad Street are not included in the construction contract. The length of the extension, known as Contract No. 109, is 3,020 ft. Transit department engineers estimate that there are 372,000 cu.yd. of excavation, 54,000 eu.yd. of concrete, 11,700,000 lb. of structural steel, 1,400,000 lb. of reinforcing steel and about 1,200 tons of cast-iron pipe included in the contract.

September 10, 1927.

Opening of Philadelphia Tube Delayed.

The North Broad Street subway of Philadelphia, Pa., built by the city at a cost of $100,000,000, will not be placed in operation before next May. This was disclosed recently by officials of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company which will operate the line. City engineers, it was said, were in accord with the company's findings contained in an engineering survey that the city-built tube could not be ready for regular train service before the expiration of Mayor Kendrick's term in office. Delay in installing the signal system and other essential equipment and failure to provide adequate terminal facilities for through operation under City Hall before the South Broad Street unit is completed were the factors cited by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company experts as contributing to the delay.

February 25, 1928.

$47,000,000 in Loans Before Philadelphia Voters.

Voters at the April primary in Philadelphia, Pa., will be asked to approve several lean bills, totaling $47,000,000. They also will have for consideration a referendum transferring the $10,000,000 loan of 1913 for the Chestnut Street subway to another purpose.

Largest of the loan items is $10,000.000 for the extension of transit facilities. Of that amount $6,000,000 will be for the structural changes at City Hall station of the Broad Street subway, including the proposed concourse, and $4,000,000 will be spent for the Ridge Avenue delivery loop.

November 3, 1928.

Broad Street subway carried during September 2,519,359 passengers. It operated 361,510 car miles and 27,569 car-hours. The normal week-day service provides a headway of five minutes during the middle of the day and four minutes during the peak hours, morning and evening. During the middle of the day three-car trains are operated, and during peak hours six-car trains are operated. During the present operation when City Hall station is used to somewhat greater proportional extent than will be the case when the subway is extended to South Street, one track has been planked over to supply additional platform space, and operation into and out of the station must be by single track.

Since this condition exists it may not be possible materially to reduce the intervals between trains below that stated. Present timetables call for the operation of 78 of the 150 cars supplied by the city. The reserve is obviously adequate for some time to come. Of the northbound passengers 769,727, or 61.2 per cent of passengers originated at the City Hall station, and 411,414 passengers, or 32.6 per cent, of the southbound passengers originated at the Olney Avenue station, indicating the large preponderance of long riders and through traffic. ...

Mayor Mackey said that the program he has in mind is to continue for two years the experimental operation of the Broad Street subway under lease to the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. The present lease dates from Sept. 1, is for three months, at a rental to be paid the city by the P. R. T. of $200,000 per month, plus the operating cost. Provision is made in this temporary lease for its extension beyond Nov. 30 from month to month. Some time in December, it is expected, a new lease for two years will be drafted, based upon the revenue received by the system during the three-months' experimental operation.

Before the expiration of the two-year agreement the South Broad Street section of the subway will have [be in operation from] City Hall to South Street.

September 1929.

Construction of a concourse under City Hall and on Broad Street from Vine to Spruce, is the first step in a program of underground sidewalks for the protection and convenience of the pedestrian. Extension of these sidewalks by connecting the platforms of the Market Street subway to provide a continuous underground sidewalk from Fifth Street to Nineteenth Street is proposed. All future subways should provide for this facility, at least in the central business district.

February 1930.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- The Council's transportation committee has selected Roosevelt boulevard as the route for the construction of a $30,000,000 high-speed feeder line to the Broad Street Subway. The new subway will extend from Broad Street and Hunting Park Avenue along the boulevard to Pennypack Circle. The committee has also recommended that the Council employ Sol M. Schwab, former city consulting engineer, as a transit expert to advise the legislative body in negotiations with P. R. T. for a new operating arrangement on the North Broad Street Subway. In addition the committee has approved an enabling ordinance appropriating $7,000,000 for relocating the Market Street Subway's elevated tracks under the Schuylkill River and authorizing the director of transit to advertise for proposals and enter into necessary contracts.

February 1930.

Company Makes Subway Operating Proposal.

In the interim A. A. Mitten, chairman of the board of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, in an open letter to Edwin R. Cox, president of the City Council, has made the following suggestions as a basis for consideration and discussion of the lease by the city of the Broad Street subway.

1. Up to such date as a new lease should be signed Philadelphia Rapid Transit will bear and absorb without reimbursement from the city the loss which stands today at over JSOO.OOO and is being reduced at the rate of about $40,000 per month.

2. Philadelphia Rapid Transit will sign and urge upon the commission for its approval a new lease to run from year to year trom the date of its execution which shall contain the following terms :

(a) Philadelphia Rapid Transit as lessee to operate the subway as part of the unified system.

(b) Philadelphia Rapid Transit to pay to the city monthly the net addition to its net revenues arising from Broad Street subway operation for the preceding month as reported by the board of ten, which board should be continued for this purpose.

(c) In computing subway operating expenses the board shall include to cover general and management expenses 2 per cent of subway gross revenues ; this because thus far the board has Included nothing on this account.

(d) In case for any reason, such as opening of subway extensions, the subway shall cause a loss in P.R.T. net revenue tor one or more months, P.R.T. .shall not be entitled to any repayment by the city, but such loss shall be made up from the increased revenues from subsequent months and thereafter P.R.T. payments to the city shall be resumed.

(e) Such lease to run from year to year terminable by either party at the end of the first or any later year on three months prior written notice.

Mr. Mitten stated in the letter that loss in addition to rental to P.R.T. for the full fifteen months period of operation of the subway amounted to $826,603, although for the month of November, as for several other recent months, the subway has proved a slight financial benefit to the whole system.

April 1930.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- An ordinance to permit the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company to operate the South Broad Street subway on its completion, April 20, has been sent to the Council by Mayor Mackey. The ordinance also authorizes the Mayor to negotiate a new lease with P.R.T. for operation of the entire Broad Street subway, subject to approval by the Council. The P.R.T. is at present operating the Broad Street subway under a "gentlemen's agreement," under which it is retaining all of the subway receipts pending a permanent agreement. On negotiation of the latter its provisions as to rental will be retroactive to the date of the "gentlemen's agreement," effective, Dec. 1, 1928.

April 1930.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- Trial operation of the $10,000,000 South Broad Street subway begins when the first train is run from the City Hall to South Street. Thorough tests for clearance and operation of switches and signals are being conducted under supervision of Transit Director Myers and H. M. Van Gelder, electrical engineer of the department.

May 1930.

Philadelphia, Pa. -- Operating of the Broad Street subway for the period from Sept. 1, 1928, to March 1, 1930, is estimated to have decreased earnings of the rest of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company system $702,820.

January 1931.

On the other systems there have been only minor changes since the article in this paper for January, 1930, was published. The Broad Street subway, built by the city of Philadelphia, and operated by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, was put in service all the way from Erie Avenue to South Street. At present only two of the four tracks are being used regularly, but when the riding becomes sufficiently heavy, operation will be carried on the four tracks.

September 1931.

One of the most interesting disclosures of special local benefit to property owners resulting from a subway was made in a report in Philadelphia, in the year of 1928. The Mayor of Philadelphia, desiring to know the effect of the new Broad Street Subway on real estate assessments, real estate values, and the amount of tax return on the increased values to the city, appointed a commission of four real estate men to make an investigation and report. This commission, of which the writer was chairman, divided the Broad Street Subway route into sixteen zones of four blocks each, and made a separate investigation in each zone. The commission found that during the fourteen-year period of projection and construction from 1914 to 1928, real estate assessments in the entire area influenced by the subway had increased from $445,638,629 in 1914, to $815,893,296 in 1927, a gain of $370,254,667, and out of this total gain, more than $68,000,000 in assessments were due to the direct influence of the Broad Street Subway. The commission reported that during the fourteen-year period, the city had collected $14,617,204 in additional taxes resulting from the increased values created by the subway, and that the property owners had received increased real estate values amounting to $134,000,000, or about $15,000,000 more than the entire cost of the subway.

The city of Philadelphia had spent about $120,000,000 on the subway, and the specially benefited property owners in the subway area received $134,000,000 of increased property values, so if we deduct the $14,000,000 paid by the benefited property owners in additional taxes from the $134,000,000 of increased values, the benefited property owners still gained $120,000,000 at almost the entire expense of the general taxpayer. The general taxpayer is now paying practically the entire cost, and carrying charges on the $120,000,000 subway, while certain property owners, who have secured these tremendously increased property values, do not pay any more towards the cost of the improvement than any other taxpayer. Is that fair to the large number of other property owners?

Operating Contract Plan for Philadelphia's Broad Street Subway

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 70, No. 22 · November 26, 1927 · pp 977-980.

J. Rowland Bibbins, consulting engineer for the city, presents plan with novel features. Full city ownership and operation by private company are proposed.

On Nov. 10 Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick of Philadelphia took the first official step in preparation for the operating of the new Broad Street subway by forwarding to Council, with his recommendations, the full report and operating agreement prepared by J. Rowland Bibbins of Washington, D. C, consulting engineer for the city of Philadelphia in these proceedings, as he also was in the fare case of 1925. It is the Mayor's stated ambition to conclude arrangements this year for subway operation during his administration, thus bringing into use the first and most important step of Philadelphia's standard gage, high-speed program.

The following discussion is abstracted from Mr. Bibbins' report.


A new type of operating contract has been designed by the engineer for the conditions peculiar to Philadelphia, the relative position of city and company set against the background of past and probable future growth and development. Philadelphia is the first city to undertake rapid transit trunk lines completely equipped and ready to run by any licensed operator, i.e., built complete out of city capital, of which around $100,000,000 will soon be invested in the Broad Street trunk, now nearly completed except the terminal extension to South Street.

In this contingent plan, which is essentially an operating agreement, the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company is recommended as a licensed operator in co-ordination with its own system, for a trial term ending in 1936, about 8-1/2 years, a sufficient time to enable both parties to gain needed experience to determine whether to carry on indefinitely. At that time and every four years thereafter the city has the right to review the agreement terms, and also the right of termination. This date is set in order to complete the major steps of the high-speed system authorized by the 1918 referendum. In 1957 the agreement is made co-terminous with the Frankford elevated lease and the 1907 city-company contract, so that the opportunity then presents itself for the city to consolidate all of the local transportation properties.

The major extension program assumed in this agreement covers only the essential lines of Broad Street to its South Street terminal, the Ridge Avenue-Eighth Street branch and the Walnut-Woodland subway-elevated to Darby, thus completing by 1935 the backbone of the city high-speed lines to the north and the southwest, which, together with the present Market-Frankford elevated-subway trunk to the west and northeast, furnishes the main axial system of rapid transit. Other extensions and branches are provided for by mutual agreement but may become mandatory on the first date of review, 1936, or succeeding four-year periods.


This plan, it is believed, will secure: (1) The transportation essential to continued growth at less cost than by any other available plan; (2) public ownership (by necessity rather than choice) and private operation; (3) co-ordinated development with minimum risk to both parties; (4) a saving of 1-1/2 to 2 per cent in fixed charges, and (5) a minimum burden on the taxpayer, resulting from the use of the city's financial reservoir to tide over early deficits later absorbed by growing traffic.

The engineer's estimates based on elaborate riding habit counts of previous years (P.R.T. origin-destination counts), also growth trends and forecasts of population and housing, indicate the Broad Street system under this co-ordinated plan would earn in its first full year, 1929, about $2,500,000 net or 2.8 per cent on its investment, leaving only about a like amount to be paid from taxes for fixed charges, including sinking fund. This return will rise gradually after each stage of new construction, due to increasing traffic, and drop temporarily as each new extension goes into service. By 1936, with an investment about three-fourths greater than initially, after the Walnut-Woodland elevated-subway line to Darby is put into operation, the estimated revenues will about double and the estimated net return on the city's investment will be somewhat greater than in 1929. All of these estimates apply only to co-ordinated operation.

Although differential fares might possibly be justified in the future, the agreement was based upon a fare system uniform with that of the present lines and buses, requiring some adjustment of the company surface lines to provide feeder service. In order to avoid accounting complications, fares on interline riding are to be pooled and split equally, so that the company receives proportionate revenue for its short-haul feeder lines and the city for its high-speed trunk service.

Thus co-ordinated operation becomes an inherent element of the plan. According to the engineer this status is quite different from so-called "unified operation," which most generally results in so complex a situation of "scrambled" capital and operating accounts as to defy reasonable allocation at times of desired resettlements. In this agreement the city's accounts are to be kept entirely separate, likewise the physical property and operations. But to the passenger, the system is completely co-ordinated.


The city lines will bear all of the operating costs and appropriate compensation of all of the personnel required. In addition, some incentive to active traffic development and operating efficiency is embodied in the agreement by a sliding-scale compensation proportionate to the magnitude of operations based upon 3 per cent of the net earnings of the city lines. Here it is to be remembered that the operator as such is relieved of the necessity of financing both construction and operation of city lines. On this point the engineer states:

The subway will of course affect adversely slower parallel surface lines and activate the crosstown feeder lines. But in view of the evident consideration given by the Public Service Commission to such a probability [undertaking the city lines operation] in sustaining the 7-1/2 - 8 cent fare, and from my study of available P.R.T. railway statements and other records pertaining to the company's position today, the conclusion appears to me to be justified that, under the present fare, the company should be able to continue the operations of its own lines without financial embarrassment from additional Broad Street subway operation under this agreement. This assumes, of course, normal levels of budget expense operations and of overheads generally current on equally modern systems. Bearing upon this, it is pointed out that: Total riding in 1926 exceeded that of 1925 and with bus traffic exceeded that of any year in the history of the company; likewise revenue traffic excepting only the post war peak of 1920; and passenger revenues, railway and bus, increased nearly $8,000,000 or 18 per cent in the two years following the last fare raise. Thus the net result upon the P.R.T. system under the proposed co-ordinated plan will probably be to sustain the surface system as a whole and at least to avoid the decline thereon which would immediately ensue if the city were forced to resort to full independent operation. The company, in normal operation, submits annually operating, maintenance and capital budgets and upon the board's approval, Council's authorization of new capital funds is requested, and drafts upon the renewal fund are approved or, in cases of emergency, from other balances as provided for in the agreement.


Under the law all construction money must be fully amortized by the city within the 15-30-50 year periods of issue, roughly apportioned to the useful life of the property. The sinking fund payments thus add perhaps one-fourth to normal fixed charges of the major part of the structure, the subway. It is evident, states the engineer, that the city is thus following a very conservative financial policy, especially with regard to the permanent subway structure, in writing off the entire investment within 15 to 50 years, as the case may be. This amortization policy has two great advantages:

1. It deliberately retires a good portion of the investment covering building for the future which is necessary in any rapid transit enterprise, due to the nature of the task and the high cost of enlarging to four tracks later.

2. It creates a "revolving fund" progressively built up from bond retirements out of which new extensions and major replacements may be made without recapitalization, thus providing a financial "cushion" for readjusting future operations to the current needs, and avoid the entire dependence on new bond issues which might not then be economically feasible (such as during war times). Also to a moderate degree it puts the brake on unwise expansion.

Thus in this Philadelphia situation, while the burden of amortization is unescapable, it is eminently conservative and helpful to the next generation, and the plan has been worked out so that the present taxpayer burden under the law is minimum, adequate renewal of the property is practically guaranteed.

Under the conditions, the amassing of a depreciation reserve fund based upon the useful life of the principal parts of the property is not deemed advisable or necessary by the engineer. Instead, actual "renewal liability" has been provided for, based upon such life but with a much lighter burden on fares and with a reserve fund limited to amounts estimated to be needed to carry the system over its peak years of renewal requirements, plus a reasonable safety factor. This principle of renewal liability as distinguished from accrued depreciation was developed by the engineer in the 1925 fare case for the entire P.R.T. system, recognizing that a large part of any accrued depreciation reserve will never be required as such because the overlapping renewal maturities of the various parts of the property are spread over long periods of years, and only a small portion matures at any one time. The engineer defines renewal liability to mean:

Such estimated amounts which in the aggregate will suffice to meet the cost of renewals or replacements or both of any and all depreciable elements of the property as and when actually required, but excluding that portion of accrued depreciation which in the aggregate can never mature as such at any one time, that is the full difference between the cost new and the depreciated value of said property as a whole.

Thus under the agreement rates will carry only actual renewal cost. As the amortization of the entire property is mandatory by law, no justification exists for the double amortization which would result from full accrued depreciation. Until the first bonds mature (fifteen years), renewals will be carried out of revenue. Thereafter, renewals will be refunded so far as necessary. Thus the amortized capital will be "plowed back into the property" as fast as used up in service and ultimately the bonded debt will be progressively reduced.


A co-operative board of control is recommended by the engineer as a practical safeguard to the city's growing interests, i.e., a co-operative agency appropriately representative of both city and company, to decide promptly the multitude of questions, technical and financial, for which this board is especially qualified. This simply puts into practice the spirit of co-operation voiced in the 1907 city-company contract, but which has heretofore proved somewhat unworkable under its terms. This supervision is not a charter function of the Department of City Transit as now constituted.

Under a guaranteed-rental lease requiring return of the property in proper condition the Board of Control would not be so essential. But with the projected city system advancing so rapidly to a position of preponderant investment interest, and the necessity of current knowledge of revenues and operations, maintenance of physical condition and safety funds therefor, and since the city has elected to take the responsibility for rapid transit development, this technical control, continuous and "at the source," is considered an important step in advance in the Philadelphia situation. In the language of the report and agreement, the board members should be:

Qualified by training and experience in the operation, accounting, engineering and/or finance of transit systems. In no sense assuming managerial functions, but rather to provide a qualified agency thoroughly informed, technically experienced and continuously active in all matters affecting the operation and financial integrity of the city system.

The company appoints one member, the Mayor appoints the chairman; the Director of Transit sits ex officio, thus tying in effectively the city's construction organization. This step is in line with the established policy of the two largest Pennsylvania cities, viz., The "Gas Commission" of the Philadelphia Gas Works ordinance, and the "Conference Board" of the Pittsburgh traction ordinance. This board will keep currently informed, make official determinations and certifications, approve budgets, appropriations and contracts, and recommend on numerous questions continuously arising, thus relieving the city's legislative and executive authorities of all technical details except such as require city action.


Heretofore cities seem to have been satisfied to provide construction money simply on guaranteed carrying charges paid by the lessee. As a result, to safeguard against contingencies the lessee drives as hard a bargain as possible, aided by the ghost of operating deficits of the early years. Inevitably the taxpayer foots the bill. But Philadelphia, with its remarkable history of steady growth and industry, stability and diversification, has itself provided the necessary guarantee of safety. Hence this plan, with a return to the city contingent on traffic and revenue, has been designed to release the lessee from the actual or assumed risk necessarily an important factor in any guaranteed rental. Thus relieved, the lessee becomes simply a licensed operator on stated compensation.

The full perspective, the engineer states, must embrace the fact that Philadelphia has alone taken upon itself the duty heretofore assumed largely by private capital as one of the responsibilities of a supervised monopoly, in developing transit in proportion to the needs of the community. The city has developed its best traffic artery, heretofore undeveloped. North Philadelphia as a whole contains more than half the population of the city, and it is estimated that two-thirds the population of this district, more than 700,000 people, reside within the territory served by the zone of influence of the Broad Street subway and its co-ordinated feeders, i.e., within the time-saving zone. Moreover, outlying North Philadelphia is now and since 1900 has been growing fastest in population of any section of the city. This is particularly true since 1920. Underlying all this, Philadelphia has shown itself to possess perhaps the most stable population growth of any American city. While a slight recession is recently in evidence, it is not unreasonable to assume that Philadelphia's broad underlying growth should continue, especially in a community of such fortunate diversified industry.

The Housing Association's coded spot map of dwellings built in 1923 and 1926 gives striking evidence of the concentration around the Broad Street subway, and beyond, reflecting anticipated subway service, likewise the condensation at the end of the Frank ford line to the northeast. Not only row houses but even apartments have made their appearance well beyond the north terminal. Thus the subway will at once fulfill a major purpose high speed and long haul and very probably will supplant a considerable portion of private automobile traffic.

The potential service possibilities of the city's new high-speed system are here measured by the time saving over present surface car line and bus schedules to the center of the city. Tributary population within the city limits shown by dots on the time-saving zone of influence map is recorded as of 1927. The unshaded areas to the northeast and to the west are already covered by the Market Street-Frankford elevated route. This time saving is based upon surface line and bus feeder schedule operations, allowing suitable period for transfers. It is this time saving in which the surface lines find their most valuable service rather than in long-haul service to the center. While recapture of private automobile traffic now existing has not been, and cannot be, accurately estimated, the engineer believes that much of this long-haul auto traffic will swing over- to the subway as central congestion increases.


The lines here represented are estimated to cost around $89,000,000 complete for the first unit, City Hall North, $120,000,000 including the South and Ridge-Eighth Street extension, and branch, and around $160,000,000 when the Walnut-Woodland subway extension to Darby is completed. Other projected extensions further south, to the northwest and branches to the north will require still other capital in large amounts. The engineer therefore raises the question whether the time has not come for the principle of local benefit assessment to be incorporated in the city's transit financing, pointing out that a joint resolution therefor has already passed two legislatures and awaits referendum for the construction of Pittsburgh systems.

In an economic sense, it is paid-up amortization of the extra development cost of building for the future as well as for the present by contributions from property benefited by the improvement, in proportion to such benefit. By this means the additional burden of fares and taxes from such expensive form of transit construction will be proportionately reduced and the release of city's borrowing power facilitated to maintain the continued growth to which the city is entitled.

Enabling legislation for Philadelphia to provide the necessary legal machinery and safeguard its administration is suggested.

The engineer's report discusses also the various alternative plans of the contract-lease ranging between: (a) A fixed guaranteed rental, and (b) complete independent operation by the city or other operator with city feeders, including compromise independent operations with feeder service, as agreed upon: contingent rental based upon a fraction of the fare; sliding scale guaranteed rental following the net earnings, etc. But while independent operation exists as a possibility and last resort, the engineer strongly recommends the fully co-ordinated plan with uniform fares, exchanges and interline free transfers to feeder lines. In this matter the system will be most completely integrated, the public given the best service and both city and company derive larger revenues than if independent operations were resorted to.

In the final perspective, the proposed operating agreement gives the car rider a uniform 7-1/2 - 8-cent fare and universal transfers and at the start pays about one-half of the carrying charges, while the taxpayer carries the other half, the company's responsibility for city lines is confined to efficient operation and receives one-half of the interline riding revenue, the city receives what is probably the maximum return under any practical form of lease and saves the public from 1.5 to 2 per cent on the cost of financing. The P.R.T. is permitted to merge into its system a new system of modern high-speed trunk lines, and continue its operations under the 1907 agreement at much less cost than if it had been called upon to build these high-speed lines itself.

A proposed agreement and operating contract is appended to the report and gives in detail the features stated by the engineer as essential in securing the results desired. This was prepared after consultation with the city officials concerned.


1. Recommended: An operating agreement on the contingent return plan; city high-speed lines to be operated by P.R.T. as part of a city-wide transit system with co-ordinated feeders and the same fares, interline transfers and exchanges.

2. City has assumed the full financial burden of providing new rapid transit, hence it should receive the net revenues from city lines to support its investment. Under existing circumstances this will yield maximum city return.

3. Capital, revenues and operating expenses of the city lines to be kept separate and under continuous supervision of an experienced board of control, with appropriate city and company participation. Supervision is essential to the success of the contingent return plan, as a safeguard to the city's interests.

4. Estimated Broad Street subway earnings under this agreement are about $2,500,000 net for 1929, first year of full operation, or about 2.8 per cent on the total cost, $89,000,000, leaving about the same amount to be paid, at the start, out of taxation.

5. Broad Street subway is strategically located on the city's main traffic artery. North Philadelphia already holds over half the city's population and is growing in population and housing more rapidly than any other district. Nearly 700,000 people or two-thirds the population of this district live within the time-saving zone of influence of this subway and its feeder lines.

6. P.R.T. revenue has increased nearly $8,000,000 or 18 per cent in the two years following the last fare raise; and total traffic in 1926 was the highest in the history of the company, also revenue traffic (excepting post-war peak year 1920).

7. Company is relieved of financial responsibility of building and operating city lines and as the city's operator receives compensation commensurate with the magnitude of such operations.

8. The trial term ends in 1936, the city then having right of review and/or termination; likewise every fourth year thereafter. Term of agreement ends 1957.

9. Extensions covered during the trial term relate only to those authorized by referendum, i.e., Broad Street terminals and Walnut-Darby lines; other desired extensions to be included by mutual agreement.

10. Recommended: Frankford elevated lease under existing, practical conditions may well stand as it is, separate from the Broad Street agreement, but if by mutual agreement it can be made fully coterminous therewith, including right of review, this should be done so that some minor features may later be clarified. The non-standard track gage and size of cars and the physical connection with Market Street indicate the reasonableness of this course.


Area within time-saving influence, Philadelphia Broad Street subway and Woodland-Walnut subway-elevated. The time-saving area represents the estimated area in which time will be saved by riding to or from the business district on rapid transit lines (local service) and feeders, as compared with routing on existing railway and bus lines. The estimated population in 1927 is based on the 1920 census revised to 1927 as indicated by the 1927 school census. The population that is shown outside of the city limits is taken from the 1920 census.

Philadelphia Subway Cars Designed for Speed, Safety and Convenience

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 73, No. 8 · February 23, 1929 · pp 319-323.


150 cars of this type were built at the J. G. Brill plant for the Broad Street subway in Philadelphia.

Two 210-hp. motors per car give free running speed of 47 m.p.h. Cars are all-steel construction and weigh 110,000 lb. They will seat 75 and carry 212 passengers. A total of 150 cars built at a cost of $40,000 each.

In the Feb. 9 issue an article was published showing the relation of the Broad Street subway to the existing and future transit facilities of the city, giving operating details and describing the general construction. In future articles the Fern Rock shops and terminal, the distribution equipment and the signal system will be discussed. — Editor.

Planned to combine ample capacity and a maximum of passenger comfort, the 150 passenger cars built for the city of Philadelphia's new Broad Street subway by The J. G. Brill Company embody many unusual features of design. Prior to their construction an extended investigation was made by the Department of City Transit of the local requirements and of car practice and experience on other subway or elevated systems, railroads and street railways. Among the factors given careful consideration were seating capacity and arrangement, speed of unloading and loading, ease of movement between station platforms and seats, safety of passengers and crew, utilization of track capacity, etc. This study led to the decision to use large cars, giving greater flexibility in seating arrangement and lower costs per passenger carried for crew, power and maintenance, because of the smaller number of units.

The car is 67 ft. 6 in. long over the anti-climbers, 10 ft. wide over all and 12 ft. 4 in. high from top of rail to top of roof. The completed car, including all equipment, weighs 110,000 lb. The cost of each was a little less than $40,000.

The general plan of the car is so arranged that it is divided into three sections, giving ample space near the doors for the egress and ingress of passengers. Seventy-five seats are provided in each car, of which 50 are cross seats, arranged with ample knee room, wide aisles and with a 17-in. seat space. The total capacity of the car, on the basis of 2 sq.ft. of free floor space per standee, is 212. Seats are the stationary spring-cushion type, covered with rattan. For the convenience of standees, there are grab handles on the ends of the cross-seats, hand straps suspended from the roof in front of longitudinal seats and stanchions located conveniently in front of the side door openings. Advertising card racks are provided in the lower deck of the roof and at other conspicuous places in the car.

Each car has three large double-leaf doors on each side, spaced equidistantly from each other and from the ends of the car. Operating cabs are placed in diagonally opposite corners and at the back of one cab is located a switch cabinet. Communication between cars is by means of wide end doors, there being no platforms. All doors are constructed of aluminum, except those for the switch cabinets. The end door is provided with a drop sash and the door lock is of the Howard friction type, which prevents the door from slamming when being closed. Pantograph safety gates are attached to each corner of the car, which automatically meet to prevent passengers boarding the trains or falling between cars at stations. Three safety chain,s covered with rubber are provided between cars on each side of end doors.

Door Mechanism Has Single or Multiple Control

The side doors are opened and closed by pneumatic equipment, electrically controlled. The guards operate the doors from the cabs, which are equipped with special windows, grab handles, etc. An arrangement has been developed permitting control of all doors of the train, or separate control on individual cars, depending on the setting of a master switch in each cab. From an operating position in any one of the cabs, the doors on the same side of that car and of other cars in front or in back can be opened and closed by manipulating two tumbler switches. Red lights on the exterior of the car body are lighted if any door on that car is open, and a green signal lamp in the motorman's cab lights only when all doors on the train have been closed. An auxiliary buzzer signal system is installed for use in case the light signal system fails. Another special device enables the motorman, in case of overrunning a station platform, to nullify the door-operating circuits, preventing the guards from opening the doors, or if they haven't already been opened, closing them automatically. Push buttons on the outside of the car enable platform men to close individual doors, and key switches on the center doors enable the operating force to pass in or out easily when done. In case of failure of air or electric supply, certain of the doors can be opened mechanically from the inside, and one of them from the roadbed.

An emergency bell placed in each cab can be energized from a push button located on the inside of the car at the center door. These buttons are in cases with glass covers, which can be broken by the passengers, using a small hammer hung near the cases. The current necessary for operating the various relays, magnet valves, etc., is supplied by the same 32-volt storage battery that supplies emergency lights, tail lights, and other control circuits. All circuits, except those to the main motors, are fused and controlled at two switchboard panels built into the cab walls.

Cars Well Ventilated and Heated

Ventilation is provided for by adjustable shutters in the monitor roof, drop sash in the upper half of the windows, panels in the end doors and five 38-in. electric ceiling fans. All sash is of extruded aluminum. The upper sash of the side window is arranged to drop. The windows are glazed with double thick American AA glass and the doors with 9/16-in. crystal plate glass.

Twenty-four electric heaters are located under the car seats. They are thermostatically controlled. A new feature incorporated in the control of the heaters is a relay which opens the heater circuit while the train is accelerating, thereby reducing the peak loads and resulting in substantial economy, because the rates charged for energy depend upon the maximum demand.

The regular lighting system consists of 22 series lights of 45 watts each, arranged in three rows along the center and each side of the car. These lights are mounted in compensating fixtures arranged so that when one lamp burns out the others continue to burn. Low-voltage emergency lighting units are placed over each of the doors. Ample illumination, a white ceiling, and relatively light-colored side walls contribute to a cheerful looking interior.

High speed electric railway practice was followed closely in the design and construction of the cars. Steel structural shapes are used for side and center sills, pressings and castings for the other members of the frame. The side and center sills of channel shapes extend in one piece from buffer sill to buffer sill. The car flooring is fastened to special pressed steel Z shapes secured to the side and center sills. The flooring is of Chan-arch and the wearing surface of 3/8-in. Tucolith.

The body bolsters are built up of two pressed steel pans placed back to back and reinforced on the top and bottom with cover plates. Between the center sills are steel castings. The cross bearers are built up of steel pans with top and bottom cover plates. The frame is stiffened with end cross plates and diagonal braces of pressed steel. Hedley anti-climbers are secured to the buffer sills.

The side frames were designed as girders to carry the entire load of the body and passengers, with the cross bearers delivering loads to the side frame. The side frame, in turn, delivers the load to the bolsters and thence to the trucks at the center plates. The side frame is of pressed steel construction; the top plate is formed of a special type of U pressing, extending in one piece from end to end of car. The intermediate posts are of a special flange U pressing. The side girder plate is 1/8 in. thick and above the windows is a 1/8-in. steel letter board. Special attention was given to the design of the posts at the end side doors because of the heavy stresses concentrated at these points. The roof is the monitor type carried on continuous flanged U shaped steel carlines, which extend from side plate to side plate. All steel throughout the car is copper bearing, conforming to A.S.T.M. specifications.

The couplers are the Van Dorn car, air and electric type, designed especially for subway service. They are of the tight lock type, so arranged that when coupled all connections are made up automatically. Uncoupling can be done from the ground or from the cab of either car. A feature incorporated in the coupler cutout switch is the interlocking of the motorman's door signal light, tail lights, marker lights and train number sign light. The Waugh draft gear is used which has a capacity of about 90,000 lb. when compressed 1-1/2 in.

Trucks Are Equalizing Type

The cars are mounted on a motor and trailer truck with 5^x10 in. journals. The trucks are the M.C.B. four-wheel equalizing type equipped with the Simplex clasp brakes, Commonwealth Steel Company's cast-steel one-piece frame, Symington journal boxes, Stucki side bearings, oil bearing brass lined center plates, cast-steel bolster, Ellcon height adjusters, Sauvage shim slack adjusters on the motor truck, Rolman rolled manganese steel wear plates, rolled steel wheels, A.S.T.M. quenched and tempered axles, and A.E.R.A. type solid bronze bearings.

On six of the cars, twelve trucks, Hyatt roller bearings are used instead of the 5-1/2xlO-in. friction bearings. Cast integral in the Commonwealth Steel Company's truck frame are the side sills, transoms, end sills, spring caps and pedestals. Mounted on the outside equalizing bars are the third rail shoe beams on which are assembled the Champion collector shoes. These shoes are held under a spring tension of 20 lb. against the third rail.

The motor truck is equipped with two Westinghouse 210-hp., 600-volt, direct-current, commutating-pole, field-control, axle-hung railway motors, driving through helical gears and pinions. A distinctive feature of the motor is the dual system of ventilation. One current of air enters the armature bearing housing at the commutator end, passes under the commutator, through the armature core longitudinally, and out through the fan at the back end of the motor. The other air current enters through openings in the frame back of the commutator, which is baffled from this air, passes through the air gap and between the field coils, continuing through the double-bladed fan and out at the back end. Thus none of the air passes over the commutators, and troubles due to dirt and brakeshoe dust are avoided. Also the wear on the brushes is decreased.

Both the motors and the control equipment have been designed especially to give rapid acceleration and high schedule speeds under the conditions of subway service. The motors are geared to propel empty cars at a speed of approximately 47 m.p.h. on level tangent track, and to maintain a speed of 24 m.p.h. with a fully loaded train on the 3 per cent grade between the Logan and Olney Avenue stations. Multiple-unit control, of the unit-switch electro-pneumatic type, has been provided, with a unit master controller in every cab.

Features of Air Brake Design

Electro-pneumatic air brakes of the Westinghouse Traction Brake Company's AMUE type give the trains, of eight cars and less, smooth retardation. They are designed for quick recharge after emergency; charging during electric holding; graduated release; electric and pneumatic service, emergency and release positions which are the same on the brake valve and which permit emergency braking during or immediately after a service application. The service brake cylinder pressure is 50 lb. per square inch. The emergency cylinder pressure is 70 lb. per square inch, obtained from the train pipe of 85 to 100 lb. per square inch pressure through a limiting valve set at 70 lb. Each car is provided with an air compressor of 35 cu.ft. capacity, arranged so that all governors on a train are electrically connected and any governor can cut in all of the air compressors. On each truck is provided an automatic train stop which, when passing over a track trip which is in a raised position when signals are at "danger," causes an emergency application of the air brakes.

The hand brakes are connected as an integral part of the foundation brake rigging at the cylinder levers. The brake handle is the Adams & Westlake ratchet type. At the lower end of the brake staff there is located a train of gears of the Peacock type to multiply the power delivered from the brake handle to the foundation brake rigging.

Before opening the Broad Street subway to the public, it was necessary to make thorough tests of every part of the equipment and to undertake preliminary operation to have all parts functioning properly. The first step was getting the substations into service, and adjusting the equipment so that the various supplies of power could be maintained. Getting the different stations correlated and adjusted required many trials. Furthermore, as the capacity and arrangement of this equipment was unusual, considerable time was required to train the men. After power was supplied to the third rail, trains were operated on slow schedules to test the equipment, check clearances and obtain data to insure that all the apparatus would function properly. It was necessary also to test the electro-pneumatic interlocking control of track switches in service, together with the automatic signals and train stops. The scope of operation gradually was extended until six-car trains were being run from City Hall to Fern Rock yard, making the normal stops at the calculated schedule speed.

Each car was operated under all conditions and over all track for an average of about 600 miles. As there are 150 cars, this preliminary testing and training of personnel required a long period of time. The Fern Rock shops were opened during the tests so the cars could be inspected, overhauled and maintained as required.

Cars That Increase Subway Capacity

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 73, No. 8 · February 23, 1929 · p 310.

Besides many features embodied in recent rapid transit rolling stock, a number of distinctly novel developments are found in the design of the cars for the new Philadelphia subway. When the Broad Street subway was designed the width was made great enough so that cars with a width slightly greater than 10 ft. would have clearance. While car capacities ordinarily are figured in terms of length, the gain in going from the ordinary width of approximately 8 ft. 6 in. to 10 ft. is approximately 20 per cent in available inside floor area. In other words, the four-track subway that is being constructed will have a capacity almost as great as a five-track subway with ordinary cars. To obtain such an addition to capacity involved only a minor increase in cost of the subway, principally for excavation and concrete work.

In their dimensions the cars follow closely those of the New York Rapid Transit Corporation, the Boston Elevated Railway and the New York, Westchester & Boston. The features that have been tried and proved out on these cars have been incorporated in the Philadelphia design, and a number of refinements have been added, as told in an article published elsewhere in this issue. In particular, attention has been paid to the location of the doors and the seats, so that the arrangement of the several sections is similar and the distances to the doors are alike. This will make for rapid loading and unloading. The seating plan gives a large open space adjacent to each door, thus preventing crowding. While there are transverse seats they are so arranged as to produce a minimum interference with movements of standing passengers.

Among the innovations is a control station for the conductor or guard in each motorman's compartment. The man in charge of the doors thus does not have to be exposed between two cars, or in the doorway where he is in the direct line of passenger movement, as in some other designs. This arrangement also makes it possible to simplify the door control circuits and provide an auxiliary door control in the hands of the motorman, so that he can hold the doors closed if the train has overrun the station platform.

It is interesting that the single car of 67 ft. 6 in. length was adopted instead of the articulated unit such as used on some of the Brooklyn lines. At present the loading in Philadelphia is comparatively light, and the single units give more flexibility in train make-up. Since the weight, the passenger capacity, and the motor rating are approximately half those of the articulated unit there is comparatively little to choose from the standpoint of system capacity or operating cost.

The acceleration of the trains, 1.9 m.p.h.p.s., is the highest as yet used in rapid transit service. This not only makes higher schedule speeds possible but also makes for greater track capacity, particularly where stops are close together, as in local service.

Weights, Dimensions and Equipment Details of the 150 Broad Street Subway Cars, Built By Brill

  • Weight, Car body; 54,000 lb.
  • Weight, Trucks; 34,210 lb.
  • Weight, Equipment; 21,790 lb.
  • Weight, Total; 110,000 lb.
  • Length over all; 67 ft. 6 in.
  • Width over all; 10 ft. In.
  • Height, rail to top of roof; 12 ft. 4 in.
  • Bolster centers; 47 ft. 6 In.
  • Motor truck wheelbase; 7 ft. 5 in.
  • Trailer truck wheelbase; 7 ft. in.
  • Air brakes; Westinghouse AMUE
  • Anti-climbers; Hedley
  • Armature bearings; Plain
  • Body; Steel
  • Brake shoes; Diamond S
  • Compressors; Westinghouse D3-F
  • Conduit; Rigid metal
  • Control; Westinghouse ABF
  • Couplers; Van Dorn, car, air and electric
  • Curtain material, motorman's curtains; Pantasote
  • Destination signs; Hunter
  • Door hangers; Diamond ball bearing
  • Door mechanism; National Pneumatic Co.
  • Doors; Sliding, side and end
  • Draft gear; Waugh
  • Dust guards; Symington
  • Energy-saving device; Thermostat
  • Fans; Westinghouse, ceiling
  • Finish; Steel painted
  • Floor covering; Tuco Products Corp.
  • Glass; Double thick American AA
  • Hand brake, geared; Peacock
  • Hand brake handle; Adams & Westlake
  • Hand straps; Rico Steel-Kar
  • Heaters; Consolidated Car Heating Co.
  • Headlights; Crouse-Hinds WDN
  • Headlining; Agasote
  • Height adjuster; Ellcon
  • Interior trim; Brass, nickel plated
  • Journal bearings; 5-1/2xl0 A.E.R.A.
  • Journal boxes; Symington
  • Lamp fixtures; Adams & Westlake
  • Motors; Westinghouse 581-A-l, 210-hp., inside hung
  • Roof type; Monitor
  • Roof material; Sheet steel
  • Safety car device; Dead man's control
  • Sash; Aluminum, O. M. Edwards
  • Seats; Brill, longitudinal and cross
  • Seat capacity; 75
  • Seating material; Rattan
  • Side bearings; Stucki
  • Slack adjusters; American Brake Co. and Sauvage
  • Steel flooring; Chan-arch
  • Storage battery; Edison
  • Third rail collectors; Champion
  • Ventilators; Hinged shutter type
  • Wheels; 36-in., rolled steel

Electrical Equipment for Broad Street Subway Cars Has Interesting Features

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 71, No. 23 · June 9, 1928 · pp 942-944.

Cars for Philadelphia's new rapid transit system will be powered with 420 hp. each. The control makes it possible to accelerate any number of cars in a train automatically and provides for high-speed schedules.

Motive power of the 150 all-steel cars for the new Broad Street subway to be operated by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company will consist of two Westinghouse No. 581-A-l motors for each car. These motors will have a one-hour rating of 210 hp. at 600 volts, and as there will be two of them mounted on one of the two trucks of each car, the total power will be 420 hp. Both motors will be axle-mounted with nose suspension. The armature coils are in one piece, with "double-deck" construction. This minimizes the joints and gives mechanical strength and low losses. The dual ventilation system used affords protection to the brushes and commutator from brake dust, and makes possible a high motor rating for the weight. Heat treated helical gears of forged steel are pressed on the axle. The gears have 63 teeth and the motor pinions 20 teeth. The complete weight of the motor with gears and gear case, is 5,710 lb.

Westinghouse type ABF multiple-unit automatic control is arranged for series-parallel connections of the motors, with automatic acceleration and provision for tapped field on the last running notch in parallel. Current to actuate the control apparatus is taken from a 32-volt type B-2-H Edison storage battery. Trains will consist normally of from one to eight cars, and can be run from any one of the master controllers.

Twelve electro-pneumatic switches establish the motor circuit connections, transfer the motors from series to parallel and commutate the motor circuit resistance. The control circuit gives six steps with the motors in series and four steps in parallel. The tapped field connection is effective only on the last parallel step. Transition from series to parallel is by the bridging method.

Automatic acceleration is accomplished by a current limit relay actuated by the current through one of the motors. It is adjusted for an average acceleration of 1.9 m.p.h.p.s. with an unloaded car. A supplementary relay will advance the control notch by notch under emergency conditions with excessive loads. The air for actuating the control devices is taken from the brake system through a reducing valve adjusted to maintain a relatively constant pressure of 70 lb. per square inch.

An important feature of the control equipment is the use of integral, interchangeable switches. Each switch is a complete unit, including contacts, blowout coil, arc chute, magnet valve and operating cylinder. Two units mounted in a separate frame act as a line switch. The other ten are included in the control box. The units in the line switch and control box differ only in the size of the magnet valve exhaust port and in the length of the arc chute. Any switch may be removed as a unit from either the control box or the line switch by breaking the air and electric connections and removing three mounting bolts.

The control box is an assembly of ten of the unit switches, a sequence drum and an advance relay in structural steel box. A skeleton frame on which the apparatus is mounted, is built up of angles between two end plates. Two side covers are latched in place and are easily removable, while the bottom cover has a fixed hinge and is bolted in place. The only parts requiring attention from the front are the arcing contacts of the switches and the advance relay. By opening the rear cover the air connections, interlocks, valve magnets and switch shunts are exposed for inspection. The main wiring connections are made at the rear of the group at the cable terminals located on a vertical panel on the back of each switch. All main circuit leads are brought out through treated maple bushings and extend 12 in, beyond the limits of the box. The extended leads permit the stmi-conduit type of car wiring which allows the box to be disconnected from the car cables.

The sequence drum is essentially an auxiliary, remote-controlled master controller. A set of contact fingers mounted on a ba,se make contact with copper plates on a drum, which is rotated through a rack and bevel gears by a balanced pressure air engine. This drum is directly imder control of the current limit relay, and it stops and starts on each notch in direct response to the lifting and dropping of this relay at a pre-determined value of motor current.

When abnormal loads or grades would prevent normal automatic acceleration, pressure on the advance button in the motorman's cab causes the advance relay to short-circuit the contacts of the limit relay and the sequence drum will move to the next notch. As it moves, an additional coil of the advance relay is energized, opening tin. short-circuit across the limit relay contacts and again leaving the progression of the sequence drum under the control of the current limit relay. This action can only be repeated by first releasing the advance button located in the cab.

Two unit switches, practically duplicates of these in the control box, two overload relays, a line switch interlocking relay and the necessary resistor tubes and a fuse all assembled in a box of similar construction to the control box, constitute the line switch. Both of these units are connected in series, with the first series resistance for the switching position connected across one switch. The latter, therefore, also acts as a resistance switch to short-circuit this resistance on the second and succeeding notches. This series connection of the line switches is of particular importance with a short-circuit, the introduction of resistance reducing the maximum current taken from the line and also lessening the severity of the arc rupturing duty.

The operating coils of the line switches are energized directly from the third rail circuit so that the main motor circuit is opened immediately upon loss of power for any reason. This direct control of the line switch operating coils from the line without the intervening time element of a line relay, and the use of magnet valves with unusually large exhaust ports makes it particularly effective in protecting the main motors against flashing when crossing gaps in the third rail. The line switch is so interlocked that if it is opened for any cause, the control returns to the first position before power can igain be applied, and advances automatically after line voltage is restored to the position indicated by the master controller. Since the line switches are quick opening, the arcing duty is removed largely from the switches in the control box, either while the equipment is operating normally or with overload.

Two overload relays are used, one in each motor circuit. Each relay may be set to trip at a value slightly above the peak current drawn by one motor in regular service. Both relays have a common reset coil, which further is interlocked so that in a train only the reset coil of that relay, or relays, which is in the tripped position is energized when the reset button is pushed in the motorman's cab. This minimizes the current in the reset wire, insuring adequate voltage for operating the reset coil, even in the rear car of a long train.

The interlocking relay in the line switch is used only for interlocking the reverser, which is controlled from the battery circuits, with the line switch, which is controlled from the trolley circuit, so that the line switch cannot close until the reverser is fully thrown. The reverser, which is of the drum type, is completely isolated from the other main current-carrying parts.

The master controller has a main or accelerating drum, a reverse drum and an emergency drum. On the main drum are four positions, namely, off, switching, series and parallel. In the switching position, a circuit is established from the power supply through the two motors of the car and all of the accelerating resistance in series, to ground.

In the series position control circuits are progressively established until the motors are connected directly in series. In the parallel position the control is advanced to connect the motors in full parallel. The main handle performs two functions; first, that of accelerating or shutting off power; and second, that of stopping the train in emergency by applying the air brakes, both by energizing the emergency brake valve in the electro-pneumatic brake system through contacts on the emergency drum and by operation of a pilot valve which in turn actuates an application valve connected directly in the emergency brake pipe line. The first function is performed by rotation of the handle, the second by vertical spring action which is initiated if the operator's hand is removed with the controller in an operative position. This "dead-man's" feature can only be cut out when both the main and reverse drums are in the "off" position. A separate reverse drum controls the direction of motion of the train and also operates several auxiliary circuits as required.

A push-button box adjacent to the master controller provides a means for energizing the main control circuit and the overload reset and advance relays when required. At the front of each car arranged conveniently for the motorman, are two control panel boards. On the low-voltage panel are the battery charging relays, main motor control cutout switch, door control and signal lamp relays and the disconnecting switches for the various low voltage auxiliary circuits. On the high-voltage panel are the disconnecting switches for the high-voltage auxiliary circuits, including car and cab heaters, door-engine heaters, lamps, fans and air compressor, and also the emergency lamp relay, main motor limit relay and heater circuit relays.

Relays on the upper part of the low-voltage panel provide for keeping the storage battery fully charged. Current for charging the battery is taken both from the compressor circuit and direct from the line. When the compressor is running, a contactor closes, shunting a part of the current through the battery. To supplement the charge from this source a pilot relay, connected across the battery and adjusted to the required range, controls a second contactor which closes or opens the circuit from the line through a current-limiting resistor and the battery in series. Line relay protection prevents draining the battery if the line voltage fails.

Door control, heater, fan, lighting and other auxiliary details in general, follow established practice. A feature of the heater control is the use of a peak load relay which automatically cuts off the heaters at current peaks during acceleration to decrease the total drain on the system. Five Westinghouse fans are provided as a part of the equipment for each car.

Normal lighting of the car is provided by 22 lamps connected in series. Both the sockets and the lamps are short-circuiting, so that if a lamp is removed, or burns out, the circuit is not opened. In series with the lamp circuit is the operating coil of an emergency lamp relay located on the upper portion of one of the panels, which closes the circuit to emergency lamps operated from the storage battery in case of failure of the main lighting circuit or of loss of contact rail voltage.


Floor plan and side elevation, showing the principal dimensions and the arrangement of seats and doors. Each car seats 75 passengers, 50 of that number on crossseats.


The car front is equipped with marker lights, a panel for the route number, a headlight and two automatic safety gates.


Ample illumination, a white ceiling and relatively light-colored side walls give the interior a cheerful appearance.


[Top] A motor truck and a trailer truck, spaced on 47 ft. 6 in. centers, support each car. [Bottom] Trucks are of the M.C.B. equalizing type with one-piece cast steel frames.


Underside of the car showing air reservoirs, compressor and, in the extreme back, the grid resistors and control equipment boxes.


Each motor truck is equipped with two 210-hp.. 600-volt, commutating pole, field control, dual ventilated, direct-current motors.


Automatic couplers are part of the equipment.


Front view of line switch showing arc chutes, adjustable resistance in operating coil circuit and interlocking relay.


Control box with cover removed.


At left, low-voltage auxiliary panel. In center, unit switch with sides removed. At right, master controller with cover removed.

Electrical Equipment Specially Designed for Philadelphia Subway

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 73, No. 10 · March 9, 1929 · pp 394-401.


Signal location at Olney Avenue, showing the conduit run and the relative location of signals. Note the double case at the right and the method of running air line across track.

Two 3,000-kw., 60-cycle rotary converters have been installed in each of three soundproof substations. Distribution system utilizes a total of 75 miles of cable. Signals are electric color-light type and all switches are interlocked and electro-pneumatically operated.

In the Feb. 9 issue an article was published telling the relation of the Broad Street subway to the existing and the future transit facilities of the city, and giving operating and construction details. This was followed by an article in the Feb. 23 issue describing the 150 cars bought by the city. The last article of this series, giving details of the Fern Rock terminal and shops, will appear March 23. EDITOR.

Numerous noteworthy features have been included in the design of the power distribution system for the new Broad Street subway, constructed under the supervision of the Department of City Transit of Philadelphia and being operated by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. Among these are the construction of the substations without windows; the scheme of natural ventilation for the removal of the air heated by the electrical equipment; the largest 60-cycle railway converters ever built; the remote manual control and interlocking of electric switches; the separation of high-voltage circuits and switching from the low-voltage direct-current circuits; location of all 600-volt circuits below the main floor; the bringing of underground cables directly to the switching equipment to which they connect; and the use of large oil cooled transformers within the buildings.

The signal system, too, has many interesting features. The salient ones are: Alternating current at 60 cycles for signals and interlockings, supplied by a system of duplicate feeders; the double-rail track circuits, except at interlockings and in the yard; overlap signal control; automatic three-position, color-light signals; electro-pneumatic automatic train stops; semi-automatic electrically-controlled block and interlocking signals; non-automatic electrically controlled dwarf and permissive signals; speed and time control signals; electro-pneumatic switch operating mechanism; impedance bonds and track connections; interlocking machines; and electro-pneumatic direct acting yard switches, operated from a control panel in a tower.

In the determination of substation capacities and locations, the ultimate power demand of the trains was used as a basis. Rush-hour operation was assumed to consist of eight-car trains running on two-minute headway on all four tracks, with northbouud trains carrying an average load of 150 passengers per car (72,000 per hour) and southbound trains loaded to an average of 35 passengers per car. As northbound trains run against the average grade, the evening rush hours were used in determining the maximum substation loads.

With the above train operation, including coasting, which provided a 5 per cent speed margin, a schedule was developed assuming a loaded car weighing 68 tons accelerating at an average rate of 1.6 m.p.h.p.s. and braking at an average of 2.0 m.p.h.p.s., and train curves were drawn for an average run using characteristic curves of standard motors of various sizes. The results of these calculations fixed the motor requirements at approximately 400 hp. per car, and because of the obvious advantages of large motors it was decided to use two motors only on each car. Having determined the proper motor size, continuous train curves for northbound and southbound local and express trains were then drawn, assuming an average potential of 575 volts at the cars. Studies of various numbers and locations of substations were made from the power requirements as shown by these curves.

Past experience with a four-track subway rapid transit line, similar to the Broad Street subway, indicated that the feeder capacities and voltage drops during peak loads are within satisfactory limits when substations are spaced about two miles apart. The results of the power requirement studies for the Broad Street subway agreed with this experience. Considering the first section of the Broad Street subway with a branch on Ridge Avenue, it appeared logical to locate a substation near this junction and the Mount Vernon Street site was chosen. This substation carries the load of two-track initial operation from City Hall, a distance of approximately 4,400 ft., south, to the first sectionalizing joint, about a mile north of the substation. By the time traffic requires four-track operation through City Hall, the subway will be extended to South Street and another substation will be located in that vicinity.

The next substation to the north is located on Cumberland Street, approximately 10,000 ft. from Mount Vernon Street, or approximately 10,600 ft. between substations. The most northerly substation is on Louden Street, approximately 13,000 ft. from Cumberland, or approximately 13,600 ft. between substations. This station feeds the north section of the subway and also supplies the Fern Rock yard. The method used in calculating the loads on the substations made it possible to determine not only the load on each substation during the maximum hour, but also the peak loads on each track during any five-second period, either assuming all trains to be exactly on schedule or assuming certain trains to be late. Various "off schedule" combinations were tried, but it was decided to assume all trains exactly on schedule, and also that the peaks occurred simultaneously on all tracks, the improbability of the occurrence of the latter condition giving sufficient margin over the calculated load to care for the possible higher peaks within the five-second period. The substation loads, as calculated by the above method, were as follows:

 Maximum Hourly Load, Kw.Momentary Peak Load, Kw.
Mount Vernon9,70021,600

Since the momentary peak loads are more than twice the maximum hour loads, and since the two-hour rating of synchronous converters is generally 150 per cent of the continuous rating, it is evident that the requirements called for converters having at least a five-second rating of 300 per cent of their continuous capacity. The converters installed have a continuous rating of 3,000 kw. with 150 per cent capacity for two hours, and 300 per cent for three minutes. The number of converters to be installed in each substation for the ultimate capacity of the subway will be four. This includes one spare in each station. For the initial two-track operation two converters have been installed in each substation. These will easily take care of the estimated loads for the year 1930, when the schedule has been assumed as six-car trains operating on a two-minute headway.


Power for the operation of the Broad Street subway is purchased from the Philadelphia Electric Company at 13,200 volts, three phase, 60 cycles. To minimize the danger of a complete shutdown of the subway due to loss of power, each substation is supplied directly from a different generating station and, since any two substations are sufficient to enable trains to continue in operation at reduced speed, the chances of a complete shutdown from this cause are extremely remote.

The Louden substation is fed from the Richmond generating station; the Cumberland substation from the Hunting Park substation of the Philadelphia Electric Company, which is now supplied from Conowingo; and the Mount Vernon substation from the Delaware generating station. The power cables, both incoming and outgoing, are all in underground conduit, and the alternating current is, in every instance, carried over duplicate three-phase cables, either one of which is capable of carrying the normal two-track load.

On account of the location of the substations in residential districts, their architecture was given special attention. Noise is minimized by making the buildings entirely closed, except for the cold air louvers, and providing air spaces in the walls.

In the arrangement of the equipment in the substations, safety and ease of operation were sought, and, consequently, all power circuits were located below the level of the main floor. Each incoming alternating-current feeder is carried directly to disconnecting switches, then through an oil circuit breaker to other disconnecting switches, and then to the 13,200-volt alternating-current bus. Each converter transformer is fed from this bus through disconnecting switches, a main oil circuit breaker and star-delta starting switches. Copper bars from the transformer secondaries lead directly to the alternating-current ends of the synchronous converters. At the direct-current end of the converters, the negative is tied solid to the negative bus. The positive and equalizer connections are carried through circuit breakers or contactors on the converter switchboard, which is in the basement below, thence to their respective buses located adjacent to this switchboard. From the positive bus the contact rail feeder circuits are carried through high speed circuit breakers, then through disconnecting switch panels to the feeder cables which leave the building on the side opposite to the incoming alternating-current cables. All control and switching equipment was supplied by the General Electric Company, with the exception of the main direct-current circuit breakers, which were built by the I. T. E. Circuit Breaker Company.

The converters, built by the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Company, are compound-wound, 60-cycle, inter-pole machines and are the largest of this type ever built. These converters are started by star-delta switching of the high-tension windings of the transformers. All switching and starting operations are so interlocked as to make improper sequence impossible. In addition to their size, they have another unusual feature in the armature windings. These windings are of the so-called "frog-leg" type, which consists of a combination of lap and wave windings, thus eliminating the necessity for cross connections. The transformers supplying the converters are rated at 3,150 kva. at 13,800 volts and are three-phase, 60-cycle oil-cooled, the latter feature being a departure from the usual practice of using air-cooled transformers in sirnilar installations. They were furnished by Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing Co.

Another unusual feature is the remote control of all switches in the power circuits. The operators do not handle any switches carrying train power current, as these switches are all located in the basement and controlled from the switchboard on the main floor.


Power is carried from the three substations to the subway in underground conduits. For initial two-track operation there are eight 2,000,000-circ.mil cables on the positive side and six 2.000,000-circ.mil cables on the negative side of the circuit from each substation. For the ultimate four-track operation the number of these cables will be doubled. When the subway structure was built, provision was made for these duplicate underground conduit lines with manholes communicating with the inside of the subway. Each section of this duplicate system is entirely isolated from the other, and for important services like lighting and signals, duplicate feeder cables have been installed. Paper-insulated, lead sheath protected cables, thoroughly fireproofed in the manholes, are used for all of the underground circuits. In the 6-1/2 miles of subway, there are thirteen kinds of cable with an aggregate length of approximately 75 miles.

Switching rooms are provided in Broad Street at the streets on which the substations are located, and the positive cables from the substations are tied in with the contact rail through remote controlled circuit breakers located in these rooms in the subway retaining walls.

From the switching rooms two 2,000,000-circ.mil cables are run to each contact rail section. The contact rail is of the over-running type, in 39-ft. lengths, weighs 150 lb. per yard, is of special section and is made of soft steel composition having high conductivity, the ratio of steel to copper being 7 to 1. No cable feeders parallel to rails are used in either positive or negative circuits. The rail is carried on Ohio Brass white porcelain insulators mounted on long ties located at 9-ft. 9-1/2-in. intervals and anchored in approximately 1,000 ft. sections, with expansion joints separating the sections. White glaze was adopted as an aid in checking foreign deposits on the insulators, which are a common cause of leaks. It was thought that this glaze would encourage maintainers to keep the insulators clean. The bonding of the contact rail is accomplished by bolting on two O-B solid copper fish-plates at each joint and by welding adjoining rail heads. The copper fish-plates are then soldered to the webs of the adjoining rails.

The return circuit in the subway is through 62-ft., 100-lb. running rails. Each joint is bonded with two Ohio Brass 250,000-circ.mil. gas-welded bonds, 13-1/2 in. long. Due to the short lengths of the running and contact rail bonds and the high electrical efficiency of the welded and soldered connections to the rails, the conductivity of the entire circuit approximates that of continuous rail, thereby reducing to a minimum the voltage drop. The tracks are cross-bonded at each passenger station, and at the yard portals. In normal operation all sectionalizing and equalizing switches will be kept closed, thus tying the three substations solidly together through the contact rails. Sectionalizing switches are located at substation feed-ins, while equalizing switching points are midway between substations, at the portal and at City Hall. The breakers located at feed-in points are automatic opening, remote control closing, 3,000-amp. rating. Thus they will open on an overload or short circuit, but cannot be closed except by a substation operator.


Electrical energy for the operation of the signal system is supplied from the Mount Vernon and Louden substations. The supply from the Louden Street substation may be considered an emergency source of energy. Normally the energy is taken from one set of feeders, but duplicate distribution cables are installed on either side of the subway structure and may be sectionalized at each substation. Sectionalizing switches are provided at each 4,600/110 volt distribution transformer location along the line and 110-volt automatic selector switches are installed so that, in event of failure of a feeder or local transformer, the signal load for that section will be automatically thrown over to the duplicate service and automatically restored to the original source when that line is again energized. The signal power requirements for the ultimate four-track installation total about 65 kva.

Studies were made of roadway, signal equipment and train-operating characteristics, so that signals might be located to provide maximum train capacity of tracks. These elements included profile and alignment of roadway, location of stations and interlocking plants, acceleration and braking rates, speed-time and time-distance curves, and the normal and maximum attainable speeds for each run for the equipment to be operated, as well as the visibility of the signals and the simplicity of the scheme of aspects displayed by them. The signal locations or block spacings are laid out for eight-car trains operating on a two-minute headway, although the majority of spacings allow for somewhat less than 1-1/2-minute headway, thus providing for a normal single-track capacity of approximately 23 eight-car trains on the line, operating at a round trip scheduled speed of 16-1/2 m.p.h. In every instance the length of a block is 150 per cent of the emergency braking distance required by the train, at the maximum speed which can be obtained at that point.


The automatic signals are from the Union Switch & Signal Company, and are the three-indication, color-light type, equipped with 5-3/8-in. lenses of green yellow and red. and 14-volt, 5-watt lamps in duplicate. Home signals at interlocking plants are of the two and three-indication subway style, color-light type, with the same lens and lamp equipment, and displaying two or three lights in a vertical row to indicate which route is set up, and whether or not the track ahead is occupied. In all cases the caution control of a signal is carried in the two blocks in advance, so as to obtain "overlap control," providing for two red signals protecting the rear of a train at all times. A double-arm, interlocking signal, with a yellow permissive signal is used in locations where operation is in both directions.

Speed control signals have been placed on the southbound track south of Olney Avenue, where a long 3 per cent down grade is encountered, on the southbound track leading off the upper deck at Erie Avenue to take care of a 3-1/2 per cent grade, and at several other locations where curves make automatic speed control desirable.

Automatic and semi-automatic train stops have been installed to operate in connection with every automatic block signal and with interlocking home signals. The stops are of the trip type and are located on the left side of the track approximately opposite the signal with which it operates. A trip arm extends 2-1/2 in. above the top of the running rail when in the engaging position, which is when the signal is displaying its most restrictive aspect. When in this position the trip arm will engage a trip cock located on the main air line on the cars, thus causing an emergency application of the brakes of the train which passes the stop. A push-button switch within reach of the motorman's cab is provided at each automatic stop, which is used to clear the trip arm when it is necessary for a train to pass a stop signal.

The automatic stop is of the electro-pneumatic type, controlled by an electrically-operated valve. Its operation is positive and in event of failure of electric or pneumatic power the trip arm assumes the engaging position, thus making the signal system safe.

All track circuits are a full block long except where cut sections are required and within interlocking plant limits. Alternating current is supplied at one end of each track circuit, the limits of which are established by insulated joints in the rails, by a 14-volt air-cooled transformer equipped with taps to permit fine voltage adjustment. The track relay is of the two-element, two-position vane type. Track connections are made through parkway type cables buried in the concrete with leads connected to the rail lugs of impedance bonds or the rail.

On double-rail track circuit sections of the system, impedance bonds with an iron core are provided to carry the propulsion current around the insulated rail joints. These bonds have a continuous carrying capacity per rail of 750 amp., 2,000 amp. for ten minutes, or 5,000 amp. for one minute. To avoid the use of a large number of impedance bonds on short track circuits at the large interlocking plants and in the terminal yard, only one rail is used for the propulsion current and the other is bonded and insulated for the signal track circuit.

Signal control apparatus is housed in cast-iron boxes of 2, 4, 6, or 12-relay capacity located in the vicinity of the signal, controlled and connected to it by conductor cable in galvanized conduit. Signal control cables are run in a three-way duct bench on both sides of the subway.

The switch operating mechanisms are the Union Switch & Signal Company electro-pneumatic type with electrically-operated cut-off valves. Their operation is positive and a movement from normal to reverse can be made in 1-1/2 seconds with air pressure as low as 75 per cent of normal. A means of operating them by hand is provided for emergency.

Compressor plants are located at Fairmount Avenue. Erie Avenue, Olney Avenue, and the terminal yard portal, each having a capacity of 75 cu.ft. of air per minute, excepting the one at the yard, which has a capacity of 100 cu.ft. per minute. All of these compressors are in duplicate and are driven by direct-current series-wound motors designed to operate from the 630-volt contact rail circuit. Each plant is equipped with condensers, main reservoir, and switch panel containing a watt-hour meter, ammeter, volmeter, air-pressure gage and various switches.

A 2-in. galvanized extra heavy wrought iron pipe is used for the main air line in the subway and yard. Suitable bends for expansion, auxiliary reservoirs for drainage, 1/4-in. taps for switches at interlockings, etc., 1/2-in. taps for automatic train stops, and service taps for track repairs are included.


The interlocking plants are located at six points on the system: at the City Hall, Spring Garden, Girard, Erie and Olney stations, and at the yard portal. The plants are pneumatically operated and electrically controlled. The power interlocking machines, built by the Union Switch & Signal Company, range in size from 7 to 75 levers. All of the machines, with the exception of that at City Hall which is temporary, have been provided with sufficient spare space for ultimate four-track operation. The levers are equipped with circuit controllers, indication magnets, electric locks, mechanical locking, and lever lights. The interlocking machine is inclosed in a metal case having separate removable panels for each section.

The position of trains is indicated to the tower man on a track model board, located above the machine, by means of spot lights marking the sections of track within the plant limits and adjacent thereto. A steel relay cabinet with glass-paneled doors is provided in each interlocking station for the purpose of housing such relays, transformers, etc., as may be required for each interlocking plant.

Mechanical locking is used in the interlocking machines, the levers operating in a predetermined order so as to prevent the setting up of conflicting routes or the clearing of opposing signals, and the switches are locked electrically by the presence of a train upon a given track circuit. The electro-pneumatic interlocking is so arranged that with normal operation it is not possible for the operator to set up routes and signals which will permit trains to come together.

In the terminal yard the track switches are electro-pneumatically operated and controlled from a tower in the yard entrance building. The switch mechanisms are not interlocked and depend upon air pressure to keep them in position. They are positive in operation and very rapid in movement, only one second being required for a movement from normal to reverse, or vice-versa. The control panel is equipped with spotlight indicators above each lever. Electrically lighted switch signals are provided to indicate the position of the switch and are controlled by a circuit controller which operates with the switch points. The wiring for the various controls is carried throughout the yard in treated trunking, supported every 7 ft. on concrete piers which also carry the 2-in. main air line.

Loud speaking stationary post telephones are located at each switch in the yard so that direct communication can be obtained between the motorman and the tower operator for the rapid movement and dispatching of trains.


Two telephone systems are installed in the subway, one for general purposes and another for operating the road. The general system consists of a 50-pair and a 110-pair telephone cable extending the length of the subway and terminating in a machine switching board at the administration building. The telephones in the cashier's booths at the stations, those in the shops and some of the telephones located on station platforms are connected to the general system.

The operating system consists of a 50-pair cable running the full length of the subway and terminating at a manually operated switchboard in the administration building. These telephones are located on station platforms, in interlocking towers, emergency exits, shop offices and in the dispatcher's office at the administration building. This system is used by the dispatchers for conveying the necessary information for operating the road.

The fire alarm cable forms a loop extending the full length of the subway and is tapped at all station areas. At each station there is a master box which is operated from any one of several auxiliary boxes in that area. Operation of the master box sounds the alarm by direct connection to the electrical bureau in City Hall. At the same time this information is relayed from the electrical bureau back to the administration building by another line in the fire alarm cable. In addition to these lines the fire alarm cable contains a direct line from the dispatcher's office in the administration building to the electrical bureau. Fire alarm boxes are installed at all emergency exits as well as at the stations.


Views of Electrical Equipment for Philadelphia Subway. [Top to bottom, left to right] (1) The architecture of this substation, typical of all three, makes the building a distinct asset to the neighborhood in which it is located. Station noise is minimized by making the building entirely closed. (2) Main control switchboard of the Louden Street substation. (3) Basement of the Cumberland substation. An individual converter switchboard may be seen at the left and a battery of high-speed circuit breakers at the right. (4) Double automatic stop layout and impedance bonds. Both automatic and semi-automatic train stops have been provided to operate in connection with every automatic block signal and interlocking home signal. (5) Interior of the Cumberland substation, showing the large synchronous converters. The transformers are housed in the pits at the right of the converters. (6) Instrument case, showing typical piping to the stopvalve magnets.


Three substations, spaced approximately 2 miles apart, serve the Broad Street subway.


[Top] Substation cross-section, showing the arrangement of the synchronous converters, transformers and other electrical equipment.


[Bottom] Typical layout of contact rails at a station, and how they are fed by the substation cables.


Cross-section of the 150-lb. over-running type of contact rail and the horizontal protecting board.


The contact rails are anchored in 1,000-ft. sections with this type of anchor.


Wiring diagram for one of the stations. The solid lines show the present installation, while the broken lines represent equipment to be added later.


Interlocking machine at yard portal for switches on the main track. Note the control panel at each end for controlling yard switches, the track model showing the main track layout and framed charts on each end showing the respective yard layouts.


Switch operating mechanisms are of the electro-pneumatic type with electrically-operated cut-off valves.


South portal at the terminal yard, showing the types of signals governing momevents into the subway proper.


One of the six compressor rooms located on the system. This view shows the automatic transfer panel, the oil switches, transformers, control board for compressors, the governors immediately below the switches, the automatic starters at each end of the control board and the compressor piping.


Layout of signals, train stops, power switch machines and other controlling equipment at a typical station.


Three tiers of tower relay cabinets installed at the Olney station interlocking plant.

Elaborate Shop and Yard Facilities Provided for Philadelphia Subway

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 73, No. 12 · March 23, 1929 · pp 465-470.


Aerial view of the Fern Rock terminal yard and shops showing the general layout of the buildings and tracks. The inspection shop is at the left and the main repair building at its right. Note also the portals, the entrance building, the storage building at the rear, the two track loops, the steam railroad connection, the road encircling the main building, the floodlight towers at each corner and the steel and concrete fence which encloses the area.

Fern Rock terminal is conveniently located at north end of Broad Street subway. Architectural treatment of buildings, landscaping of grounds, flexible track arrangement and an array of modern machinery are the outstanding features.

Carhousing and maintenance facilities for the new Broad Street subway, designed and built by the Department of City Transit of Philadelphia and being operated by the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, are provided at the extreme north end of the line. The terminal, known as the Fern Rock yard and shops, was constructed and equipped at great cost and is outstanding in many respects. The architectural treatment of the buildings and the landscaping of the grounds were carefully detailed and the resulting appearance is unusually attractive for a car shop. The terminal is made even more distinctive on account of the flexible track arrangement for the yard and shops, the large number of modern machines and tools, and the provisions made for expansion.


The site selected for the storage yard and shops is bounded by Chew Street, Nedro Avenue, Marvine Street and the Reading Railroad right-of-way, and embraces an area of approximately 32 acres. Its nearness to Broad Street, the favorable topography and the adjoining railroad made the site particularly suited for the terminal. With the exception of a few houses on the northern front, the track was totally undeveloped, with no streets opened through it, although the city's street plan provided for five north and south streets and one east and west street, running through the property. It was decided to divert Eleventh Street so as to skirt the western part of the tract, to arrange the yard grade so that another street could be opened beneath the tract when necessary, and to remove the others from the street plan. The plot required a fill on the east end, the spoil from the subway excavation being used for this purpose.

The terminal facilities include a shop for the periodic inspection of all cars operating from this yard; the general repair shop for overhauling and repairing all cars operating on the Broad Street subway, or that may operate on its future extensions, tributaries and connecting lines; an open track storage for cars when not in use; a storage building and yard space for materials used in maintenance of permanent way, buildings, station equipment, etc.; and a steam railroad connection for the receipt and shipment of freight.


Convenient and direct access to all storage tracks and to the inspection and repair shops was sought for and attained in the yard design. The plan selected divides the storage yard into two parts, one on the north side of the plot and one on the south side, each equally accessible to the subway through the two Grange Avenue portals which are located within the yard. By this arrangement ample space was left between the two parts for the shop buildings and other necessary storage area. The general plan of track and buildings is shown in an accompanying illustration.

The initial track arrangement includes eleven storage tracks on the north side of the plot and five on the south side, all stub ended. In addition, there are four tracks which pass through the inspection shop and which are joined at the rear to a track which circles around the rear of the general repair shop. This track has a spur on the north side which goes to the transfer table runway in the general repair shop, and also a branch to Reading Railroad spur. Another track, between the general repair shop and inspection shop, has a siding which goes through the south end of the transfer table runway and also joins the circling track at the rear. A second track, which passes through the storage building, joins the north and south storage yards. It is possible to run a train completely around the shop, as a loop track within the portals has been provided.

The initial track installation provides storage for approximately 165 cars. The ultimate development of the yard area, which has been kept free of all poles and overhead wires, will permit the storage of about 450 cars. Land is available on the north side of the plot for eighteen additional tracks, and on the south side for eight tracks.

Entrance for automobiles, trucks and other vehicles, is made over a driveway, entering from the west end of the yard, as shown in the diagram of the terminal. The driveway encircles the repair shop, thereby avoiding crossing any tracks except the spurs which enter the repair shop.


Complete track and building layout of the Fern Rock Terminal, showing the flexible track arrangement and the various department and shops within the buildings.


The yard and shops are in a purely residential district and the buildings were designed and the plot landscaped to add, rather than detract, from the neighborhood. The result can best be judged by studying the architectural treatment of the buildings, and the general effect in the accompanying illustrations. The entrance building, which is typical, shows the close attention to detail that was paid in the design. The pearl gray tapestry brick construction with white limestone trim, the diamond pattern in the panel over the doorway, the specially designed cartouche in this panel, the polished granite base, the iron gates in the doorway, the iron grille work in the narrow windows on each side of the doorway, the imposing gateway fixtures, the general shape of the building with its two wings, the walls projected to the driveway entrances and the iron gates for the driveway, all contribute to the pleasing effect obtained. A harmonizing treatment is given the general repair building and the inspection shop also, as may be seen in the views of these buildings. The pattern was not confined to the fronts of the buildings, but was continued on the sides and rears. The area immediately in front of the general repair shop has driveways and a semi-circular lawn with sidewalks passing around the lawn to the of a stairway leading to the entrance building. The remainder of the area is tapered to these sidewalks and also has a lawn. A flagpole in the semi-circular plot, together with shrubbery and trees, carefully located, adds to the general effect. The portals and retaining walls are in white, and harmonize with the sidewalks and stairway. The entire terminal area has been cleared of unnecessary material and graded to give a pleasing appearance. An iron and concrete fence, in keeping with the general architectural plan, surrounds the entire area. The completed yard, with its fence, graded track areas and harmonizing building designs, may be seen in the aerial view.


The usual frequency of inspection requires that 5.3 per cent of the total number of cars pass through the inspection shop each 24 hours. Maximum service from the equipment demands that the largest possible number of cars be made available for rush hour periods, and as inspections can usually be made in several hours, they can be made between the morning and evening rush periods. To this end the inspection shop was made long enough to accommodate a full train, and each track connected for entrance or exit at either end. It is not expected that during the first few years of operation the trains will exceed six cars, and the inspection shop was built to accommodate trains of this length, with provision made for further extensions to accommodate eight-car trains.

The building has five inspection tracks, spaced 18 ft. between center lines to provide ample working space between the cars. All tracks are built over pits, with the floor between tracks depressed 1 ft. below the head of the rail. Double-folding doors, motor operated, are installed at both the front and the rear of the building, each track having its individual doors. The machinery required in this shop is housed in an offset along the south side, which also provides for oil storage, general storage, work benches, office space and locker rooms for the men assigned to this building.


The plan of the general repair shop embodies the use of a car transfer table to move cars into and out of the shop and to move cars and trucks to the various departments during the course of repairing, overhauling and painting. The building is approximately 360 ft. by 380 ft., with an L extension along the south side, 36x160 ft. The transfer table travels 397 ft. across the entire width of the building and sufficiently beyond each side for the connections to the yard tracks. The wheel and axle, machine, truck, arc-welding and forge shops are located on the west or front side of the transfer table runway, with the motor, armature and bearing departments on the second floor, over the machine and wheel shops. On the rear or east side of the runway are located the jacking, battery, electric, air-brake, overhaul, cabinet, sheet metal, washing and paint shops.

The shops are so arranged in the building that a car can be completely overhauled with a minimum of handling. Cars entering the shop are moved by the transfer table to the jacking shop, where the bodies are lifted by 20-ton cranes and the trucks removed. The trucks then are taken to the shop on the opposite side of the transfer table runway, where they are dismantled. The motors are hoisted to the second floor by a high overhead crane operating over a well and are repaired on this floor. A separate shop for the armatures and another for the bearings further divide this repair work.

Adjoining the truck shop are the wheel and axle, machine, arc-welding and forge shops, in which the truck repairing and overhauling are completed. When the trucks are fully assembled again they are returned to the racking-up shop and placed under the car bodies. The cars then progress from this department along the east half of the building, passing from the jacking shop to the overhaul, car-washing and paint shops, in turn. The miscellaneous repair departments on this side, conveniently located to the main departments, are the battery repair shop, the electric shop, the air-brake shop, the cabinet and upholstery shops and the sheet metal shop. When completed the car is again run onto the transfer table and moved to one of the spurs leaving the building.


Repairing and overhauling are simplified by the array of modern machines and tools in the various departments. A list of the more important ones is given in the table on page 468. The jacking-up shop has four 20-ton, double-hoist, floor-operated cranes, each, with a span of 33 ft. 5-1/2 in. The transfer table was specially designed for this building and is 67 ft. in length, operating in a bay with a clear span of 84 ft. The table operates on four rails and is so designed as to give a depth of pit of 19 in. that does not obstruct the movement of workmen across it. The table is designed for a live load of 150,000 lb., permitting the handling of the largest capacity freight cars in the delivery of car wheels, brake shoes and other heavy supplies.

The truck shop, which is 78x216 ft., has twelve tracks, all but one having pits. Two of these tracks are extended into the wheel and axle shop. They are intersected by a long track, extending the full length of and beyond the truck shop and are joined to it by turntables. The wheel and axle shop is equipped with a 600-ton wheel press, a 48-in. car wheel borer, a combination journal and axle lathe, an axle grinder, a wheel lathe, a 200-ton axle-straightening press and a two-wheel grinder.

The forge and arc-welding shops have a track which extends from the transfer table runway to the machine shop. The track is joined also to the long track paralleling the truck shop by a turntable. The equipment of these two shops includes three down-draft forges, a mechanical sledge, a combination punch and shear, an 800-lb. single-frame hammer, three anvils, an air compressor system and an electrical welding outfit.

In the machine shop are found numerous lathes, drill presses and other machines. The tool room adjoining this shop has a lathe, a drill grinder and a tool grinder. The equipment is just as complete in all the other departments. The motor, armature, bearing, battery, electric, air-brake, cabinet and sheet metal shops all have the necessary machines for repairing the cars efficiently. Throughout the building a number of special machines and other equipment have been installed. Among these are a metal working machine, an armature extractor, a sand blaster, a large wheel lathe, vapor-proof lamps and fireproof doors, these lamps and doors being used in the paint shop.

Ample storeroom facilities are provided on the main floor and in the basement of the L extension. The general storeroom is connected with the main floor and the basement storeroom by ramps. Individual rooms are set aside for oil and paint, and all other materials are systematically stored in numerous bins and racks. This extension also has a wood mill, a heating plant and an incinerator for burning the refuse collected from the subway stations, as well as waste materials from the shop. Several sub-storerooms are located throughout the buildings, to serve the individual departments.

The shops have a number of locker rooms for the employees, all conveniently located, and in the front of the main building is a large instruction room. Ample office space also is provided in this building.

The portion of the shop to the west or front of the transfer table runway will not be expanded, partly because of the building arrangement selected and partly because the greater portion of machinery required for the maintenance of the initial equipment of cars is sufficient to care for a much larger number. However, additional capacity in the jacking shop, overhaul bay, paint room, etc., can be provided when needed by extending the main building to the east. The general repair shop can be expanded to care for more than 600 cars if necessary.

The storage building at the rear of the general repair building is intended for storing maintenance-of-way materials, primarily. It has an office and three tool rooms, and is equipped with an overhead traveling crane. The building measures 80x140 ft., and has ample room for storing the rails, special work and other materials.

Power for the Fern Rock terminal is supplied at 13,200 volts from the Louden Street substation. A 13,200-volt bus structure, located in a transformer room in the general repair shop, contains electrically-operated swiching equipment for the lighting and power transformers. The lighting transformer is a 200-kva., three-phase, 13.200/550-volt unit, and feeds a lighting transfer switch on the main switchboard. Individual switches control the lighting for the various sections of the shop buildings, the entrance building, and the tower floodlights in the yard. The lighting feeders through the shop buildings and yard are three-phase, 550-volt, and at various points single-phase, 550/250/125-volt transformers are connected to this line. The secondaries of these transformers are connected to lighting cabinets that control the lighting circuits. The intensity of the general lighting of the shop buildings is approximately 4 foot-candles. Three single-phase, 200-kva., 13,200/550-volt transformers supply the shop power. The secondaries are connected directly to the main switchboard which contains the switches and breakers for the shop and crane feeders. Two panels of this board are for 600-volt, direct-current feeders for the transfer table, and for overhead trolleys used for moving the cars in the shop buildings.

The power feeders from the main switchboard feed several large machines and cutout panels located at various places in the shop buildings for feeding the smaller machines. Each machine has the necessary compensators, controls and safety switches to safeguard the operators.

A direct-current switchboard is located in the inspection shop for the control of the overhead trolleys in that building. The total connected lighting load for the yard and shops is approximately 180 kva., and the total connected power load approximately 450 kva.

At each of the four corners of the yard is located an 80-ft. tower on which floodlights are mounted. In addition, five floodlights are mounted on the roof of the entrance building to illuminate the front of the building at night. With these four towers and the lights on the entrance building, the entire terminal is brilliantly illuminated at night, with a minimum of shadows. Thirteen 1,000-watt and fifteen 500-watt lamps are used for the floodlighting. The 550-volt feeders to the towers are connected through magnetic switches on the main switchboard, and these magnetic switches are controlled from the entrance building, making it possible to light any one of the towers from this building.

The five story administration building at the corner of Broad and Grange Streets is built on the roof of the subway, with 2-1/2 stories below the ground level. It has a polished granite and limestone base, pearl gray semiglaze brick walls, limestone trim and terra cotta ornamentation and cornice. The upper floors house the administrative and operating staffs of the city-built subway-elevated system. Provision has been made for the trainmen. The receiver's department for handling the receipts is in the basement, while the lower floors are used for locker rooms and small shops. For the convenience of trainmen there is an underground passage 600 ft. long on the roof of the subway connecting with the Olney Avenue station.


Views of the Fern Rock Terminal Yard and Shops of the Broad Street Subway, Philadelphia. (Above) The architectural detail of the entrance building with its limestone trim, polished granite base, doorway fixtures and grille work is typical of the attention paid to the design of all the buildings. (Middle) Eleven storage tracks are located on the north side of the general repair building, and land is available for fourteen more. This view, taken during construction, shows the white porcelain insulators before the contact rails were laid. (Below) The landscaping of the area in front of the main building makes the terminal very distinctive.


Five tracks extend the full length of the inspection shop, which is long enough to accommodate six-car trains. The tracks are spaced on 18-ft. centers, giving adequate room for the workmen.


Interior of the general repair shop, showing a portion of the machine shop in the foreground and the truck repair section beyond.


East or rear section of the general repair building, with the transfer table runway in the foreground. At the left may be seen the jacking shop in the center the battery repair and electrical shops, and at the right a portion of the overhaul department.


The terminal yard is located at the extreme north end of the Broad Street subway. The administration building, north of the Olney Avenue station, is also shown on this map.


The administration building has quarters for the trainmen and operating staff of the system.

Shop Equipment Installed in the Fern Rock Shops of the Broad Street Subway, Philadelphia

Truck Shop
  • 4 cranes-- 1 5-ton, single hoist, floor-operated, 33 ft. 5-1/2 in. span; Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
Wheel and Axle Shop
  • 1 wheel press 600-ton; Chambersburg Engineering Co.
  • 1 car wheel borer 48-in; Niles-Bement-Pond Co.
  • 1 combination journal and axle lathe; Niles-Bement-Pond Co.
  • 1 axle grinder 14 in. x 96 in.; Norton Grinding Co.
  • 1 wheel lathe No. 2; Niles-Bement-Pond Co.
  • 1 hoist, 2-ton; Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
  • 1 axle straightening press 200-ton; Chambersburg Engineering Co.
  • 1 two-wheel grinder 18 in. x 3 in.; Hisey-Wolf Manufacturing Co.
  • 1 axle testing tank 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 10 ft.; *
  • 1 heater for testing tank, gas fired, 5-hp.; B-Line Boiler Co.
Machine Shop
  • 1 crane 5-ton, single hoist, floor-operated, 18 ft. 9 in. span; Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
  • 1 semi-universal turret lathe No. 1; Acme Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 engine lathe 16 in. x 10 ft.; Monarch Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 engine lathe 20 in. x 16 ft.; Monarch Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 engine lathe 24 in. x 14 ft.; Monarch Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 drill press 15-in.; W. f. & J. Barnes Co.
  • 1 drill press 21-in.; W. F. & J. Barnes Co.
  • 1 radial drill 5-ft.; Carleton Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 universal milling machine No. 3; Cincinnati Milling Machine Co.
  • 1 crank shaper 24-in; Gould & Eberhardt
  • 1 two wheel grinder 14 in. x 2-1/2 in.; Hisey-Wolf Manufacturing Co.
  • 1 bolt threading machine 2-in.; Acme Machinery Co.
  • 1 hack saw 6-in.; Peerless Machine Co.
Machine Shop Tool Room
  • 1 tool room lathe 16 in. x 8 ft.; Monarch Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 drill grinder No. 51; Oliver Instrument Co.
  • 1 universal tool grinder No 2; Norton Grinding Co.
Forge and Welding Shops
  • 3 down-draft forges; Champion Blower & Forge Co.
  • 1 mechanical sledge; Chambersburg Engineering Co.
  • 1 binder-Model D, 8-in.; J. R. Kerlin Co.
  • 1 combination punch and shear, No. 20; Heney Pels & Co., Inc.
  • 1 single frame hammer 800 lb.; Chambersburg Engineering Co.
  • 1 coal bin; *
  • 1 fitting plate; *
  • 1 stock rack; *
  • 3 anvils 175-lb.; Paragon
  • 1 air compressor 500 cu.ft., straight line, with 100-hp. synchronous motor; Ingersoll-Rand Co.
  • 1 electrical welding outfit; Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co.
Motor Shop
  • 1 crane 5-ton, single hoist, cage-operated, 37 ft. 7 in. span; Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
  • 1 crane 5-ton, single hoist, floor-operated, 37 ft 7 in. span; Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
  • 1 engine lathe 20 in. x 10 ft.; Monarch Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 drill press 15-in.; W. F. & J. Barnes Co.
  • 1 two-wheel grinder 14 in. x 2-1/2 in.; Hisey-Wolf Manufacturing Co.
  • 1 armature storage rack; *
  • 1 armature extractor; *
  • 1 lye tank 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 6 ft.; *
  • 1 pinion tank 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 4 ft.; *
  • 2 boilers gas fired, 5-hp.: B-Line Boiler Co.
  • 1 vertical broaching press 30-ton; Chambersburg Engineering Co.
  • 1 transfer truck 3-ton; Easton Car & Construction Co.
Armature Shop
  • 1 dust arrester; Pangborn Corp.
  • 1 cleaning cabinet; *
  • 1 two wheel grinder- 14 in. x 2-1/2 in.; Hisey-Wolf Manufacturing Co,
  • 1 engine lathe 24 in. x 12 ft.; Monarch Machine Tool Co.
  • 1 horizontal press 300-ton; Chambersburg Engineering Co.
  • 6 armature stands Peerless type A.; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 commutator Blotter No. 204257; General Electric Co.
  • 1 universal armature machine Peerless No. 48623; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 mica shear; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 bar bender Segur No. 45636; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 kinker vise; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 wire skinner; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 coil winder -- Browning; Mutual Foundry & Machinery Co.
  • 1 wire reel rack -- Browning; Mutual Foundry & Machinery Co.
  • 1 coil spreader 30-in.; Mutual Foundry & Machinery Co.
  • 2 coil taping machines; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 electric bake oven; Electric Service Supplies Co.
  • 1 dip pond; *
  • 5 transfer trucks 3-ton; Easton Car & Construction Co.
Bearing Shop
  • 4 babbitt pots 500 lb.; Westinghouse Electric & Mfg. Co.
  • 1 tin pot; General Electric Co.
  • 1 lye tank 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 4 ft.; *
  • 1 boiler gas fired, 5-hp.; B-Line Boiler Co.
Jacking Shop
  • 4 cranes 20-ton, double hoist, floor-operated, 33 ft. 5-1/2 in. span; Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
Battery Repair Shop
  • 1 water still gas fired, 2-3/8 gal.; F. J. Stokes Machine Co.
  • 1 cap sink; *
  • 1 battery charging outfit; Electric Products Co.
Air-Brake Shop
  • 1 boiler gas fired, 5-hp.; B-Line Boiler Co.
  • 1 lye tank 3 ft. x 3 ft. x 6 ft.; *
  • 1 two wheel grinder 14 in. x 2-1/2 in.; Hisey-Wolf Manufacturing Co.
  • 1 valve finishing machine -- Foster; Special Bolt Corp.
  • 1 valve testing rack; Westinghouse Traction Brake Co.
  • 1 drill press 15-in.; W. F. & J. Barnes Co.
  • 1 pipe threading machine 2-in; Bignall & Keeler Machine Works
  • 1 hoist 1-ton, monorail; Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
Pattern and Wood Shop
  • 1 oilstone tool grinder; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 2 electric glue pots; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 carpenter's bench; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 patternmaker's bench; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 jointer 16-in.; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 trimming knife No. 2; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 patternmaker's lathe 24 in. x 16 ft.; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 band saw 36 in.; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 cutoff saw 16-in., straight line; Oliver Machinery Co.
  • 1 variety saw 14-in., shaftless; Oliver Machinery Co.
Sheet Metal Shop
  • 1 drill press 15-in.; W. F. & J. Barnes Co.
  • 1 two wheel grinder 14 in. x 2-1/2 in.; Hisey-Woif Manufacturing Co.
  • 1 gap punch 1/2 in.; Niagara Machine & Tool Works
  • 1 bending brake 8-ft.; Dreis & Krump Manufacturing Co.
  • 1 forming roll 8-ft.; Niagara Machine & Tool Works
  • 1 squaring shear 8-ft.; Niagara Machine & Tool Works
General Equipment
  • 1 transfer table 75-ton; * Box Crane & Hoist Corp.
  • 1 freight elevator 8,000-lb., storeroom to basement; Otis Elevator Co.
  • 1 freight elevator 8,000-lb., wheel and axle shop to motor shop; Otis Elevator Co.
  • 1 elevating hand truck 3,500-lb.; Lewis Shepard Co.
  • 1 storage battery lift truck 4,000-lb.; Baker-Raulang Co.
  • 1 storage battery lift truck 2,000-lb.; Wright Hibbard I. E. T. Co.
  • 1 storage battery crane truck 3,000-lb.; Baker-Raulang Co.
  • 12 skid platforms 33 in. x 48 in.; Stuebing Cowan Co.
  • 2 oil storage cabinets 6-tank, 120 gal. each, No. 64; S. F. Bowser & Co., Inc.

* Designed by the Department of City Transit, Philadelphia.

New Philadelphia Subway a Vital Unit in City's Transportation System

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 73, No. 6 · February 9, 1929 · pp 240-248.


One of the more complicated arrangements of track within the system. Under all special work the channel type of track construction is used.

This article shows the relation of the Broad Street subway to the other transit facilities of the city, gives operating details of the system and describes the general construction of the subway proper.

[pages 240 and 241 are missing from the digitized copy at archive.org]

from the Broad Street line to Eighth Street and extending via Walnut Street to Darby through West Philadelphia, the construction of a street car subway on Chestnut Street, later changed to Locust Street, the eventual extension of the Broad Street line to League Island on the south and a subway-elevated to extend into the northwest section of Philadelphia and also over the Delaware River to Camden.

The rapid transit lines are not intended to supplant the street car, nor any other transportation agency now operating. On the contrary, they are planned to fit in as a part of one city-wide transportation system, with the one purpose of serving the entire population in the most satisfactory manner. The policy of the city to have the lines privately operated was formulated primarily to enable complete co-ordination of all the other facilities.

Work was started on the preparation of contract plans for subway construction in January, 1924, it having been determined to concentrate efforts on the portion of the subway in Broad Street. This work involved not only the design and construction of the four-track tube itself, but also the much more complex problem of designing, specifying and providing all of the equipment required to make the subway complete.

On Aug. 25, 1924, ground was broken in Broad Street under the first contract. In March, 1927, the 6-1/2 miles of four-track subway structure from City Hall to the yard, and the yard grading and shop foundations, had been completed, surface restoration work was far advanced and track laying operations were well under way. The next few months saw the completion of the power system, the finishing and equipping of the subway stations, the completion and testing of cars, the provision of shop tools and equipment and the trying out and tuning up of the system as a whole. On April 20, 1928, the first test train was operated in the subway, and on Sept. 1, 1928, the subway was opened to the public between City Hall and Olney Avenue. This made four years from breaking ground to public operation. The cost of this section was approximately $90,000,000, the funds being obtained by the sale of city bonds. The added expense for completing the extension to South Street will bring the total cost to more than $100,000,000.

As the first section of the subway neared completion, plans were made for operating it. Two utilities experts were consulted, J. Rowland Bibbins and Charles C. McChord. Both the McChord and the Bibbins plans contemplated operation by the P.R.T. and the payment to the city of all surplus earnings after the operating expenses were met. Mr. Bibbins proposed that the accounts of the Broad Street subway be kept separate from those of the rest of the transit system, that the P.R.T. be paid an operating fee based on a percentage of the subway's net earnings, and that all surplus revenue over the expense of operation and the fee be paid to the city toward meeting the carrying charges on the construction bonds. The McChord report suggested a merging of the accounts of the rapid transit company and the city system, the creation of a joint "buffer" fund and the maintenance of the present dividend rate to P.R.T. shareholders. Both plans called for a board of control over the expenditures and financial operations of the company.

Neither of these plans was thought satisfactory, so the Public Service Commission of Pennsylvania was asked to make a study to enable it to declare the conditions upon which it would approve a lease agreement between the city and the company. Since the study was not completed prior to the time when the subway was ready for operation, a temporary agreement was entered into by the two parties whereby the P.R.T. was to operate the subway for a temporary period of three months, at a rental of $200,000 per month, an amount representing about half of the carrying charges. The agreement provided for the P.R.T.'s receipt of all gross income and required that the company maintain the property in first-class condition. The terms were such that either party could cancel the agreement with a 24-hour notice after the trial period. However, if not cancelled, it was to continue day by day until a permanent lease was formed. At the end of the period on Nov. 30 the P.R.T. notified the city of its desire to cancel the temporary agreement, claiming the operation had caused a loss of $10,000 per day. Negotiations are now under way between the city and the company to formulate an operating lease satisfactory to both parties and retroactive to Nov. 30.

Free Transfers for Several Street Car Lines

The fare being charged on the subway is 7-1/2 cents or two tokens for 15 cents. This is the same rate in effect on the surface lines and the Market-Frankford subway-elevated. This fare, however, permits the passenger to obtain a free transfer to any one of a number of intersecting street car lines or a transfer to any of four bus lines for a payment of 3 cents. There are sixteen car lines on which the transfers can be used, all above Spring Garden Street. Passengers boarding these car lines in the morning obtain transfers to the subway upon payment of the regular fare. There is no transfer or exchange privilege between the Broad Street subway and the Market Street subway because the resultant congestion and confusion, with the Market Street line already heavily loaded at rush hours, would create an unsatisfactory condition.

The normal weekday service provides a headway of five minutes during the middle of the day and three and one half minutes during peak hours, morning and evening. During the middle of the day three-car trains are operated, and during peak hours, six-car trains. For the present operation, when City Hall station is used to a somewhat greater extent than it will be after the subway has been extended to South Street, one track has been planked over to supply additional platform space, and operation into the station is now by single track. The running time at present between Olney Avenue and City Hall is 21 minutes, the time of run between the stations varying between one and two minutes. When express service is started, the running time between City Hall and Olney Avenue will be reduced to seventeen minutes. During the early morning hours between 1:30 and 5, trains run every eighteen minutes. The scheduled running times between the stations, including stops, are given in an accompanying table.

On Sept. 1, 1928, when the subway was opened to the public, approximately 20,000 people were carried as guests of the city and the P.R.T. On the next day, a Sunday, 62,507 passengers were carried and on the following Saturday 101,110 passengers used the subway. The number reported for the entire first week totaled 564,460. During the first month the system carried 2,519,359 passengers. To carry this number it operated 361,510 car-miles and 27,569 car-hours.

Fourteen Stations on Present System

On the portion of the system now being operated, totalling 6.1 miles in length, there are fourteen stations, seven of which are to be express stops. Only two tracks have been laid for initial operation, but provision has been made for laying two additional tracks when the traffic warrants express service. The tubes with the present track layout contain a total of 20.86 miles of single track, composed of 15.01 miles of revenue track and 5.85 miles of non-revenue track located in the terminal yard and shop. The extension south of City Hall will have two stations and will make the total length of the line approximately 6.64 miles.

The system as now being operated is shown in an accompanying map. As can readily be seen, the two-track arrangement does not allow the use of the north-bound platforms of the five stations at the south end of the line. However, with the exception of the Fairmount station, passengers can use the southbound platforms for boarding northbound trains. This was not possible at Fairmount because it is not an express station.

Platforms Accommodate Eight-Car Trains

The average spacing of the stations outside of the delivery district is about 1/2 mile. The exact distances between the stops, as well as the distances between the future express stops, are shown on one of the accompanying maps. The Walnut, City Hall, Race-Vine, and Spring Garden stations in the delivery district and the Girard, North Philadelphia, Erie and Olney stations to the north, are island-platform or express stations, serving all four tracks. The intervening stations are side-platform or local stations, serving the two outer tracks. Every platform is 550 ft. long and will accommodate an eight-car train. The island platforms, except at City Hall station, have clear widths in the middle section of about 20-1/2 ft., tapering off to between 13-1/2 and 18 ft. near the ends of the platforms. Numerous stairways, averaging about 5 ft. in width, have been provided to facilitate movements between the station platforms and the mezzanines and particularly to reduce movements along the length of the platforms. Liberal mezzanine areas have been provided to allow flexibility of control and freedom in the movement of traffic. At important crosstown streets where the profile is high, bringing the roof of the mezzanine rather close to the surface, the mezzanines are separated into two parts, to allow room for future crossings of utility structures in the intersecting streets. It is possible in most of the express stations to travel from any point on either platform to any exit without going above the surface of the street, because of the arrangement of the mezzanines.

The width of the side platforms varies from a minimum of 10 ft. for short sections near the ends of the platform, to from 30 ft. to 40 ft. in the middle sections. The clear height from the floor to the bottom of roof beams is in general about 8 ft. for mezzanines, passageways and stair entrances, and 9 ft. over the platform areas. Street entrance stairs vary in width and number per station, but in general are not less than 6 ft. wide, are located in the sidewalk against the house line, and are uncovered. In a number of instances, through co-operation of building owners, entrances have been secured through private property, thereby reducing encroachment on sidewalk areas and any resulting con- gestion of traffic.

Vari-Colored Tile Used in the Stations

To give a bright and cheerful appearance to the subway stations, the side walls of entrance stair wells, passageways, mezzanines and side-platform stations were finished in white tile, with colored tile borders and station name panels. Four different color schemes were used in the stations, no two successive stations having the same color scheme or design. This feature, intended to help the passenger locate his station, gives a very striking appearance to all of the stations of the system. The four color schemes are red and tan, brown and tan. two tones of blue, and two tones of green. On page 240, three tile designs are shown, and in a table the color scheme for each station is given. The appearance of the stations is enhanced also by the extensive grille work along the stairways and mezzanines, the bricks laid at the edges of the stairways, and the change booths and other station fittings, all designed to give a refined atmosphere to the station interiors.

The stations are well lighted by high intensity lamps mounted in steel enameled reflectors of the standard type or special design as required. The system differs from the usual plan of using five lights in series across the railway voltage of 500 or 600 volts because, except for the emergency lights, a 125-volt alternating current supply is used for this purpose. Particular attention was given to lighting around stairways. Each station has one or two transformer rooms into which the lighting cables and d.c. emergency cable enter. The equipment is in duplicate so that in case of trouble on a transformer or cable feeding the lighting load on the station, it will be automatically transferred to the other transformer. The tunnel lighting halfway to the next station also is supplied from the station transformer. The d.c. emergency lights are arranged five in series across the 630-volt line. The direct current is supplied through a special cable which loops into each substation, so that in case of failure of any one substation current for the emergency lights can be supplied from either one of the other stations. The emergency lights form part of the general lighting system and are burning at all times. They are placed at all stairways and stations along the platforms and mezzanine floors in sufficient number to permit passengers to find their way through the station in case of failure of the general lighting system.

An important part of the station equipment is that provided for the entrance and exit of passengers. Percy passimeters of the coin and booth control type are used throughout the system. In some stations only the booth type are used, but in the larger ones several coin passimeters have been installed. In the stations on the upper part of the route more passimeters are installed in the southbound side, and more exits are provided on the northbound side to accommodate the great number of passengers who enter the station in the morning and leave it at night during the rush periods. The change booths are of both the single-end and double-end type, and in certain stations several are provided. In addition to the numerous exit turnstiles, the stations have emergency gates and separate gates for the employees. The station control equipment of a typical station is shown in one of the illustrations.

Connections Made with Railroad Stations

A passageway 12 ft. 6 in. wide, built on the subway roof, connects the north mezzanine of the North Philadelphia station with a passageway built by the Pennsylvania Railroad, leading directly to its North Philadelphia station. A like passageway has been built to connect the south mezzanine of this same subway station with the Huntingdon Street station of the Reading Company. The Reading Company has planned the construction of a new four-track railroad station at this point.

A similarly constructed 14-ft. passageway connects the Race Street mezzanine and intermediate subway entrances with mezzanine areas at Filbert Street, which in turn give a new and direct access to the City Hall station of the Broad Street subway, the proposed Pennsylvania Railroad underground electrical suburban station, the authorized Filbert Street subway station, etc.

City Hall Station and Pedestrian Concourse a Big Project

Early in 1924 a proposal for an extensive system of underground concourses in the center of the city was made. The plan provided for a concourse completely encircling City Hall and extending in Broad Street beyond Chestnut Street on the south and Arch Street on the north, forming a direct underground connection between all of the existing and proposed subway and railway stations in the general vicinity of City Hall, with entrances and exits to or convenient to large office buildings, department stores, etc. Such a concourse would aid materially in spreading and distributing underground traffic to and from the various existing and proposed stations in this section, thereby relieving the surface of a large portion of this traffic, and also would improve materially the accessibility of the City Hall station of the Broad Street subway.

In designing the subway provisions were made to extend the system as needed or to give better service on the system as the traffic increased. Alignment, profile, stations, track arrangement, and terminal facilities all were designed with this in mind. For example, the main line was made to accommodate four tracks, even though express service will not be warranted for some time. Also, at the northern terminus of the line extra track spaces were provided to a little beyond Grange Avenue for the extension of either or both pairs of tracks northward at any time without disturbance of the existing structure or of the operation of trains therein, and, of course, without any grade crossing movement. This involved extensive construction and cost, but will result in a big saving should the extension to the north be made.

Just north of the Erie Avenue station, where the subway drops to pass under the Reading Company's tracks, advantage was taken of the situation to provide a two-level structure, whereby local trains can be turned back without grade crossing movements. This provision will enable a balancing of service and traffic and added flexibility of operation. If the Ridge Avenue extension is constructed, no doubt this will be used for turning back the trains. As designed, the ramp will accommodate a total of 32 cars. Trains northbound can leave the outer main line track, run up on the ramp and return on the outer southbound track without crossing the express tracks at grade.

The two-track branch to Ridge Avenue has been provided for by a special six-track, two-level construction, enabling either express or local trains to be diverted into Ridge Avenue, and with a complete separation of grades.

Profile and Sectional Details of the Structure

The distance from City Hall to Olney Avenue is a little more than 6 miles, and in this distance there is a total rise in elevation of top of rail of 167-1/2 ft. The maximum main line grade is 3 per cent and the minimum center line radius on the main track is 200 ft. The maximum grade of the track in station areas is three-tenths of 1 per cent. The profile was kept as near the surface as conditions would permit to save cost and to add to public convenience.

Broad Street is 69 ft. between curbs and 113 ft. between house lines. The over-all width of the four-track structure is 57 ft. at standard sections, widening out to 113 ft. at and near stations. The structure has a concrete invert, steel columns and roof beams spaced 5 ft. 6 in., with concrete jack arches forming the side walls and roof. The standard vertical clearance over the top of rail is 13 ft. and normal spacing of track centers 13 ft. Subway clearances have been provided on the basis of cars 67-1/2 ft. long, 10 ft. wide and 12 ft. 3 in. high. Waterproofing, in general, has been restricted to the roof, where two 1/2-in. layers of asphalt mastic form a membrane protected by a 3-in. coating of lean concrete. Lateral drains are provided at frequent intervals to reduce accumulation of water along the subway walls, and longitudinal drains under the track carry all water to float-controlled electrically operated pumps installed at the five low points on the line. A duct bench along the outer wall forms a walk and, together with the extra clearance afforded by the side wall arches, offers a safety zone for trackmen and others working in the tube during operation.

In designing the ventilation system it was determined to rely upon natural ventilation, aided by the piston action of the trains, through sidewalk gradings of ample capacity, and in the deeper sections of the subway near City Hall to provide fan chambers so that, if in later years it becomes necessary, the natural ventilation can be supplemented by mechanical ventilation.

Ventilation wells are provided of reinforced concrete construction, connecting openings in the side wall of the subway with sidewalk grating located at the curb. The grating units are 4 ft. wide and 5 ft. long, arranged in banks of from three to six units, distributed as uniformly as underground and surface conditions would permit, and to the extent practicable with openings at all summits and valleys. The grating area provided is in proportion to the air content of the subway structure, which varies from about 740 cu.ft. per foot of length between stations, to about 1.030 cu.ft. at local stations and to about 1.250 cu.ft. at express stations. At and near station areas, one square foot of net ventilation area was provided for every 750 cu.ft. of subway content. This is in addition to the entrance stair openings. Between stations, the design was based on a ratio of 1 sq.ft. net area per 1,000 cu.ft. of subway content. Between City Hall and Grange Avenue at the north, there is an average of sixteen units in each side per square.

Ventilation openings at station platforms are screened and fitted with louvers to prevent snow, dirt, etc., from blowing through. On either side of the subway and about half way between all stations, a modified ventilation well is equipped with stairs and a counter-balanced grating at the sidewalk to serve as an exit from the track level for passengers or as an exit for rescue forces in case of emergency. The exits are indicated in the subway by lighted signs connected with the subway lighting system, which is fed from duplicate circuits with automatic throwover devices to guard against failure of one circuit. A fire alarm and telephone also are located at each emergency exit, the telephones being indicated by purple lamps.

Solid Concrete Track Construction Adopted

In selecting the type of track structure for the subway, the major characteristics sought were safety of operation, permanence of alignment and surface, long life of the structure to keep to a minimum the frequency of and average cost of maintenance and renewals, and a construction that would facilitate keeping the subway floor in a clean and sanitary condition. It was determined that a solid concrete track, rather than the more usual ballasted type, best met these requirements. The type selected for tangent track, and this covers the major portion of the subway track, consists of ties partially embedded in concrete, as shown in one of the accompanying illustrations. This type would not be advantageous for use under special work because of the greater wear and strain imposed on the track in such location, with the resulting necessity for comparatively frequent adjustment and renewals of portions of the structure. It was considered desirable, therefore, to obtain a more positive anchorage of the track to its foundation and to so arrange the track elements that they could be adjusted or replaced at lesser cost and with less interference with the operation of the trains. In the type selected for this purpose, the ties are bolted to channels, which in turn are embedded in a concrete track floor, as illustrated.

The ties, of Southern yellow pine, were creosoted with 5 lb. of oil. per cubic foot by the empty cell process, after being dressed and bored for screw spikes and tie bolts. They were cut from 6xlO-in. timber and surfaced to a uniform thickness of 5-1/2 in. In the straight track type of construction, the ends of the ties were beveled to form an anchorage to the floor. Short ties, 30 in. long, are used under each rail and spaced 23-1/2 in. between centers with every fifth tie 9 ft. long to engage both running rails and to provide for the conductor rail. In the channel type short ties are used throughout except where switches, frogs, etc., require the use of greater lengths.

The rails used in the subway are 100 lb. A.S.C.E. section, 62 ft. in length. This particular section was selected largely because of its wide base as compared with the weight of the rail. This wide base, in conjunction with ties having a 10-in. face, gives sufficient tie bearing to justify the omission of tie plates. Screw spikes with cast iron clips to engage the base of the rail are used throughout the subway and splice bars of a type recently developed and embodying the so-called "head-free" feature are used.

The special track work, involving switches, frogs, crossings and curved rail, is of rugged construction. Cast manganese steel is used at practically all points of maximum wear and most of the switches in the subway are of a specially designed type. All curves of short radius are protected with guard rails, and guard rails also have been installed at all other locations where a tendency toward derailment might exist. The running rail in all special work is the same as that used on straight track.

A pipe line for compressed air extends the full length of the subway with taps at frequent intervals for connecting to electro-pneumatic interlocking and train stops.

The work of subway construction, including grading and foundation work in the terminal yard, was divided into four large sections. These sections varied in length from 7,184 ft. to 10,131 ft., and involved costs varying from $12,300,000 to $17,700,000. Three of the sections included three stations each while the fourth included four stations.

The construction requirements specified varied from complete decking of the trench and maintenance of the full street for traffic to open-cut construction, depending upon the local conditions. The temporary and permanent relocation of gas mains to keep gas out of the trench was provided for under separate contracts. Extensive relocation of large water mains to safeguard service as well as construction operations, and reconstruction of four large sewers crossing Broad Street, as well as the support, maintenance and protection of public utility structures, buildings, etc., along the line of the work, were included in the general contracts, as were the temporary paving and the restoration of sidewalks.

The following figures will give an indication of the magnitude of the work between City Hall and the terminal yard:

Subway excavation3,131,000 cu.yd.
Concrete373,000 cu.yd.
Structural steel47,400 tons

One of the two contractors who constructed the subway used the cross-bracing and posting method of timbering, decking the entire width of the cut. The excavation work was carried on by hand tools and the spoil carried by an industrial railway to fifteen shafts, located about 600 ft. apart, and there hoisted to the surface and loaded into trucks. The other contractor first opened and covered one-half the street, supporting the decking on large I beams spanning the trench, and bracing the sides of the excavation from the I beams.

The preparation of plans and specifications, the receipt of bids, the awarding of contracts and the supervision of construction for the Broad Street Subway and the other transit projects now under way by the city are taken care of by the Department of City Transit. The present personnel of this department, most of whom assisted in the design and construction of the subway, include C. E. Myers, director; George T. Atkinson, assistant director; Frank R. Fisher, chief engineer; Charles H. Stevens, engineer of design; H. M. Van Gelder, electrical engineer; George B. Taylor, consulting engineer, and S. M. Purdy, construction engineer.

Westinghouse Advertisement

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 72, No. 18 · November 3, 1928 · [Advertisement]

Home, a half hour sooner via Broad Street Subway. Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company.

When the City of Philadelphia recently opened its new Broad Street Subway for revenue service, the northern limits of the City were virtually moved a half hour closer to the City Hall.

Commuters from this outlying section now reach their homes thirty minutes sooner by using this new subterranean avenue of transit.

Philadelphia's streets have been widened, by this surpassing facility, not by an actual increase in width, but through increased capacity to accommodate growing surface traffic requirements.

Westinghouse feels a pride in having supplied the 312 motors 64,000 horsepower, control equipment, switch panels, ventilating fans and battery-charging devices for the 150 cars that under the skillful and progressive Mitten Management are now saving many thousands of hours daily for Philadelphia's metropolitan population.

Philadelphia Looks Ahead in Planning Its Subway

Electric Railway Journal · Vol. 73, No. 7 · February 16, 1929 · pp. 270-271.

Guided by the principle that the greater the number of people that can be carried through a subway in comfort and safety, the greater the potential benefit to the public in return for the expenditures made for tube and equipment, the city of Philadelphia spared no expense in making the Broad Street subway, its newest transit facility, capable of expansion to meet the city's future requirements. The subway, as now being operated, has two through tracks from City Hall to Olney station orr the north, but the tube was constructed to accommodate four tracks, and as soon as the traffic warrants, the other two will be laid and express service started. Other considerations were borne in mind when this newest subway was designed. For example, station locations and arrangements were selected to permit co-ordination of the subway service with other transit facilities, and to make for easy and rapid movement to and from trains. Car seating and door location were planned for rapid loading and unloading. Also, the alignment, profile and track layout, the signal and other safety devices, the car motors, brakes and couplers, the terminal and yard connections, etc., all were designed for expansion of service to provide frequent, rapid and safe train operation.

Before the actual construction details of the Broad Street subway were prepared, the Department of City Transit made an extensive study of rapid transit needs and submitted plans for a city wide system. The Broad Street subway unit is a part of this comprehensive plan. It was designed as the backbone of the entire system. This accounts for the attention given to provisions for expansion and extension, as described in the article in last week's issue of Electric Railway Journal. At the extreme northern end of the line extra track spaces were provided a little beyond the regular line to allow the extension of the four tracks northward at any time, without disturbing the existing structure or the present operation of trains. At Ridge Avenue, a little more than a mile north of City Hall, provision was made for a two-track branch to extend to Darby through West Philadelphia, by a special six-track, two-level connection. Other important provisions for future development include a ramp at Erie Avenue to permit local trains to turn back without crossing the express tracks at grade; an extension to South Street, now under construction, the separation of mezzanines to allow for the crossing of major utility structures; plans to expand the shops and terminal yard to accommodate the maximum number of cars that will be needed on the completed system, and the pedestrian concourse project at City Hall.

When this project is completed, passengers arriving at City Hall either by the Broad Street subway, the Market-Frankford subway-elevated, underground street cars, the Pennsylvania Railroad or the Reading Railroad, will be able to walk underground among the several transportation systems or to buildings adjoining City Hall Square, as well as to points several blocks in any direction from City Hall. The entire improvement program is a very comprehensive one. It shows great vision on the part of those responsible for it, in planning for future as well as present requirements.

Interesting Facts and Figures of the Broad Street Subway

  • Cost, approximately; $90,000,000
  • Length of line; 6.1 miles
  • Single track, now constructed; 20.86 miles.
  • Number of stations; 14
  • Scheduled running time, Olney Avenue to City Hall; 21 minutes
  • Free transfers to street car lines; 16
  • Three-cent exchanges to bus routes; 4
  • Number of cars; 150
  • Area of yards and shops; 34 acres
  • Construction started; Aug. 25, 1924
  • Opened to the public; Sept. 1, 1928
  • Subway excavation; 3,131,000 cu.yds.
  • Concrete poured; 373,000 cu.yds.
  • Structural steel used; 47,400 tons

Data of the Subway When Completed to South Street

  • Cost, approximately; $100,000,000
  • Length of line; 6.64 miles
  • Number of stations; 16
Schedule of Running Times and Other Station Data
StationEntrances atColorDistance to next station, FeetRunning time to next station, Minutes
*OlneyOlney AveBlue, two tones3,2562-1/4
LoganLindley Ave., Ruscomb St.Red and tan1,9581-1/2
WyomingWyoming AveBlue, two tones2,4281-1/2
Hunting ParkRoosevelt Blvd., Bristol St.Brown and tan3,2372
*ErieErie AveGreen, two tones2,7281-1/2
AlleghenyAllegheny AveRed and tan2,3761-1/2
*North PhiladelphiaLehigh Ave., Somerset St.Blue, two tones3,0961-3/4
Dauphin-SusquehannaDauphin St., Susquehanna AveBrown and tan3,0911-3/4
ColumbiaColumbia AveGreen, two tones2,6681-3/4
*GirardGirard AveRed and tan1,7632
FairmountFairmount Ave., Ridge Ave.Blue, two tones1,6142
*Spring GardenSpring Garden StBrown and tan1,9061-1/2
*Race-VineRace St., Vine StGreen, two tones1,8522
*City HallCity Hall SquareRed and tann/an/a
* Express stops.


General plan of the express station at Erie Avenue. In this station, as in most of the others mezzanines extend lengthwise to permit underground passage from any point of the subway platform to any of the exits. Another feature is the large number of air wells and smaller ventilating ducts.


The station at Hunting Park Avenue Extension is typical of the other local stations. Although trains at present have a maximum length of six cars it is planned to lengthen them as the traffic increases to eight cars, the number which the platforms were designed to accommodate.


The new Broad Street subway system is co-ordinated with other transit lines of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company. The large number of street car lines and buses which connect with the system are shown on this map. The car and bus lines that are numbered or lettered have transfer arrangements with the subway.


At the present time only two tracks are being operated the full length of the system, as indicated on the diagram. However, seven of the fourteen stations of the sections being operated are express stations and as soon as traffic warrants the other tracks will be laid permitting express service.


Plan of the Columbia Avenue local station, showing the arrangement of the passenger control equipment. Both coin and booth passimeters are used and numerous exit turnstiles and gates are provided.


This is not a stairway in a bank building; but the stairway leading from a Broad Street subway platform to a mezzanine level. It illustrates the attractive type of grille work designed for all of the stations.


The solid type of concrete track structure rather than the more usual ballasted type was selected because of its many advantages. On tangent track the ties are partially embedded in concrete as shown above.


The channel type of track construction, with the ties bolted to channels, which in turn are embedded in a concrete track floor, was used under switches, frogs and other special work.


Excavating in one of the rock cuts. Note the heavy bracing to hold the side walls and to support the decking for the street.


In part of the excavation work trucks drove down ramps into the subway where they were loaded by air shovels.


One of the contractors raised the excavated material through shafts and loaded the trucks on the street surface.


A total of 150 cars of the type shown above were ordered for the initial operation. They were especially designed for underground rapid transit service.


Electric Railway Journal, McGraw Hill Company, Digitized by Microsoft, Americana Collection, archive.org.

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