Transit nerd alert: “Wrapped” trolley debuts today to commemorate first electric line

December 15, 2017

The first electric trolley debuted 125 years ago today on the Catharine and Bainbridge Street Line. Photo from the The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.

On December 15, 1892, the first electric trolley began running on the Catharine and Bainbridge Streets Line, making public transportation a little more affordable for the masses.

SEPTA is marking the anniversary today with a ceremony and a “wrapped” trolley (pictured below) commemorating those early days that will run on the 11, 13, 34 and 36 lines for the next year. 

For all of you transit nerds out there … Route 11 is the oldest trolley route in the city still running on most of its original route. It began as a horse-drawn trolley running from 32nd and Woodland to Main Street in Upper Darby, debuting on Christmas Eve in 1858. It was electrified in 1894 and began running in the subway surface tunnel in 1906.

The Catharine-Bainbridge line, which is no longer in operation, was also the city’s first horse-drawn streetcar line.

“Wrapped” Trolley. Photo courtesy of SEPTA.


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