It's shaping up to be a rough month for Philly commuters. First, the Chestnut Street Bridge shuts down for a year-long repair project, and soon SEPTA will close down a trolley tunnel for 'round the clock maintenance work known as the "Trolley Tunnel Blitz."
More than 60,000 riders will be impacted as SEPTA closes down the tunnel spanning from 13th Street to 40th Street starting at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9 until 4 a.m. Monday, Aug. 19. During this time, SEPTA Trolley routes 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 will not be in operation. SEPTA reported that service will start and end at 40th and Market streets, and they will use a different route, which will connect to the Market-Frankford Line. Riders can get on at the Market-Frankford Line at 40th Street Station and get in and out of Center City.
This the seventh year SEPTA has held the Trolley Tunnel Blitz. During the closure, SEPTA’s teams will be working nonstop for maintenance and construction to improve the trolley system. The transit agency opts to perform the repair blitz during the summer because ridership is at its lowest.
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SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel said, “The Trolley Blitzes allow our crews to get productive work windows to complete necessary repairs and improvements they otherwise would not be able to because the tunnel is used 24 hours a day,”
Additionally, Knueppel said, “The program we have implemented over the past six summers has vastly improved the Tunnel’s infrastructure and greatly increased trolley service reliability through the tunnel.”
SEPTA is doing a lot to improve the system, including replacing a curved rail east and west of 33rd Street Station, track repairs at the 37th street east platform, replacing the wiring to the tunnel, on the west side of the tunnel between 19th and 22nd street and fixing the crossing points of two rails at Ludlow.
According to SEPTA, additional work that will be performed during this closure includes, “Installation of new energy-efficient lighting within the tunnel between 36th and 37th Street Stations, performing heavy maintenance tasks at all stations including graffiti removal, tile repair, painting, cleaning the water drainage system, trackbed cleaning and heavy cleaning at all stations, testing emergency generators and lighting throughout the tunnel, addressing water leaks at stations and in the tunnel through crack-injection and other rehabilitation improvements, inspecting, testing and maintaining track circuits and other signal aspects (visual indication) at portals and throughout the tunnel."