Urban Planning

The Broad Street Subway

Providing around 1 million rides a day, SEPTA is an important resource in the city of Philadelphia. The man pictured in one of the accompanying photos was just one of the many involved in building a part of that transportation system, the Broad Street Subway. The photograph was taken December 14, 1925 as the unidentified man worked on the subway at Broad and Master Streets.

Work began on the line in 1924. In the four years it took to build the initial section of the subway, enough dirt was excavated to theoretically create, as another photo (also pictured) illustrated, a column 220 feet square and 2280 feet high. The Broad Street line eventually opened for service on September 1, 1928. On this new subway, riders could travel between City Hall and Olney Avenue. Round trip fare, at this time, was only 15 cents.

Several years later, service on the Broad Street Subway was extended farther south. By 1930, riders could travel as far south as South Street, and by 1938 this was extended to Snyder Avenue. Expansion then continued to the north, with the Fern Rock stop being added in the 1950s. Finally, in 1973 the line was extended again to the south to run to Pattison Avenue, completing the line that exists today.