In General
Contents & Maps
SEPTA Photo Policy


In General

Philadelphia is served by two major transit companies:
-- SEPTA, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
-- PATCO, the Port Authority Transit Corporation

SEPTA, which covers Philadelphia PA and the surrounding suburbs, has one of the most diverse transit systems around, one of two actually, the other being Boston.  This includes Light Rail, Heavy Rail, Trolleybuses, Busses, and several different styles of Streetcars.

SEPTA still has a few Trackless Trolley/Trolleybus lines running up at the north end of the Market-Frankford EL.  We lost a few of them maybe 10 years ago further south of there :-(.

Streetcars come in three varieties, updated PCC cars that run on the #15 Girard Ave line, and Kawasaki's that use both poles (on the Surface Subway routes) and pantograph's (on routes 101 and 102).

Their one light rail line, the Norristown High Speed Line, is fairly unique in the sense that it uses third rail for power, which is usually reserved for heavy rail systems.

PATCO services New Jersey from Camden down to Lindenwold, but includes four stops in Philadelphia in order to provide their riders with access to Philadelphia.  It is a Heavy Rail line, and runs over the outside of the Ben Franklin bridge to hop over the Delaware River.  Here is my page for them.

SEPTA has two large transit centers: 30th Street which handles mainly Commuter Trains and the Market St Subway Line (and of course, Amtrak), and the 69th Street Terminal, which handles light rail, heavy rail, the route 101 and 102 Kawasaki Streetcars, and of course, busses - in three different staging areas.  In addition, there are the Norristown (R6 Commuter, Light Rail, and busses) and Frankford Transportation (just busses) Centers.

If you are a senior, SEPTA now issues a Senior Fare card, which is good on ALL lines, including regional commuter trains originating in Pennsylvania.  You can pick these up at the SEPTA Headquarters at 1234 Market Street, or the Suburban Station.  Personally, I would go to the Suburban Station, service is quicker, I was in and out in less than 10 minutes.  Finding the location at Suburban Station will be tricky, so ask a SEPTA employee where it is!  The passes are good for two years.

There are  two reasons to go to their headquarters at 1234 Market Street.  One is because the company store is located there, and it is offers an extensive array of trinkets you can buy!  Secondly, they have a PCC car on display in the "basement" floor.  The 13th Street station for the MF EL and the Surface Subway lines gets you here.

The SEPTA Headquarters on Market Street.

The SEPTA system is extensive..... SEPTA's selection of maps is at:

A nice personal SEPTA website with a really good selection of maps is:

Although SEPTA has a fairly liberal photo policy, the SEPTA police will stop you and take your name and address info down if they even see you running around with a camera on their property - it happened to me in the 69th Street terminal after photographing the Kawasaki's out on the street.  At least they don't detain you for hours on end like METRA does!

As always, if you have something to contribute, please check my contact page.

If you have a particular question about transit or railfanning in the Philly area, there were several Yahoo groups for that purpose, but since Yahoo decided to give up the groups thing, most people have migrated over to GROUPS IO.  Consider joining the group(s) below, because there are many area experts on those groups (and I'm not one of them :-).
Here are some of them that may be of interest:


Main Map
Overall map of the SEPTA Rail Systems  (Includes PATCO)

Light Rail
          Route 100 - The Norristown Line

Streetcars and Trolleys
          Route 15
          Routes 101 and 102
          Routes 10, 11, 13, 34, 36 - the Surface Subway Lines

 Heavy Rail / Subway
          The Broad Street Line
          The Market-Frankford Line
          The PATCO system

Regional / Commuter Rail
          Regional Rail Lines

Trolley Busses / Trackless Trolleys / Electric Busses
          Trackless Trolley Routes

Transportation Centers and.....
          SEPTA's 69th St Terminal
          SEPTA's Frankford Transportation Center
          SEPTA's Norristown Transportation Center
          SEPTA's Darby Transportation Center
          AMTRAK's 30th St Station
          ZOO Interlocking

SEPTA's Photo Policy

I get a fair number of emails regarding SEPTA's photo policy, for it is difficult to find on their website.

If you want to go to their photo policy page, it is at:

For your convenience, I have "screen-captured" the important parts of the page in the two snapshots below.  In addition, I called the SEPTA police non-emergency number, and asked about the photo policy.  The fellow at the other end of the phone wasn't well versed in in, but did say that you can be stopped.  I was stopped at the 69th Street Terminal once after shooting some pictures of the Norristown Light Rail cars, but all they wanted to do was take down my name, address, yadda, yadda, yadda. The cops were professional and not arrogant as some can get. (they actually kinda found it humorous that someone would take a day off from work to waste their time taking pictures of stuff they see everyday :-),  so taking photos on SEPTA property shouldn't be a problem unless you're trying to do something outside the norm!

The officer that answered the phone did say that it was probably a good idea to call the last phone number listed (215-580-7842), just to stay ahead of the game, and then you can show any officer that you have already been in touch with them on taking pictures.

This was also confirmed by a call to the 580-7842 number on the last day of FEB2011, and the woman I spoke with said even if you are taking pictures for yourself, it's a good idea to call them at this number and let them know where you will be on their property, and on what date(s).  This way, they can send over an email to the police guys, and when the local cops grab you for taking pictures, they will call into HQ, and you will already be on record as to who you are and what your intentions are.  It may seem like a lot of trouble, but it could also keep you OUT of trouble!

  If you plan on taking pictures at the 30th Street station, even on the SEPTA platforms, it is AMTRAK property, so you should let them know you are there and what you are doing - When I was there, 2015, there wasn't any problem, in fact, one of the Amtrak police dudes (with a machine gun no less), showed us where other interesting and historical things were in the station.  But then, in 2016 when SEPTA was running MARC, Amtrak, and NJT equipment, a SEPTA management fellow came and told us to leave because someone above him was worried about the calls he was getting from people worried about us taking pictures...


SEPTA's Photography Guideline page can be found here:

and the updated version from April 2018:

I have updated this page today, because it would appear that SEPTA's police, and other security forces/people utilized by SEPTA are still clueless, for on April 16th, 2018, this story was told on one of the railfan blogs:

He also mentioned the article below, this article from a May 2004 issue of Time Magazine:


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert. 

Please Note:
 Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct. 

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

Floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


NEW 07/25/2007...... FEB03/2010, OCT20/2016, APR18/2018, OCT01/2021
Last Updated: 01-Oct-2021