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Historical Treasures Just a Trolley Trip Away

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Public Information Manager

The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Betsy Ross House, the Museum of Art's "Rocky Steps" - these are some sites that come to come to mind when one thinks of Philadelphia tourism. But there are many more hidden historical "gems" located throughout the Greater Philadelphia Region that are also accessible via SEPTA. And for the 10th year, OcTrolley Fest will show the public how they can reach these places while letting the Authority take them there.

OcTrolley Fest is organized by Darby Borough residents, historians and transit enthusiasts John and Jan Haigis. The 10th anniversary edition will be held on Saturday, October 11. "OcTrolleyFest started in 2005 as a celebration of transportation heritage and community, centering on our region's oldest line still operating over its original route [the Route 11 Trolley to Darby, which started as a horse car line in 1858]," said John. "In past years, we chartered one of SEPTA's PCCII trolleys to make the loop between Darby, Yeadon and Southwest Philadelphia with guided tours and information about the many historic sites along the route." This year, OcTrolley Fest participants will learn how they can use SEPTA's trolleys and other modes to discover not-so-typical historical spots throughout the Philadelphia region.

Using SEPTA's One Day Convenience Passes, which are good for up to eight transit rides in one day and cost $8, OcTrolley Fest goers can join tour guides to visit a myriad of destinations, such as Collindale (using the Route 102), Smedley Park in Springfield (Route 101) and the Swedish Cabin (Route 102). "We are holding OcTrolley Fest during Columbus Day Weekend and showing the public how they can 'Discover a New (and Old) World on a Trolley'," said John.

OcTrolley Fest attendees can gather at Darby Transportation Center (9th and Main Streets in Darby Borough) at 9:30 a.m. to travel via trolley and Market Frankford Line to 69th Street Transportation Center or meet in the Great Hall at 69th Street Transportation Center at 10:30 a.m. Following music, history and "Bubble Wrap Trolley Stomp" fun, the group will depart at 11 a.m. on a variety of tours. Following an a la cart lunch, the afternoon "tours de trolley" will leave from 69th Street at 1:30 p.m. to travel to Bartram's Garden (Route 36), Woodlands (Routes 11, 13 and 36), the Philadelphia Zoo (Route 15) and other area attractions.

While OcTrolley Fest is a once-a-year party, the goal of the event is to demonstrate how everyday can be a celebration of "transportation, heritage and community", as there are many unique destinations to explore using SEPTA trolleys. Details on OcTrolley Fest and suggestions for historical stops are available on the OcTrolleyFest website.

The Route 101 to Media can be the start of many interesting journeys via SEPTA trolley.

The Route 11 travels from Center City to Darby, passing numerous historical spots.

The Route 15 passes the Philadelphia Zoo on Girard Avenue.

OcTrolley Fest is organized by transit enthusiasts and historians John and Jan Hagis.