Todd's Railfan Guide to

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

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.

SEPTA, which covers Philadelphia PA and the surrounding suburbs, has one of the more diverse transit systems around, with Light Rail, Heavy Rail, trolleybuses, busses, and several different styles of streetcars.  They stopped using some of their trolley bus line several years ago.  :-(  Streetcars come in three varieties, updated PCC cars, and Kawasaki's with both poles (on most of the routes) and pantograph's (on routes 101 and 102).  The Norristown Light Rail line is fairly unique in the sense that it uses third rail for power, which is usually reserved for heavy rail systems.

SEPTA has two large transit centers: 30th Street which handles mainly Commuter Trains and the Market St Subway Line (Amtrak is also co-located in the main station), 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.

The SEPTA system is extensive..... SEPTA's selection of maps is at: http://www.septa.org/maps.html.

A nice personal SEPTA website with a really good selection of maps is: http://www.phillytrolley.org

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 are several Yahoo groups for that purpose,
please check 'em out first cause 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:


 the PATCO system

Overall 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

Regional / Commuter Rail

 Regional Rail Lines

Trolley Busses / Trackless Trolleys / Electric Busses

 Trackless Trolley Routes

Transportation Centers and.....

 SEPTA's 69th St Tranportation 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: http://www.septa.org/policy/film.html

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!

PLEASE NOTE:  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 - the last time 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.


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  My webpages reflect what I find on the topic of the page.  This is something I have fun with while trying to help others.  My webpages are an attempt at putting everything I can find of the subject in one convenient place.  There are plenty of other good websites to help me in this effort, and they are listed in the links section on my indexa page, or as needed on individual pages.  Please do not write to me about something that may be incorrect, and then hound the heck out of me if I do not respond to you in the manner you would like.  I operate on the "Golden Rule Principle", and if you are not familiar with it, please acquaint yourself with how to treat people by reading Mathew 7:12 (among others, the principle exists in almost every religion).  If you contact me (like some do, hi Paul) and try to make it a "non-fun" thing and start with the name calling, your name will go into my spambox list! :-)

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, myindexa 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.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, especially if restaurants or gas stations open, close, or change names.  Most of my maps are a result of personal observation after visiting these locations.  I have always felt that a picture is worth a thousand words", and I feel annotated maps such as the ones I work up do the same justice for the railfan over a simple text description of the area.  Since the main focus of my website is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  Since most of us railheads don't have just trains as a hobby, I have also tried to point out where other interesting sites of the area are.... things like fire stations, neat bridges, or other significant historical or geographical feature.  While some may feel they shouldn't be included, these other things tend to make MY trips a lot more interesting.... stuff like where the C&O Canal has a bridge going over a river (the Monocacy Aqueduct) between Point of Rocks and Gaithersburg MD, it's way cool to realize this bridge to support a water "road" over a river was built in the 1830's!!!

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.

By the way, 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...... 2/2010
Last Updated: 02-May-2016