Elevator dig unearths abandoned Philadelphia subway station

Workers building a new elevator for a PATCO station have unearthed some forgotten Philadelphia history. 

We all know about the Market-Frankford, and Broad Street subway lines, but few people know that in the early 1900’s construction began on a Locust Street line.

Workers digging a new elevator shaft found a wall from an old station, says Tim Ireland of the Delaware River Port Authority, which runs PATCO.

“The line was never completed, because the city changed its subway footprint,” said Ireland. “In the 1930’s the tunnel was supposed to be destroyed but one part that was left standing.”

Ireland says PATCO had to do historical research to make sure it wasn’t something that had to be preserved.

Since figuring out the wall’s history, Ireland says it was demolished. Construction of the PATCO elevator should be completed some time this spring.

Ireland says PATCO has two mothballed stations underneath the Ben Franklin Bridge that passengers have never set foot in.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.