At 4:20am, the first passengers went through the new El turnstiles, making their way up one of two escalators directly to the platform (one of which was not operating, no surprise here). The first passenger to enter the station area was interviewed by Fox 29 and 6 ABC. (On a related note, if you noticed 5549 pulling away during the early morning or 10:00pm newscasts on Fox 29, that was my doing (sort of), as I pointed out the departure of that bus to the cameraman from Fox 29. You're welcome...)
At 4:39am, the first revenue train departed from the new El platform, operating closed door express to 15 St/City Hall, then all stops to 69 St. The train consisted of 1056, 1055, 1003, 1004, 1164, and 1164, and is normally a deadhead train to 15 St before entering service. At 4:49am, the first full all-stops revenue train departed from FTC, with 1195, 1996, 1121, 1122, 1198, and 1197 in the consist. At 5:24am, the first eastbound train from 15 St/City Hall arrived into FTC, with 1187, 1188, 1203, 1204, 1013, and 1014 in the trainset. A/B skip-stop service resumed shortly after 7:00am.
On the bus side, here are the first departures for each of the FTC routes (in chronological order):
- 4:02am ROUTE 14 - Neshaminy Mall: 5549/1052 block
- 4:05am ROUTE R - Wissahickon Transfer Center: 5292/2704 block
- 4:12am ROUTE 66 - Frankford Av/City Line: 5549/1052 block
- 4:20am ROUTE 73 - Richmond St/Westmoreland St: 5579/1451 block
- 4:39am ROUTE 3 - 33 St/Cecil B Moore Av: 3279/2201 block (scheduled for 4:35am)
- 4:40am ROUTE 20 - Knights Rd/Mechanicsville Rd: 5089/1070 block
- 5:00am ROUTE 5 - Front St/Market St: 5340/2251 block
- 5:02am ROUTE 67 - Bustleton Av/Verree Rd: 5360/1401 block (scheduled for 4:50am)
- 5:05am ROUTE 58 - Bustleton Av/County Line: 5582/1353 block
- 5:10am ROUTE 8 - Olney Terminal Express: 5286/2301 block
- 5:18am ROUTE 88 - Holme Av/Pennypack St: 5501/2501 block (scheduled for 5:15am)
- 5:22am ROUTE 19 - Grant Av/James St: 5549/1052 block (scheduled for 5:19am)
- 5:26am ROUTE 24 - Fox Chase: 5559/1271 block (scheduled for 5:26am)
- 5:45am ROUTE 25 - Pier 70/Delaware Av: 5511/2177 block
- 5:47am ROUTE 84 - Knights Rd/Academy Rd: 5363/1505 block (scheduled for 5:40am)
- 5:52am ROUTE 26 - Chetlen Av/Rittenhouse St: 5233/3086 block
As you can expect with a major event such as this, most high ranking managers from 1234 Market were out and about the terminal area directing and greeting passengers. And yes, even Fearless Leader made an appearance at the opening, while also giving seemingly rare interviews to reporters gathered in front of the Thriftway store at Frankford and Pratt. Despite the few buses that left late (part of the reasoning is that some operators aren't quite used to the new routing just yet), everything seemed to be running as smoothly as one can expect, which is a major accomplishment for an agency that seems to shoot itself in the foot more often than not.
OH, YES, THERE IS OTHER NEWS... A couple of quick hit news items, now that the giddyness of the FTC opening is out of my system...
- A federal judge upheld the right of TWU Local 234 President Jean Alexander to hire and fire staff as she feels fit. The Inquirer reports that the latest court ruling would "add to the factionalism" that has long divided TWU 234. With more than 7 months remaining before the current collective bargaining agreement expires, things are going to get very interesting...
- A water main break made life very miserable for residents in the People's Republic of Lower Merion and Radnor Twp on Wednesday. It was made even worse for P&W riders. The incident occured at around 6:00am Wednesday morning at County Line Rd near the Blue Route, as a 24-inch water main broke, spilling water and rocks onto the P&W right of way. A bus-bridge was deployed between Radnor and Norristown for most of the day, however single track service was restored by the PM peak.
- The last two R5 trains to Thorndale will be operating with nearly 15 minute delays for the next 6-8 weeks due to Amtrak replacing ties along the line. Service between Paoli and Thorndale will be impacted. (Which means that my commute for the next two months will royally suck...)
- Subway-surface trolleys will be operating "over the top" starting next week, as SEPTA replaces rail inside the subway-surface tunnel. At the same time, trolley service will be restored on the 34 along Baltimore Av.