Tuesday, October 25, 2005


It hasn't exactly been a good month for riders on the subway-surface lines, particularly in Southwest Philly...

On September 27, 9072, working a westbound 13 trip, was involved in an accident with a tar truck at 48-Chester. The incident occured shortly after 17:00, according to the Inquirer.

Police and a witness said the truck ran through a stop sign at high speed as it headed south on 48th, apparently trying to beat the westbound trolley through the intersection. "He tries to swing around [the trolley], but he couldn't make it," said witness Kalik Lance, 29, who was sitting outside his apartment building at 4725 Chester when the accident happened. The truck scraped the front of the trolley, then flipped, taking the kettle along with it. At that point, hot tar spewed against the front doors of the trolley, leaving a sheen of molten tar on the street.

"Good thing those doors were closed," said a police sergeant coordinating cleanup operations at the scene last night. SEPTA workers using jackhammers had to forcibly cut the hardened tar from the track rails while others using scrappers pried it from the street and from the area between the rails.

Police said 65 passengers were on the trolley. They all walked off the conveyance via the rear door, with the operator the last to leave. Damage to the trolley, which included a broken head lamp, appeared minor. It did not derail. No names were immediately released. It was unclear whether citations would be filed.

The day before, a shooting occured on the 36. At around 05:00, the victim boarded an inbound 36 streetcar from Island Road loop to 40-Market. The suspect got up from his seat shortly thereafter, shooting the passenger point blank. The passenger died sometime later. It's unknown as to whether the suspect was apprehended. There wasn't any service on the 36 until 07:00, since the Elmwood Avenue section of the depot was closed off.

A second homicide took place on the 13 on October 6. According to the Inky:

Yeadon police said a man, whom they did not identify, and the assailant boarded a SEPTA trolley at 58th Street and Chester Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia. When the trolley stopped at Chester Avenue and Church Lane in Yeadon about 8:40 p.m., the suspect attacked the victim, stabbing him with a knife repeatedly, police said. The suspect fled on foot. The victim died at a local hospital.

The suspect was described as 25 to 30 years old, 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-1, with a slim build and a light mustache, wearing a white T-shirt, gray sweatpants, and black sneakers. Anyone with information is asked to call Yeadon police at 610-259-1228.

Of course the system is still safe. Maybe once SEPTA finally installs those cameras at its stations, they'll get around to adding cameras to the vehicle fleet. But, that would probably be asking too much...

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