SEPTA last week celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Frankford section of the El with a ceremony at Frankford Transportation Center, 5233 Frankford Ave.
The El opened in 1907, with trains running 6 miles between 69th and Market streets in Upper Darby and City Hall.
The rest of the El, 7.5 miles of it, opened on Nov. 5, 1922, giving Northeast residents access to Center City.
Today, there are 220 cars that stop at 28 stations (25 of them ADA accessible), and it takes 45 minutes to ride the 13.5-mile route.
To mark the anniversary, Quaker City String Band performed, and there were remarks by Harry Garforth, a historian and former SEPTA manager of rail planning.
Also in attendance were SEPTA General Manager Leslie Richards, state Sen. Tina Tartaglione, state Rep. Joe Hohenstein and Bruce McKenzie, of the Historical Society of Frankford.
Tartaglione gave Richards a Senate citation, and suggested that SEPTA consider extending the El to Rhawn Street, as had been originally planned.
Hohenstein led the crowd in a rendition of Can’t Get to Heaven on the Frankford El.
Richards, wearing a 100th anniversary T-shirt, recalled that El rides cost 7 cents in 1922. Today, she said the El remains convenient and affordable, calling it the “workhorse” of SEPTA’s system.
“She looks pretty good for a hundred,” Richards said.
At the same time, Richards recognized challenges. She pointed to SCOPE, an acronym for a SEPTA initiative that stands for Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnership and Engagement. It’s a coordinated effort to connect “vulnerable” individuals with social services and provide a safe, clean transit system for riders and employees. ••