Suburban Station

Last updated
SEPTA Regional Rail station
Suburban Station Facade.jpg
Front entrance of Suburban Station
Location16th Street & JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Owned by SEPTA
Line(s) SEPTA Main Line
Platforms5 island platforms
Connections Aiga bus trans.svg SEPTA City Bus : 2, 4, 16, 17, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 44, 48, 62
Aiga bus trans.svg SEPTA Suburban Bus : 124, 125
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Fare zoneC
OpenedSeptember 28, 1930 (replaced Broad Street station)
RebuiltJanuary 9, 2007 (completion)
Previous namesPenn Center Station
Passengers (2013)24,198 (Weekday)
Preceding station SEPTA.svg SEPTA Following station
30th Street Station
toward Airport
Airport Line Jefferson
toward Glenside
30th Street Station Chestnut Hill West Line Jefferson
30th Street Station
toward Elwyn
Media/Elwyn Line
30th Street Station
toward Thorndale
Paoli/Thorndale Line
30th Street Station
toward Trenton
Trenton Line
30th Street Station
toward Newark
Wilmington/Newark Line
30th Street Station
toward Cynwyd
Cynwyd Line Terminus
30th Street Station
Chestnut Hill East Line Jefferson
Fox Chase Line Jefferson
toward Fox Chase
Lansdale/Doylestown Line Jefferson
toward Doylestown
30th Street Station Manayunk/Norristown Line Jefferson
toward Elm Street
Warminster Line Jefferson
toward Warminster
West Trenton Line Jefferson
toward West Trenton
Former services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
toward Harrisburg
Keystone Service
Until 1988
Preceding station Pennsylvania Railroad Following station
toward Paoli
Paoli Line Terminus
toward Hawes Avenue
Schuylkill Branch
toward West Chester
West Chester Branch
toward Wilmington
Wilmington Line
Philadelphia Chestnut Hill Line
toward Trenton
Trenton Line
Suburban Station Building
Street map of Philadelphia and surrounding area.png
Red pog.svg
USA Pennsylvania location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Usa edcp location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates 39°57′15.30″N75°10′1.2″W / 39.9542500°N 75.167000°W / 39.9542500; -75.167000 Coordinates: 39°57′15.30″N75°10′1.2″W / 39.9542500°N 75.167000°W / 39.9542500; -75.167000
Architect Graham, Anderson, Probst & White; Stewart, Joseph, & Co.
Architectural styleArt Deco
NRHP reference # 85001962 [1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 05, 1985

Suburban Station is an art deco office building and underground commuter rail station in Penn Center, Philadelphia. Its official SEPTA address is 16th Street and JFK Boulevard. [2] The station is owned and operated by SEPTA and is one of the three core Center City stations on SEPTA Regional Rail. The station was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad to replace the original Broad Street Station and opened on September 28, 1930.

Commuter rail passenger rail transport service that primarily operates between a city center, and the middle to outer suburbs

Commuter rail, or suburban rail, is a passenger rail transport service that primarily operates within a metropolitan area, connecting commuters to a central city from adjacent suburbs or commuter towns. Generally commuter rail systems are considered heavy rail, using electrified or diesel trains. Distance charges or zone pricing may be used.

Penn Center, Philadelphia Neighborhood of Philadelphia in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, United States

Penn Center is the heart of Philadelphia's central business district. It takes its name from the nearly five million square foot office and retail complex it contains. It lies between 15th and 19th Streets, and between John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Market Street. It is credited with bringing Philadelphia into the era of modern office buildings.

Pennsylvania Route 3 state highway in Chester, Delaware, and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania, United States

Pennsylvania Route 3 is a 24.3-mile (39.1 km) state highway located in the southeastern portion of Pennsylvania. The route connects U.S. Route 322 Business in West Chester with PA 611 in Philadelphia. The route begins in downtown West Chester and heads east out of town as a one-way pair of streets. Between West Chester and Upper Darby Township, PA 3 follows a four-lane divided highway known as West Chester Pike through suburban areas. Along this stretch, the route passes through Edgmont, Newtown Square, Broomall, and Havertown. The route has an interchange with Interstate 476 (I-476) between Broomall and Havertown. Upon reaching Upper Darby, PA 3 heads into Philadelphia along Market Street. In Philadelphia, the route follows multiple one-way pairs, running along Chestnut Street and Walnut Street in West Philadelphia before heading into Center City Philadelphia along Market Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard and ending at Philadelphia City Hall.



The station opened as a stub-end terminal for Pennsylvania Railroad commuter trains serving Center City Philadelphia, intended to replace the above-ground Broad Street Station in this function. The station's full name was originally Broad Street Suburban Station. It also includes a 21-story office tower, One Penn Center, which served as the headquarters of the PRR from 1930 to 1957.

Pennsylvania Railroad Former American Class I railroad

The Pennsylvania Railroad was an American Class I railroad that was established in 1846 and was headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was so named because it was established in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Broad Street Station (Philadelphia) railway station in Philadelphia, United States

Broad Street Station at Broad & Market Streets was the primary passenger terminal for the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) in Philadelphia from early December 1881 to the 1950s. Located directly west of Philadelphia City Hall – 15th Street went underneath the station – the site is now occupied by the northwest section of Dilworth Park and the office towers of Penn Center.

When Amtrak took over the Silverliner Service from Penn Central in 1972, it was operated as a quasi-commuter service that terminated at Suburban Station. [3] [4] The trains were named Keystone Service in 1981. [5] [6] By the late 1980s, the Metroliners used for the service were in poor shape, but Amtrak had a shortage of AEM-7 locomotives due to wrecks. On February 1, 1988, Amtrak converted all Keystone Service trains to diesel power and terminated them on the lower level of 30th Street Station, as diesel-powered trains were not allowed in the tunnels to Suburban Station. [6] The change was listed as "temporary" on timetables starting on May 15, 1988 and lasting into 1990. [7] [8]

Amtrak Intercity rail operator in the United States

The National Railroad Passenger Corporation, doing business as Amtrak, is a passenger railroad service that provides medium- and long-distance intercity service in the contiguous United States and to nine Canadian cities.

<i>Keystone Service</i> rail transport

Amtrak's 195-mile (314 km) Keystone Service provides frequent regional passenger train service between the Harrisburg Transportation Center in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, running along the Philadelphia to Harrisburg Main Line. Most trains continue along the Northeast Corridor (NEC) to Pennsylvania Station in New York.

Budd Metroliner class of American electric multiple unit cars

The Budd Metroliner was a class of American electric multiple unit (EMU) railcar designed for first-class, high-speed service between New York City and Washington, D.C. on the Northeast Corridor. They were designed for operation up to 150 mph (240 km/h): what would have been the first high speed rail service in the Western Hemisphere. Although 164 mph (264 km/h) was reached during test runs, track conditions and electrical issues limited top speeds to between 100 mph (160 km/h) and 120 mph (190 km/h) in revenue service. The single-ended units were designed to be arranged in two-car sets, which were in turn coupled into four to eight-car trains.

Suburban Station was originally a stub-end terminal station with eight tracks and four platforms. Plans for a tunnel to link the Pennsylvania and Reading commuter lines were floated as early as the 1950s, but funding to seriously study the project did not start until SEPTA's formation in the late 1960s. The project languished in the 1970s for want of funding until federal money was appropriated during Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo's time in office. SEPTA took over operation of all commuter rail service in the Philadelphia area in 1983; it had previously contracted their operations to Conrail from 1976 to 1983 and to PRR and Reading from 1966 to 1976.

Reading Company transport company

The Reading Company was a company that was involved in the railroad industry in southeast Pennsylvania and neighboring states from 1924 until 1976.

Frank Rizzo American mayor

Francis Lazarro Rizzo, Sr. was an American police officer and politician. He served as Philadelphia police commissioner from 1968 to 1971 and mayor of Philadelphia from 1972 to 1980.

Conrail defunct American Class I railroad

Conrail was the primary Class I railroad in the Northeastern United States between 1976 and 1999. The trade name Conrail is a portmanteau based on the company's legal name, and while it no longer operates trains it continues to do business as an asset management and network services provider in three Shared Assets Areas that were excluded from the division of its operations during its acquisition by CSX Corporation and the Norfolk Southern Railway.

The long-awaited link between the old PRR and Reading lines, the Center City Commuter Connection, opened in 1984. It extended four tracks eastward to the new Market East Station (now Jefferson Station), widened two of the existing platforms, added a fifth platform and realigned the tracks. The recently renovated building above is also the core of the Penn Center office complex, and is known as One Penn Center at Suburban Station. The office building attained an Energy Star Rating in 2009. [9]

Center City Commuter Connection railway tunnel in Center City Philadelphia

The Center City Commuter Connection, commonly referred to as "the commuter tunnel", is a passenger railroad tunnel in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, built to connect the stub ends of the two separate regional commuter rail systems, originally operated by two rival railroad companies: the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Reading Company. All of the SEPTA Regional Rail lines except for the Cynwyd Line pass completely through the four-track tunnel, which contains two underground stations, Suburban Station and Jefferson Station, and the above-ground upper-level concourse for the east-west commuter lines serving 30th Street Station.

Energy Star certification mark

Energy Star is a program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that promotes energy efficiency. Energy Star provides information on the energy consumption of products and devices, using standardized methods. The Energy Star label, can be found on more than 75 different product categories, new homes, commercial buildings and industrial plants.

BLT Architects transformed Suburban Station in 2006. The station was redesigned to make navigation easier and adapt to current pedestrian traffic. [10] Upgrades included increased retail space, a reactivated and improved HVAC system, and a restored/refurbished waiting area. The station is now in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Comcast Center, situated on the north half of its block near Arch Street, adds a "winter garden" on the south side, which serves as a new back entrance to the station, with the commuter rail tracks about 50 feet below street level.

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 American law

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, and other characteristics illegal. In addition, unlike the Civil Rights Act, the ADA also requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.


All SEPTA Regional Rail trains stop at this station. All run through except those on the Cynwyd Line as well as some limited/express trains which terminate on one of the stub-end tracks at this station. Through trains usually change crews at this station.

The station has an extensive concourse level above track level. This concourse has SEPTA ticket offices, retail shops and restaurants, and access to other SEPTA stations and to several Center City buildings. The connections, via the large Center City Concourse, include the Broad Street Line at City Hall station, the Market-Frankford Line and Subway-Surface Lines at the 15th Street station, and the PATCO Speedline at 15–16th & Locust station. [11]

Station layout

B1ConcourseWaiting area, ticketing, shops, street access
Transfer to Market–Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, and Subway-Surface trolley lines
Track 0Limited use
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right
Track 1     Manayunk/Norristown Line toward Norristown (Jefferson)
     Fox Chase Line toward Fox Chase (Jefferson)
     Lansdale/Doylestown Line toward Lansdale, Link Belt, or Doylestown (Jefferson)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right
Track 2     Warminster Line toward Glenside or Warminster (Jefferson)
     West Trenton Line toward West Trenton (Jefferson)
     Chestnut Hill East Line toward Chestnut Hill East (Jefferson)
Track 3     Media/Elwyn Line toward Elwyn (30th Street)
     Wilmington/Newark Line toward Marcus Hook, Wilmington, or Newark (30th Street)
     Airport Line toward Airport (30th Street)
     Chestnut Hill West Line toward Chestnut Hill West (30th Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right
Track 4     Trenton Line toward Trenton (30th Street)
     Paoli/Thorndale Line toward Paoli, Malvern, or Thorndale (30th Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right
Track 5Limited use
Track 6     Cynwyd Line toward Cynwyd (30th Street)
Island platform, doors will open on the left, right
Track 7     Paoli/Thorndale Line toward Thorndale (30th Street Station)

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  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. SEPTA | Suburban Station
  4. Nationwide Schedules of Intercity Passenger Service. National Railroad Passenger Corporation. October 29, 1972. p. 43 via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  5. Amtrak National Train Timetables. Amtrak. October 25, 1981. p. 22 via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  6. 1 2 Baer, Christopher T. (April 2015). "A GENERAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY ITS PREDECESSORS AND SUCCESSORS AND ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT: 1980-1989" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society.
  7. Amtrak National Train Timetables. Amtrak. May 15, 1988. p. 65 via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  8. Amtrak National Train Timetables. Amtrak. April 1, 1990. p. 69 via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  9. "Suburban Station". Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  10. BLTa Architects: Suburban Station

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Suburban Station (SEPTA) at Wikimedia Commons