How the Main Line Made a Permanent Mark on Philadelphia Commuters

Suburban Station
Image via Jessica Griffin, Philadelphia Inquirer.

While some might find it confusing that a structure in the heart of Philadelphia carries the name Suburban Station, there is a good reason for it that can be found nearby, writes Katherine Nails for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Broad Street Suburban Station opened at 16th Street and Pennsylvania Boulevard on Sept. 28, 1930.

It was the city’s terminus for suburban electric trains operated by Pennsylvania Railroad. Instead of being named for where the trains ended up, it was named for where the trains arrived from.

Several stops on the Main Line fed the station, including Bryn Mawr and Haverford. The trains came from other suburban towns in surrounding locales as well: Norristown, Villanova, Paoli, Malvern, Devon. People in the suburbs could hop on the train for a quick shopping trip to the city.

Now, it’s a way of life.

These lines were a precursor to SEPTA’s Regional Rail system, which has kept its hub-and spoke-model largely unchanged since the early 1900s. The routes remain the same as they were 100 years ago, with the sole exception of a commuter rail tunnel added under Center City in 1984.

To this day, Suburban Station continues to serve as one of the central hubs in Philadelphia for commuter trains.

Read more about Suburban Station in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

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