The PATCO Ghost Station

If you’ve ever taken the PATCO speed line over to Philadelphia, you’ll notice one annoying thing: The first stop you can get off at in Philadelphia is 8th and Market. What about those of us living it up in swanky Society Hill? Take the El? We dare not wait another 5 minutes. But since I was a child, I have always wondered about the infamous “Franklin Square” PATCO stop. The station has dim lighting and the train never stops at the abandoned station. It has a creepy glow and looks like it’s out of a movie like Underworld or something similar. However, it would also be a very useful stop for some of us.

But alas, I have never found the above-ground entrance to this subway stop for PATCO. Does anyone know where the Franklin Square entrances are? I’m dying to check them out and to see how convienient they would have been.

2 Comments so far

  1. albert (unregistered) on February 24th, 2006 @ 9:03 am

    inside the ben franklin bridge. i saw a special on it on whyy

  2. James (unregistered) on February 25th, 2006 @ 3:50 am

    The Franklin Square entrances are not inside the Ben Franklin Bridge, but were actually nearer the square itself, long since relegated to being the forgotten stepchild of Philadelphia’s original five squares. I believe they were somewhere around where the “lightening bolt” sculpture now stands–roughly 6th and Race.

    The stations inside the Ben Franklin Bridge anchoring houses were actually installed for a never-built trolley line that was to run over the bridge. As it happened, the then-“Bridge Line” (that being the subway line that ran as far as the Broadway stop in Camden and was later incorporated into the PATCO line in 1969) served the cross-bridge traffic adequately, and the trolley line was never installed.

    The Franklin Square station was reopened for a short time around the bicentennial, but has been closed since–now 30 years. What the planners of the Ben Franklin Bridge didn’t realize that the bridge itself would be the undoing of Franklin Square–the area around the station became a no-mans land as improved road access to the bridge became demanded, resulting ultimately in the Vine Street Expressway. The development of the roadways effectively turned Franklin Square into a large median for bridge traffic.

    Also, on a side note, according to Google Earth it’s 0.33 miles from 6th and Race to 6th and Market, while it is 0.20 miles from 8th and Market to 6th and Market (in keeping with the 0.1 miles per numbered street rule in Philadelphia). Therefore, it would most certainly be a longer walk for anyone going to Society Hill–or any location south of Market, for that matter–to use the Franklin Square station. Pretty much the only people for whom it would be a shorter walk are those living north of Arch St.–i.e. part of Old City, plus Northern Liberties. I would imagine anyone further north than NoLibs would likely be transferring to the El at 8th anyhow for their ride up to Girard. What would be beneficial about reopening the station, however, is that it could act as a catalyst for the otherwise languishing Franklin Square–perhaps a better catalyst than the questionable plans for a miniature golf course and a carrousel. What the area needs aren’t gimmicks–just access and nearby residents. That’s my spiel.


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