Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company

Throughout Philadelphia a dense network of street railways existed in the 1850's, and by 1880 the city led all American cities in the length of its horse-car lines. Eventually these were converted to cable cars in the 1880's and to electric trolleys in the 1890's. An important Philadelphia transportation development was the Market Street Subway, the city's first underground railway built in 1907. The Broad Street Subway was completed in the 1920's to expand the city's rapid transit system. By the 1930's, both subways had been extended in the city, and work on the Locust Street Subway had begun. By 1955 trackless trolleys had replaced the trolley cars on rails to relieve congestion in the business district. Mass transit was provided mainly by trolley or bus lines, which networked across the metropolitan area.

As for this particular line, Peter A.B. Widener and William Elkins Lukins were responsible for the company’s development. On December 4, 1879, they acquired a controlling interest in the Union Passenger Railway Company, 12,600 shares, which were purchased by a combination of individuals, principally composed of officers and stockholders of the Continental Passenger Railway Company, at $100.00 a share -- this was the nucleus to the formation of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company in 1882.

In 1940, the company became the Philadelphia Transportation Company. On September 30, 1968, the PTC was purchased by SEPTA (Southeastern Philadelphia Transportation Authority).

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