Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Experience The Sights And Sounds of SEPTA

While in Center City visiting traditional sites, such as Macy's Holiday Light Show and Dickens' Village or the German Christmas Village at City Hall, visitors might also consider walking around the corner and down the block to SEPTA. Yes SEPTA. The Transit Store, the elaborate train set showcased in front of the store and the vintage trolley featured in the building's concourse level are just some of the reasons SEPTA should be added to the list of must-see holiday places to visit.

The Transit Gift Store features a wide array of transit merchandise and gifts, including transit themed calendars, books, films, toys and collectables, as well as T-shirts, turtlenecks and ski hats imprinted with the SEPTA logo.

Models trains are the store's best sellers and the Transit store has, most likely, the largest collection of train sets in stock in the area. A special parent favorite is the hands-on Thomas the Tank play table for children to keep themselves occupied while their parents enjoy a peaceful shopping experience.

The signature rail-related merchandise on sale in the store is memorabilia once used on the system. Some of the unique and popular items include equipment and signs from retired vehicles. The store currently offers signs from the previous N5 Norristown High Speed Line, now known as the Norristown High Speed Line. Interesting items previously sold included roll signs from trolleys, fare boxes and parts from the old M3 El cars such as signs, light fixtures and seats.

Senior Sales Development Specialist Peggy Maguire has been managing the transit store for more than six of her 13 years with SEPTA. Maguire reports, "Our staff are fanatics about the rails and can make helpful suggestions on gifts for any age." Over the years, Maguire says the store has seen a change in its customer needs. "We now have a diverse customer market and product base. Two years ago, we introduced gift ware and boutique items to appeal to the non-transit shopper as well," Maguire said. "Our customers are now able to purchase gifts for everyone on their list, something for everyone." Novelty items now sold in the store include scarves, jewelry, handbags and picture frames.

Both the store and the large lobby area of the SEPTA headquarters building feature numerous special train displays, such as an exhibit chronicling the 100 Years of the Market-Frankford Line and the history of trolleys in the Philadelphia area. The intricate train set displayed in front of the store was originally completed in 2004 by an outside firm. However, in 2007, George Rice, a retired SEPTA employee now working part-time in the store, revamped the entire display. Although not reminiscent of a particular SEPTA line, it highlights a bustling business district with outlining suburbs. SEPTA is planning to add another set to its lobby in March 2010.

Rounding off the interesting places to visit at SEPTA is the vintage trolley featured on the concourse level. The PTC (Philadelphia Transportation Company) trolley once in service in the 1900's along Girard Avenue was refurbished prior to retiring to its current home. The trolley is popular for its historic appreciation, while kids just enjoy exploring it.

The Transit Gift Store.

Peggy Maguire assists a Transit store customer.

Exhibit chronicling the 100 years of the Market-Frankford Line and history of trolleys.

Lobby train set display.

Visitor boarding vintage trolley.