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"Tour de Trolley"

Heather Redfern
SEPTA Public Information Manager

The streetcar has been a catalyst of travel and tourism in the Greater Philadelphia region since the 1800s, transporting residents and visitors to work, shopping and vacation destinations throughout the Delaware Valley for more than 150 years. OcTrolley Fest, an annual celebration of all things light rail, educates the public on how trolleys are a significant link to the past and present of Philadelphia transportation.

Organized by Darby Borough residents, historians and transit enthusiasts John and Jan Haigis, OcTrolley Fest will observe its ninth anniversary on Saturday, October 12. This year, the Hagises are encouraging the public to ride SEPTA's trolleys to discover historical spots throughout the Philadelphia region. "We have a remarkable and possibly quite unique intermodal system that can get people almost anywhere in the Delaware Valley," said John. "At its core is a light rail system that connects with a variety of historical sites. This is a resource we do not yet fully recognize or utilize. We recently took the [Route] 36 out to Bartram's Garden and were amazed at how easy it was from City Hall."

Using SEPTA's One Day Convenience Passes, which are good for up to eight transit rides in one day and cost $8, OcTrolley Fest goers can join tour guides to visit a myriad of not-so-typical tourist destinations, such as the Aldan Trolley Stop Museum (using the Route 102), the Minshall House in Media (Route 101) and the Grange House (Norristown High Speed Line). "These places are accessible by light rail every day," said Haigis. "You can discover a new (and old) world on a trolley."

OcTrolley Fest will kick off at 10 a.m. in Darby, with guests stopping at the Darby Fire Co. 1 (one of the country's oldest volunteer fire companies), Sharon Savings Bank to see this year's art contest entries and the Darby Library for scarecrow making. Groups will then depart for 69th Street Transportation Center to begin their "tours de trolley". Information about OcTrolley Fest is available here.

While OcTrolley Fest is a one-day transportation treasure trove, there are many unique destinations that are accessible via SEPTA trolleys, including the Philadelphia Zoo (Route 15), Eden Cemetery (Route 11), the Swedish Cabin (Route 102) and the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (Route 36). Details on these and additional suggestions for historical stops are also available on the OcTrolleyFest website.

SEPTA's Route 13 travels to Yeadon, home of Graceland Cemetery, the final resting place of 1,500 Civil War soldiers.

Passengers can head to the Minshall House in Media on the Route 101 trolley. The Route 101 is celebrating its 100th year of service.

Even the Norristown High Speed Line gets involved in OcTrolley Fest, transporting guests to the Grange House.

Historians and transit enthusiasts John and Jan Hagis are the organizers and hosts of OcTrolley Fest.