A BABY who came into the world Tuesday afternoon wasn't born on either the right or the wrong side of the tracks - he was born on the tracks of SEPTA's Broad Street line.
SEPTA Police Officer Loyd Rodgers, a 12-year veteran, was in his second day of a new post at the Olney Transportation Center around 2:15 p.m. when he and another officer spotted a young woman coming up the escalator with a baby who he assumed was either very sick or a newborn.
"It was only as we approached, that we could see milky substances on it, and that was a dead giveaway that it was a newborn," Rodgers said.
The officers instructed the mother, Megan Rivers, 22, who had been holding the baby in her shirt, to sit down. They then took off her cotton hoodie and wrapped it around the baby.
He said Rivers told him she was riding the Broad Street Line from classes at a culinary-arts school when she began to have contractions around South Philadelphia.
"She said when she was ready to exit the train, she felt something come out, and she had no idea what it was, and she looked down and it was her baby," Rodgers said. "She said the baby just came out on his own. She was caught off-guard."
Rodgers said the umbilical cord was still intact when they approached Rivers.
"In my presence, the baby never cried and the mother never showed any signs of pain," he said.
"It was like a miracle at Olney Station."
As they waited for medics to arrive, a crowd gathered around mother and child and applauded, he said. Several people began taking pictures of the baby - including his mom, Rodgers said.
It was only when the baby was carried out of the Olney station into the cold air that he let out his first cry, Rodgers said.
Rivers, of Warminster, told Rodgers that the baby's father was in Turkey, but he was not sure whether the father was a resident of that country or a member of the armed forces.
Heather Redfern, SEPTA spokeswoman, said mother and baby were taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center and were doing fine.
When reached by phone Wednesday at the hospital, Rivers, who sounded sweet but tired, declined to speak about the birth, except to say: "I really don't want a big story or anything."
The child wasn't the first to be born aboard public transportation in the city, or the first to be helped into the world by a SEPTA police officer.
In 1990, a 7 1/2-pound baby boy named Tahir Alsbrooks was born in the back seat of a SEPTA bus on Lehigh Avenue to a 17-year-old mother on her way home from school.
On Christmas Day in 2007, SEPTA police Sgt. Steven Rocher was on his way to work when he heard a woman screaming on 18th Street near Lehigh Avenue and discovered she was in labor. He helped the woman and the child's father deliver the baby girl on the street.