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SEPTA trolley tunnel will close for 16 days starting Friday. Here’s what to know about the service changes.

Since 2012, the inconvenient ritual has meant service changes for the many passengers who regularly board the trolleys. Here's how to navigate the city during the 16 days of work.

SEPTA trolleys enter tunnel at trolley stop at 40th and Baltimore on Thursday, July 6, 2023. Friday, SEPTA starts “2024 Trolley Tunnel Blitz.”
SEPTA trolleys enter tunnel at trolley stop at 40th and Baltimore on Thursday, July 6, 2023. Friday, SEPTA starts “2024 Trolley Tunnel Blitz.”Read moreAlejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer

In a yearly tradition, SEPTA’s trolley tunnel is about to get blitzed.

Starting Friday at 10 p.m., the tunnel will close for 16 days of maintenance, replacements, station upgrades, and cleaning, stopping the 600 vehicles that carry passengers on five trolley lines underneath Center City each day. The trolley tunnel will reopen on July 29 at 6 a.m.

SEPTA’s 2024 Trolley Tunnel Blitz, the closure’s official name, will mark 12 consecutive years of summer work.

Trolley Routes 10, 11, 13, 34, and 36 will be disrupted, but there are ways to navigate the service changes.

How can trolley riders get around during this time?

All of the subway-surface trolley lines will stop at the 40th Street portal at Market Street. From here, passengers can transfer to the Market-Frankford Line for travel to Center City, according to a SEPTA statement. For travel to University City and Southwest Philadelphia, SEPTA says to board the MFL at 13th Street and take it to the 40th Street portal to connect with one of the five trolley lines.

Trolleys will also pick up and drop off people at any bus stop along the diversion route, which can be seen on SEPTA’s website.

After midnight, passengers will need to use SEPTA’s Night Owl Bus Service, which follows the Market-Frankford Line’s route and makes the same stops.

What work is being done?

SEPTA crews will work 24/7 to replace worn tracks and overhead contact wires through the system, clean and flush pipes and drains, maintain the signal system, deep clean and repaint all stations, and fix and upgrade lighting.

This year will also help the transportation organization further prepare for its trolley modernization project, which will “transform the nation’s largest trolley network into an accessible, fast, and easy-to-use system,” SEPTA CEO and general manager Leslie S. Richards said in the statement.

Why is the trolley tunnel work being done now?

SEPTA crews will work now because ridership is “traditionally lower” in the summer, the statement said. The maintenance and repairs are being done to limit outages throughout the year, according to Richards.