SEPTA Number 10 Time Machine.

34 years; 36th Street, Philadelphia.

Way back in August 1980, my father, brother Sean and I visited Philadelphia and stayed in a hotel near the 36th Street portal for SEPTA’s number 10 surface-subway streetcar. Today this is the Sheraton Hotel, I can’t remember what it was back then.

So, on a hot summer’s afternoon, I was on the corner of 36th and Market Street and exposed a Kodachrome slide of an outbound PCC working the number 10 route. PCC’s were my favorite types of streetcars, and I was glad to have caught one on film.

I sent the Kodachrome to Fairlawn, New Jersey. The slides came back in a yellow cardboard box. I labeled this one ‘SEPTA PCC’ and filed it away. Later, trailing views of PCC’s didn’t make my “A-list,” and so for many years I left the photograph un-attended and un-projected.

Back in August 1980, a 13 year old tourist snapped this view of a SEPTA PCC working the number 10 streetcar line. Exposed on Kodachrome 64 slide film with a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar Lens.
Back in August 1980, a 13 year old tourist snapped this view of a SEPTA PCC working the number 10 streetcar line. Exposed on Kodachrome 64 slide film with a Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar Lens.

Moving forward: In 1997, Sean moved to Philadelphia. And, during the last 34 years the area along the Route 10 streetcar line has evolved. In early November 2014, while searching for something else, I came across the old slide, which I scanned with my Epson V600 scanner. What was once mundane, now seemed historic.

In mid-December, Sean and I revisited 36th Street. While, I’ve taken the trolley in recent years, this was the first time since 1980 that I made photographs at this location.

I still have the old Leica, but Kodachrome has gone the way of the Dodo.

Perhaps next summer, we’ll go back to the exact spot and make a proper ‘now and then’ image in the right light.

On the evening of December 15, 2014, a SEPTA streetcar turns the corner onto 36th Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
On the evening of December 15, 2014, a SEPTA streetcar turns the corner onto 36th Street. This view is about one block south of the location where I made my August 1980 color slide (above) Lumix LX7 photo.
On the evening of December 15, 2014, a SEPTA streetcar navigates 36th Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
On the evening of December 15, 2014, a SEPTA streetcar navigates 36th Street. Lumix LX7 photo.
An in bound SEPTA streetcar catches the sun as it turns onto 36th Street. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An in-bound SEPTA streetcar catches the sun as it turns onto 36th Street. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An in-bound SEPTA on 36th Street. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.
An in-bound SEPTA on 36th Street. Canon EOS 7D with 200mm lens.

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4 thoughts on “SEPTA Number 10 Time Machine.”

  1. Poorly worded question on my part. The light I was refering to is on the roof of 9084. Similar to what a breakdown or bin lorry would have. Seems strange on a tram.

    Mark

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