Suburban Station

Suburban Station is an art deco office building and underground commuter rail station in Penn Center, Philadelphia. Its official SEPTA address is 16th Street and JFK Boulevard.[2] The station is owned and operated by SEPTA and is one of the three core Center City stations on SEPTA Regional Rail. The station was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad to replace the original Broad Street Station and opened on September 28, 1930.

Suburban Station
Suburban Station Facade.jpg
Front entrance of Suburban Station
Location16th Street & JFK Boulevard
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Owned bySEPTA
Line(s)SEPTA Main Line
Platforms5 island platforms
ConnectionsCity Bus SEPTA City Bus: 2, 4, 16, 17, 27, 31, 32, 33, 38, 44, 48, 62
Suburban Bus SEPTA Suburban Bus: 124, 125
Disabled accessYes
Other information
Fare zoneC
OpenedSeptember 28, 1930 (replaced Broad Street station)
RebuiltJanuary 9, 2007 (completion)
Previous namesPenn Center Station
201324,198 (Weekday)
Preceding station SEPTA.svg SEPTA Following station
30th Street Station
toward Airport
Airport Line Jefferson
toward Glenside
30th Street Station Chestnut Hill West Line Jefferson
30th Street Station
toward Elwyn
Media/Elwyn Line
30th Street Station
toward Thorndale
Paoli/​Thorndale Line
30th Street Station
toward Trenton
Trenton Line
30th Street Station
toward Newark
Wilmington/​Newark Line
30th Street Station
toward Cynwyd
Cynwyd Line Terminus
30th Street Station
Chestnut Hill East Line Jefferson
Fox Chase Line Jefferson
toward Fox Chase
Lansdale/​Doylestown Line Jefferson
toward Doylestown
30th Street Station Manayunk/​Norristown Line Jefferson
Warminster Line Jefferson
toward Warminster
West Trenton Line Jefferson
Former services
Preceding station BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak Following station
Philadelphia–30th Street Chesapeake
Philadelphia–30th Street
toward Harrisburg
Keystone Service
Preceding station Pennsylvania Railroad Following station
toward Paoli
Paoli Line Terminus
Philadelphia Schuylkill Branch
Philadelphia West Chester Branch
toward Wilmington
Wilmington Line
Philadelphia Chestnut Hill Line
toward Trenton
Trenton Line
Suburban Station Building
Suburban Station is located in Philadelphia
Suburban Station
Suburban Station is located in Pennsylvania
Suburban Station
Suburban Station is located in the United States
Suburban Station
Location1617 John F. Kennedy Blvd.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Coordinates39°57′15.30″N 75°10′1.2″W / 39.9542500°N 75.167000°W / 39.9542500; -75.167000Coordinates: 39°57′15.30″N 75°10′1.2″W / 39.9542500°N 75.167000°W / 39.9542500; -75.167000
ArchitectGraham, Anderson, Probst & White; Stewart, Joseph, & Co.
Architectural styleArt Deco
NRHP reference No.85001962[1]
Added to NRHPSeptember 05, 1985


The station opened as a stub-end terminal for Pennsylvania Railroad commuter trains serving Center City Philadelphia, intended to replace the above-ground Broad Street Station in this function. The station's full name was originally Broad Street Suburban Station. It also includes a 21-story office tower, One Penn Center, which served as the headquarters of the PRR from 1930 to 1957.

When Amtrak took over the Silverliner Service from Penn Central in 1972, it was operated as a quasi-commuter service that terminated at Suburban Station.[3][4] The trains were named Keystone Service in 1981.[5][6] By the late 1980s, the Metroliners used for the service were in poor shape, but Amtrak had a shortage of AEM-7 locomotives due to wrecks. On February 1, 1988, Amtrak converted all Keystone Service trains to diesel power and terminated them on the lower level of 30th Street Station, as diesel-powered trains were not allowed in the tunnels to Suburban Station.[6] The change was listed as "temporary" on timetables starting on May 15, 1988 and lasting into 1990.[7][8]

Suburban Station was originally a stub-end terminal station with eight tracks and four platforms. Plans for a tunnel to link the Pennsylvania and Reading commuter lines were floated as early as the 1950s, but funding to seriously study the project did not start until SEPTA's formation in the late 1960s. The project languished in the 1970s for want of funding until federal money was appropriated during Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo's time in office. SEPTA took over operation of all commuter rail service in the Philadelphia area in 1983; it had previously contracted their operations to Conrail from 1976 to 1983 and to PRR and Reading from 1966 to 1976. A train crash occurred here on December 10th, 1986 when an Airport Line train rammed a stopped Chestnut Hill West train injuring 42 people. The operator tested positive for drugs.[9]

The long-awaited link between the old PRR and Reading lines, the Center City Commuter Connection, opened in 1984. It extended four tracks eastward to the new Market East Station (now Jefferson Station), widened two of the existing platforms, added a fifth platform and realigned the tracks. The recently renovated building above is also the core of the Penn Center office complex, and is known as One Penn Center at Suburban Station. The office building attained an Energy Star Rating in 2009.[10]

BLT Architects transformed Suburban Station in 2006. The station was redesigned to make navigation easier and adapt to current pedestrian traffic.[11] Upgrades included increased retail space, a reactivated and improved HVAC system, and a restored/refurbished waiting area. The station is now in full compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The Comcast Center, situated on the north half of its block near Arch Street, adds a "winter garden" on the south side, which serves as a new back entrance to the station, with the commuter rail tracks about 50 feet below street level.


All SEPTA Regional Rail trains stop at this station. All run through except those on the Cynwyd Line as well as some limited/express trains which terminate on one of the stub-end tracks at this station. Through trains usually change crews at this station.

The station has an extensive concourse level above track level. This concourse has SEPTA ticket offices, retail shops and restaurants, and access to other SEPTA stations and to several Center City buildings. The connections, via the large Center City Concourse, include the Broad Street Line at City Hall station, the Market-Frankford Line and Subway-Surface Lines at the 15th Street station, and the PATCO Speedline at 15–16th & Locust station.[12]

Station layoutEdit

The station has a total of 8 tracks and 5 island platforms.

G Street level Exit/entrance, buses
B1 Concourse Ticketing, shops, Downtown Link concourse to 15th Street/City Hall stations
Platform level
Track 7      Paoli/​Thorndale Line toward Thorndale (30th Street Station)
Island platform  
Track 6      Cynwyd Line toward Cynwyd (30th Street Station)
Track 5 No regular service
Island platform  
Track 4      Paoli/​Thorndale Line toward Thorndale (30th Street Station)
     Trenton Line toward Trenton (30th Street Station)
Island platform  
Track 3      Chestnut Hill West Line toward Chestnut Hill West (30th Street Station)
     Airport Line toward Airport (30th Street Station)
     Wilmington/​Newark Line toward Newark (30th Street Station)
     Media/Elwyn Line toward Elwyn (30th Street Station)
Track 2      Airport Line toward Glenside (Jefferson)
     Warminster Line toward Warminster (Jefferson)
     West Trenton Line toward West Trenton (Jefferson)
     Chestnut Hill East Line toward Chestnut Hill East (Jefferson)
Island platform  
Track 1      Fox Chase Line toward Fox Chase (Jefferson)
     Lansdale/​Doylestown Line toward Doylestown (Jefferson)
     Manayunk/​Norristown Line toward Norristown-Elm Street (Jefferson)
Island platform  
Track 0 No regular service



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ SEPTA | Suburban Station
  3. ^ Baer, Christopher T. (April 2015). "A GENERAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY ITS PREDECESSORS AND SUCCESSORS AND ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT: 1972" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society.
  4. ^ Nationwide Schedules of Intercity Passenger Service. National Railroad Passenger Corporation. October 29, 1972. p. 43 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  5. ^ Amtrak National Train Timetables. Amtrak. October 25, 1981. p. 22 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  6. ^ a b Baer, Christopher T. (April 2015). "A GENERAL CHRONOLOGY OF THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD COMPANY ITS PREDECESSORS AND SUCCESSORS AND ITS HISTORICAL CONTEXT: 1980-1989" (PDF). Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society.
  7. ^ Amtrak National Train Timetables. Amtrak. May 15, 1988. p. 65 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  8. ^ Amtrak National Train Timetables. Amtrak. April 1, 1990. p. 69 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  9. ^ Mark Fazlollah. "Notable SEPTA train accidents". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 15 September 2020.
  10. ^ "Suburban Station". Retrieved 8 May 2008.
  11. ^ BLTa Architects: Suburban Station

External linksEdit

  Media related to Suburban Station (SEPTA) at Wikimedia Commons