The abandoned stop beneath Franklin Square may find new life as a transportation hub for Phila.'s evolving waterfront.
By Paul Nussbaum
The long-slumbering ghost station under Franklin Square, sealed in the era of Frank Rizzo and Rocky II, may be shaken awake, dusted off, and put back to work.
Silent dark hallways now blocked with plywood may echo with commuters' footsteps once again. Stairways that end in concrete slabs may be reopened to daylight. And the gaudy orange foyer that only a '70s decorator could love may get a 21st-century face-lift.
A proposed expansion of PATCO rail service could press the 71-year-old subterranean station back into service. And even if PATCO doesn't extend its lines, the changing face of Philadelphia above the ground could mean new life beneath the city, too.
The subway station, built in 1936, opened intermittently and last used in 1979, lies beneath newly refurbished Franklin Square at Sixth and Race Streets. There, a fountain, carousel and miniature golf course have brought new life to the once-seedy park that was one of William Penn's original five squares.
The station's platforms, with their green and white tile walls, can still be glimpsed dimly from passing trains, a tantalizing view in a time tunnel. But the interior that resembles its Broad Street Subway cousins, and the orange foyer with its old fare lists (35 cents to Philadelphia stations, 75 cents to Lindenwold), and the multilingual instructions on "How To Go PATCO" are hidden from view.