Trolley service in Philadelphia was interrupted over the weekend after a Jeep Grand Cherokee was discovered inside a tunnel that’s usually reserved for the trolley cars. Employees with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority found the Jeep early on Saturday, around 05:00 a.m., and it took SEPTA crews a couple of hours to pull it out of the tunnel, per local reports.
It took another hour to inspect the trolley tracks and make sure that the trolleys could safely resume service in the tunnel, according to PBS affiliate WHYY.
It was a relatively short-lived interruption, all things considered. But there are no reports yet that have identified the driver or even why the fourth-generation Grand Cherokee ended up inside the tunnel in the first place, as seen here from images posted by twitter user @rudetanks.
There is actual (unreleased) footage of the Jeep entering the tunnel at the intersection of Baltimore and Woodland Avenues via the 40th Street portal, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer. That entrance is clearly marked with more than one sign warning drivers not to enter, but follow the timeline here.
Service was suspended for three hours from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning. Hmm. That means the Jeep Grand Cherokee could have made it into the tunnel sometime after midnight on Friday, in the, let’s charitably say groggiest hours of the morning when signs that say NO ENTRANCE are hard to read. I think that tracks.
A Spokesperson for SEPTA, Andrew Busch, said that the incident was unusual because of just how far the Jeep made it into trolley portal. From WHYY:
Drivers mistakenly enter rail tunnels from time to time throughout the system, he added, though said it happens more on regional rail lines outside the city.
Of a car getting into a University City tunnel, he said, “I can’t remember the last time that’s happened … You would really have to go out of your way to do that.”
Ironically, SEPTA had announced closures for the weekend elsewhere in Philly that would also interrupt service for a so-called “cleaning blitz.” Those closures were supposed to let employees “focus on cleaning efforts like power washing and the removal of litter, debris, and graffiti,” but I’m pretty sure a whole Jeep Grand Cherokee isn’t what officials meant.