I was born in 1965 into the current Lawndale/Burholme neighborhood I currently live in and who I remain a passionate steward of. My memory goes back to when I was a little boy in love with trains. It was the holiday season of 1968, 1969 or 1970 (either Thanksgiving or Christmas) and my Mom Mom, who lived down the street from us, wanted to take me, my brother and my Mom downtown to see the holiday exhibits and shop for presents. So the four of us proceeded to Cheltenham Station to wait for the train. Once on the train, we proceeded towards downtown. I was very much a little student of the city already enjoying every second I had to watch Philadelphia go by in a speedy way as I gazed intently out the train's window.
At that time, the 9th Street Line and the City Line were still active rail lines that received a myriad of trains, in-going and out-going, of mostly passenger traffic. My fascination with the train and The Reading Train Terminal were bubbling over, I remember. Once in the Reading Terminal, we four de-boarded and walked through the immense Terminal we all know too well now as a Convention Center.
I can still see the shadows the Terminal created, the windows of the Terminal in the structure's huge, vaulted rooftop and ceiling, the luggage carts in the walkways between tracks awaiting the bags of passengers, the train tracks themselves on all sides of me with several trains parked readying for departure and the lit backdrop of our destination next which was the Reading Terminal lobby and ticket booth section. The ticket booth lobby was extraordinary to me with its immense foyer and detailed, aqua-colored, ticket window booths sheathed in glass. What wonderful design this Station had. Around the perimeter of this beautiful lobby were groupings of seats (similar to sections of seating at the stadiums in South Phila we may know) and I sat down briefly in these chairs waiting with my brother while my Mom and Mom Mom got return home tickets.
From there, we went on our ""Merry"" way onto the downtown streets of Philadelphia. Our return home was not as memorable for me however, but our trip downtown on this day in 1969-1970 is burned on my brain. As I write this my interest in expanding train lines continues as does my interest in Philadelphia subway expansion, bus route upgrading, bike lane network upgrades, and the development of Electric Auto charging stations. This City Line-9th Street Line-Reading Terminal moment I bring to you in the contexts of both The Nixon and Biden presidencies. In this Biden moment, we are awaiting the passage of a massive $3.5 trillion bill that would sure help Philadelphians and Americans with, of many things, rail infrastructure.