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August 06, 2023

The 7th SEPTA crash of the summer derails a trolley in Kingsessing

A trolley was left off its tracks after a collision with a car at 52nd St and Cedar Avenue early this morning.

Transportation Crashes
A SEPTA trolley THOM CARROLL/for PhillyVoice

An early-morning collision between a SEPTA trolley and a car is the latest in an unusually high number of crashes involving SEPTA vehicles this year.

It's been a treacherous summer for SEPTA vehicles. Early this morning, a trolley was derailed in the Kingsessing section of Southwest Philadelphia after apparently colliding with a car. The accident was the seventh crash involving a SEPTA vehicle this summer.

The crash happened shortly after 6:30 this morning when a car reportedly ran a red traffic light and collided with the trolley, causing exterior damage to the front of both vehicles and forcing the trolley off its tracks, an eyewitness told 6ABC. Four people – three passengers and the driver of the trolley – were injured in the incident. No details on the nature or severity of those injuries were initially revealed. 

SEPTA quickly deployed shuttle busses to serve the Route 13 loop normally covered by the damaged trolley, as authorities removed the car from the intersection and began to investigate what happened. Police apprehended the driver of the car, a SEPTA official told 6ABC. 

The crash follows an unusual string of recent crashes involving SEPTA vehicles. In late July, another trolley in Southwest Philadelphia derailed after rolling out of a depot with no one at the controls, crashing into an SUV and damaging a Revolutionary era building called the Blue Bell Tavern. 

That incident was the fifth in a week-long series of SEPTA-involved crashes that included a deadly SEPTA bus collision in Northeast Philadelphia, a two-trolley collision in Upper Darby, a bus crashing into a poll in Fishtown and another bus jumping the curb and crashing into a building at 15th and Walnut. Last week, another trolley collision in West Philadelphia led to a multi-car pileup that damaged several vehicles at 52nd Street and Lancaster Avenue. 

While the crashes have resulted in few serious injuries or deaths, the pattern is nonetheless alarming to SEPTA passengers and government officials alike. According to FOX29, authorities from the Federal Transportation Authority arrived in Philadelphia last week to assess the overall safety of SEPTA operations, although a spokesperson for the transit agency said that they had not yet received word of an official FTA inquiry.

This morning's incident is the tenth crash involving a SEPTA vehicle this so year, which is already more than the transit agency saw in either of the last two years. There were six SEPTA-involved crashes in 2022 and five in 2021.