United States Postal Service
The United States Postal Service is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas and associated states. It is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorized by the United States Constitution; the U. S. Mail traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general; the Post Office Department was created in 1792 from Franklin's operation. It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act in 1970 into the USPS as an independent agency; the USPS as of 2017 has 644,124 active employees and operated 211,264 vehicles in 2014. The USPS is the operator of the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world; the USPS is obligated to serve all Americans, regardless of geography, at uniform price and quality. The USPS has exclusive access to letter boxes marked "U.
S. Mail" and personal letterboxes in the United States, but now has to compete against private package delivery services, such as United Parcel Service and FedEx. Since the early 1980s, many of the direct tax subsidies to the Post Office, with the exception of subsidies for costs associated with the disabled and overseas voters, have been reduced or eliminated in favor of indirect subsidies, in addition to the advantages associated with a government-enforced monopoly on the delivery of first-class mail. Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume, after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act which mandated that $5.5 billion per year be paid to prefund employee retirement health benefits, revenue dropped due to recession-influenced declining mail volume, prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit. In the early years of the North American colonies, many attempts were made to initiate a postal service.
These early attempts were of small scale and involved a colony, Massachusetts Bay Colony for example, setting up a location in Boston where one could post a letter back home to England. Other attempts focused on a dedicated postal service between two of the larger colonies, such as Massachusetts and Virginia, but the available services remained limited in scope and disjointed for many years. For example, informal independently-run postal routes operated in Boston as early as 1639, with a Boston to New York City service starting in 1672. A central postal organization came to the colonies in 1691, when Thomas Neale received a 21-year grant from the British Crown for a North American Postal Service. On February 17, 1691, a grant of letters patent from the joint sovereigns, William III and Mary II, empowered him: to erect and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, to receive and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years.
The patent included the exclusive right to establish and collect a formal postal tax on official documents of all kinds. The tax was repealed a year later. Neale appointed Governor of New Jersey, as his deputy postmaster; the first postal service in America commenced in February 1692. Rates of postage were fixed and authorized, measures were taken to establish a post office in each town in Virginia. Massachusetts and the other colonies soon passed postal laws, a imperfect post office system was established. Neale's patent expired in 1710; the chief office was established in New York City, where letters were conveyed by regular packets across the Atlantic. Before the Revolution, there was only a trickle of business or governmental correspondence between the colonies. Most of the mail went forth to counting houses and government offices in London; the revolution made Philadelphia, the seat of the Continental Congress, the information hub of the new nation. News, new laws, political intelligence, military orders circulated with a new urgency, a postal system was necessary.
Journalists took the lead, securing post office legislation that allowed them to reach their subscribers at low cost, to exchange news from newspapers between the thirteen states. Overthrowing the London-oriented imperial postal service in 1774–1775, printers enlisted merchants and the new political leadership, created a new postal system; the United States Post Office was created on July 26, 1775, by decree of the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin headed it briefly. Before the Revolution, individuals like Benjamin Franklin and William Goddard were the colonial postmasters who managed the mails and were the general architects of a postal system that started out as an alternative to the Crown Post; the official post office was created in 1792 as the Post Office Department. It was based on the Constitutional authority empowering Congress "To establish post offices and post roads"; the 1792 law provided for a expanded postal network, served editors by charging newspapers an low rate.
The law guaranteed the sanctity of personal correspondence, provided the entire country with low-cost access to information on public affairs, while establishing a right to personal privacy. Rufus Easton was appointed by Thomas Jefferson first postmaster of St. Louis under the recommendation of Postmaster General Gideon Granger. Rufus Easton was the first postmaster and built the first post office west o
69th Street Transportation Center
The 69th Street Transportation Center known as the 69th Street Terminal or 69th Street Station, is a SEPTA terminal in the Terminal Square section of Upper Darby, just outside the Philadelphia border. It is the other ground-level station on the Market Frankford Line besides Millbourne. SEPTA runs the following lines out of the 69th Street Transportation Center: Market-Frankford Line – Subway and Elevated Norristown High Speed Line – interurban rapid transit Media and Sharon Hill Trolley Lines SEPTA Bus Routes 21, 30, 65, 68, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 120, 123, 126 serving Philadelphia, Delaware and Chester Counties; the 69th Street Transportation Center includes SEPTA sales offices and eateries. The immediate portion of 69th Street surrounding the center is popular with area residents, housing numerous bars, restaurants and the Tower Theater concert venue. A parking lot is adjacent, with street parking, both metered and unmetered, throughout the terminal's neighborhood.
The Norristown High-Speed Line runs on its own right-of-way from the terminal to the northwestern terminus at the Norristown Transportation Center. The 101 and 102 trolley lines run southwest from the terminal in the median of Terminal Square and on a separate right-of-way after the Fairfield Avenue stop. Two former trolley lines, now bus lines, Routes 103 and 104 run along the median of Pennsylvania Route 3 as far west as North Keystone Avenue, where the tracks abruptly end. SEPTA Route 123 connects this station with the King of Prussia Transit Center at the King of Prussia mall. 69th Street Transportation Center is one of two SEPTA heavy rail stations located outside Philadelphia proper. The 69th Street Transportation Center celebrated its 100th anniversary in May 2008. Known as 69th Street Terminal, it took its current name in 2011. Early on August 22, 2017, a Norristown High-Speed train crashed into an unoccupied train at the terminal, with a preliminary report of 33 injuries from the impact.
SEPTA – 69th Street Transportation Center Station Map 69th Street Terminal: Market-Frankford-El MFL 69th Street Yard Norristown High-Speed Interurban line images Media-Sharon Hill Trolley Images 69th Street Market Street entrance from Google Maps Street View Routes 101 and 102 Station from Google Maps Street View
The Media/Elwyn Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line that runs from Center City Philadelphia west to Elwyn in Delaware County. The line known as the Media/West Chester Branch, offered service to West Chester. On September 19, 1986, service was truncated to the current terminus at Elwyn. SEPTA still calls the infrastructure along the line, but not the train service itself, the West Chester Branch; as of November 2016, most inbound Media-Elwyn line trains continue onto the West Trenton and Manayunk/Norristown lines. At the end of 2021, service is to expand westward to a new station in Wawa. Planning officials, rail proponents and SEPTA have discussed a resumption to the original terminus in West Chester without success. Since 1997, the heritage railway West Chester Railroad has operated on the tracks between Glen Mills and West Chester, where SEPTA no longer runs trains. Amtrak maintenance trains collect track ballast from a quarry near Glen Mills station. Media/Elwyn Line trains use the West Chester Line the Pennsylvania Railroad's West Chester Branch, which diverges from the SEPTA Main Line at 30th Street Station.
At Arsenal Interlocking, just south of University City, there is a junction with Amtrak's Northeast Corridor where Airport and Wilmington/Newark trains diverge. The West Chester branch turns west, curves around the Woodlands Cemetery, heads west towards Elwyn. From University City to Fernwood–Yeadon, the line is grade-separated; the line has four high steel trestle river valley crossings, built between 1891 and 1896 to replace earlier structures. From west to east, the first of these is over Ridley Creek between Elwyn and Media, is 641 feet long and 103 feet high; the second, over Crum Creek between Wallingford and Swarthmore, is the longest of the four, measured 915 feet long and 97 feet tall. The third, 274 feet long, crosses Darby Creek west of Gladstone; the last, 377 feet long, crosses Cobbs Creek between Fernwood-Yeadon and Angora at a height of 56 feet. The Crum Creek Viaduct, which required extensive rebuilding and complete repainting by SEPTA in 1983 after decades of deferred maintenance, will be replaced by September 2016.
The other three trestles, which received attention similar to Crum Creek in the 1980s, are undergoing a comprehensive structural and substructural renewal scheduled for completion in summer 2016. The line is double-tracked from Arsenal Interlocking to Elwyn and single-tracked beyond, with passing sidings at or near Glen Riddle, Glen Mills, Cheyney and West Chester; as of November 2016, all SEPTA trains terminate at Elwyn, although the single-track section near Lenni is used by SEPTA division to train new regional rail operators. The sidings once allowed multiple commuter trains to operate on the single-track section. Passing sidings were marked by the PRR's trademark bowtie catenary poles, while single-track areas used single-pole catenary supports. After regular service ended beyond Elwyn in 1986, vandals stole the copper catenary wire, prompting SEPTA to remove the rest in summer 2005. SEPTA has been aggressively replacing its legacy catenary systemwide; the line was built by the West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad, which opened the Philadelphia-to-Burmont section on November 15, 1853.
The WC&P extended service to Media on October 19, 1854, to West Chester on November 11, 1858. In the early 1880s, the Pennsylvania Railroad gained control of the line, which it renamed its West Chester Branch. One early station, located along a passing siding between the stations of Darlington and Wawa, was removed from service by 1911. Electrified service began December 2, 1928; the line passed to Penn Central in 1968, absorbed by Conrail in 1976. On October 16, 1979, at 8:19 a.m. an inbound train collided with two others plus cars from a fourth train between Angora and 49th Street stations. The accident injured 525 others. Earlier, Train #712, a nine-car train of former PRR MP54E6 cars, had left behind the rear two cars continued on to Suburban Station. Train #716, consisting of nine ex-Reading "Blueliner" heavyweight cars, was detailed to push the empty defective cars out of the way, slowed to a stop in order to couple with them. Train #0714, two Silverliner IVs stopped short of #716, in accordance with signal rules.
The next train, #1718, a four-car consist of three Silverliner IIs and one Silverliner III, neither stopped at the nearest signal nor slowed adequately at the previous signal, nor did the engineer apply the air brake once the rear of #0714 was seen around a curve. Traveling at an estimated 28 mph, #1718 rear-ended #0714, shoving it forward to collide in succession with all the other stopped equipment. Both cars of #0714 derailed, as did some of the other cars. A total of 525 passengers were injured, including a conductor who died a few days from his injuries. Many cars were damaged, including the lead car of #1718, written off and scrapped. In addition to speed and signal rules violations, other causative factors in the accident cited by the National Transportation Safety Board included: inoperative onboard radios in the Silverliners, no radios at all in the heavyweight MUs.
A side platform is a platform positioned to the side of a pair of tracks at a railway station, tram stop, or transitway. Dual side platform stations, one for each direction of travel, is the basic station design used for double-track railway lines. Side platforms may result in a wider overall footprint for the station compared with an island platform where a single width of platform can be shared by riders using either track. In some stations, the two side platforms are connected by a footbridge running above and over the tracks. While a pair of side platforms is provided on a dual-track line, a single side platform is sufficient for a single-track line. Where the station is close to a level crossing the platforms may either be on the same side of the crossing road or alternatively may be staggered in one of two ways. With the'near-side platforms' configuration, each platform appears before the intersection and with'far-side platforms' they are positioned after the intersection. In some situations a single side platform can be served by multiple vehicles with a scissors crossing provided to allow access mid-way along its length.
Most stations with two side platforms have an'Up' platform, used by trains heading towards the primary destination of the line, with the other platform being the'Down' platform which takes trains heading the opposite way. The main facilities of the station are located on the'Up' platform with the other platform accessed from a footbridge, subway or a track crossing. However, in many cases the station's main buildings are located on whichever side faces the town or village the station serves. Larger stations may have two side platforms with several island platforms in between; some are in a Spanish solution format, with two side platforms and an island platform in between, serving two tracks. Island platform Split platform
School Lane station
School Lane station is SEPTA Route 101 trolley station in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. It is located on School Lane west of Edmonds Avenue; the station is next to Grace Lutheran Church on the northwest corner of the aforementioned intersection. Trolleys arriving at this station travel between 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby and Orange Street in Media, Pennsylvania; the station features a P&W-era shed with a roof in which passengers can wait during inclement weather. The shed is made of stucco similar to that of the nearby Aronimink stop. An actual school can be found one block east of this intersection. No parking is available at this stop. SEPTA - School Lane MSHL Station July 3, 1999 Fantrip image Station from School Lane from Google Maps Street View
Lansdowne Avenue station (SEPTA Routes 101 and 102)
Lansdowne Avenue station is a SEPTA Media-Sharon Hill Trolley Line stop in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It is located at Garrett Road and Lansdowne Avenue, serves both Routes 101 and 102; the station has two sheds with roofs. One of the station's two platforms is located on the corner of Winding Way. Trolleys arriving at this station travel between 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby and either Orange Street in Media, Pennsylvania for the Route 101 line, or Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania for the Route 102 line, it serves as a stop for both local and express lines, all lines run parallel to Garrett Road. The station is near two Catholic high schools. Lansdowne Avenue's shelters consist of a standard P&W-era stone shed on the southwest corner of the grade crossing, an open plexiglas bus stop type shelter on the northwest corner of the grade crossing. SEPTA Lansdowne Avenue MSHL Station Station from Lansdowne Avenue from Google Maps Street View
Norristown High Speed Line
The Norristown High Speed Line is a 13.4 miles interurban rapid transit line operated by SEPTA, running between the 69th Street Transportation Center in Upper Darby and the Norristown Transportation Center in Norristown, United States. The rail line runs on its own right-of-way, inherited from the original Philadelphia and Western Railroad line. In Fiscal Year 2013, the Norristown High Speed Line carried 2,419,500 passengers. In Fiscal Year 2015, the Norristown High Speed Line carried 3,429,300 passengers, an increase of 9% from FY 2014 when it carried 3,147,209 passengers; the Norristown High Speed Line is unique in its combination of transportation technologies. Chartered as a Class I railroad, the line is grade separated, collects power from a third rail, has high-level platforms common to rapid transit systems or commuter rail systems such as New York City's Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad, but has onboard fare collection single-car operation, frequent stops more common to light rail systems.
The Norristown High Speed Line was considered to be a heavy rail line, according to a 2008 SEPTA budget report. It has been categorized by the American Public Transportation Association as "Intermodal High Speed rapid rail transit"; the purple color-coded line was known as Route 100, but was changed to its current name in September 2009 as part of a customer service initiative by SEPTA. The line has been subject to multiple accidents in recent years. In August of 2017, there was a crash involving an unoccupied railcar at 69th Street Terminal that injured more than 40 people; as a result, the maximum operating speed on the line was decreased to 55 mph. The Norristown High Speed Line began service in 1907 as the Philadelphia and Western Railroad, which ran from the present 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania to a converted farmhouse station in Strafford, Pennsylvania. In 1911, the line was extended 0.47 miles west to a new Strafford P&W station adjacent to the Pennsylvania Railroad's Strafford station, allowing easy interchange between the two lines.
In 1912, a 6.2-mile branch was constructed from Villanova Junction, 0.33 miles west of the existing Villanova station, to Norristown. When the newly built branch attracted more ridership than the Strafford main line, the Norristown section became the main line and the Strafford stretch was demoted to branch status. From Norristown, the P&W RR connected its tracks with the Lehigh Valley Transit Liberty Bell Route to provide direct electric train service from 69th St. Terminal to Allentown, Pennsylvania. However, in 1951, the Lehigh Valley Transit Company ended its service on the Liberty Bell Route, in 1953 the company ended all its remaining rail service. Two years the P&W RR was taken over by the Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company, more popularly known as the Red Arrow Lines. In 1956, the PSTC abandoned the original branch between Villanova and Strafford, leaving only electric MU train service between 69th Street and Norristown, as it is today. Part of the Strafford branch right of way has been converted into the Radnor Trail.
The PSTC was absorbed into SEPTA in 1969, eliminating the original railroad charter and becoming the "Norristown High-Speed Line Trolley" known as Route 100. Ridership on the Norristown Line peaked in 2015 at 3,429,300; the previous peak came in 2014 with 3,147,209 trips. Prior to this modern escalation in ridership the line's ridership was highest in 1973 at 2.86 million annual linked trips, again in 1980 with 2,579,000 annual linked trips. Ridership statistics for fiscal years 2000 and are from SEPTA annual service plans. Data for years 1972 to 1997 are from the SEPTA 1997 ridership census. There may be some discrepancy in how the ridership is reported since the annual service plans report total unlinked trips, while the ridership census uses linked trips, which may exclude passengers transferring from other lines. Effective June 14, 2010, SEPTA changed the names of four stations to reflect the streets on which they were located. Township Line Road, Roberts Road, Stadium – Ithan Avenue and DeKalb Street.
In summer 2013, SEPTA closed the bridge carrying the Norristown High Speed Line over the Schuylkill River for four months. The bridge, built in 1911, had been deteriorating and needed to be rebuilt which would cost an upwards of $30 million, though this repair project was budgeted at $7.5 million. As a result of closing the bridge, buses were used to transport passengers between the Bridgeport station and the Norristown Transportation Center; the bridge was reopened in November 2013. The remaining $30 million renovation of the entire bridge structure is unscheduled; the fare for a single ride as of November 2017 is $2.50. Until September 1, 2014, the line used a "pay-as-you-exit" fare collection system on trains towards 69th Street Transportation Center; as part of a general change on several routes approaching 69th Str