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Market Square Trolley; Photo courtesy of Robert Bocchino, Haverford, PA
Photo courtesy of Robert Bocchino, Haverford, PA, from
“Trolleys of Lower Delaware Valley Pennsylvania” by Paul Schieck (formerly of Brookhaven)
and Harold E. Cox (of Forty Fort PA)

"I attach a scan that was made from the 1970 publication “Trolleys of Lower Delaware Valley Pennsylvania” by Paul Schieck (formerly of Brookhaven) and Harold E. Cox (formerly of Forty Fort PA) It depicts a Philadelphia Rapid Transit Suburban SK type car of the Chester Short Line headed toward Philadelphia from Market Square in Chester PA. 

The photo was probably made during the Second World War based on the style of auto in the picture and the fact that PRT became PTC after 1940. The Chester Short Line was abandoned in 1946. The trolley ran from the City Hall Subway in Philadelphia to Chester and entered Chester on East 4th Street after crossing Ridley Creek then turned South on Crosby Street for one block to East 3rd St. Finally the car turned west onto a single track that ran for one block to Market Square where the line just ended. There was no turn around. After changing trolley poles the trolley returned to Philadelphia via 3rd Street. The trolley line serviced Sun Ship employees as well as Scott Paper employees and recreational travelers using the Wilson Line

The line was originally known as “The Chester Short Line” when it was opened on February 15, 1911 and then Route 37 until service to Chester was eliminated in 1946 making it the last trolley to serve Chester. In the days before the Great Depression and improved roads when the trolley was king, Chester once had an extensive fleet of trolley lines that in addition to providing local service also provided direct connections to Wilmington, Media, and Philadelphia and the industries along the Delaware River.

You will note that the ad on the front of the trolley is for Riverview Beach Park and the Wilson Line. At the time this photo was made the Wilson Line had a wharf and recreation pier at the foot of Market Street just a short distance away in the direction the auto in the picture is heading. To the left is Stotter’s Department Store. To the right where the flags are displayed is probably the Market Square Restaurant at 305 Market Street.

None of this scene exists today following the subsequent demolition and construction of the Industrial Highway extension. The only recognizable building left standing in the area is what would later be called the Wolf Building (also having housed the studios of WVCH) and what was once the Bank of Delaware County."

Thanks to
Robert Bocchino, Haverford, PA


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If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about any businesses in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

© 2007 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 01/24/07

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