The Phantom Station


Editor’s Note: Abandoned places are unsettling by their very nature, but there is something particularly disturbing about seeing civic institutions–schools, hospitals, prisons and the like–in a state of decay. This is especially true when the place wasn’t left voluntarily, but under duress, as was the case with SEPTA’s Spring Garden Street Station on the Broad-Ridge Spur. The transit agency cited both low ridership and safety concerns (the two issues went hand-in-hand) when it closed the station at Ridge Avenue and Spring Garden Street in 1989 after 57 years in service. This was a not unreasonable response to one of the most violent periods in Philadelphia’s history. The city’s total number of murders would crest the next year at an astounding 503. The long, dark night of crack cocaine had descended on the city, and it seemed as though Philadelphia might never wake up. It did, of course, (at least partially–we’re up to 324 murders in 2012 with 14 days to go), but the subway station has remained closed, with no plans to reopen it, according to SEPTA. The platform can still be seen, albeit dimly, from the train en route between the Chinatown and Fairmount stations. Christian Suchecki made a number of trips into the tunnels over the past year to photograph the derelict station using a large format camera and long exposures, and returned with these images.

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Photo: Christian Suchecki

Photo: Christian Suchecki

Christian_Suchecki_ (3 of 9)

Christian_Suchecki_ (5 of 9)

Christian_Suchecki_ (9 of 9)

Christian_Suchecki_ (7 of 9)

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About the author

Christian Suchecki is a recent graduate of Tyler School of Art with his BFA in photography. Local to Philadelphia, Christian works commercially as a freelance photographer and videographer. His personal work revolves around exploration around the city of Philadelphia. More of his photography can be found HERE and his video work can be seen HERE


  1. it’s just sleeping it will eventually be restored to it’s former use


  2. Now it really looks like the Eraserhood station.

  3. When I used to ride the high speed line in, I noticed an old station stop at 2nd and Market…. any pics ?
    Thanx for all of the work you guys do!

  4. I’ve often wondered which station will be resurrected first, Spring Garden or Franklin Square.

  5. Franklin Square is on PATCO’s radar (that’s the station you speak of, stephanie). Ridge/Spring Garden is probably much farther of because the Ridge Avenue Spur itself isn’t much used in comparison. The one saving grace is the fact that the area around the station is emerging slowly from its relative doldrums. I’ve always felt that the fact that the route runs express along the main line and cannot stop at Cecil B. Moore/Temple U is something that really keeps that route the way that it is. Maybe in some distant decade…

  6. Remarkable photography.

  7. fabulous pix…but the 4th, i believe, is not Spring Garden station…looks more like the abandoned southern portion of the Fairmount station..can anyone verify? tried to access the photographer’s website with no success

  8. Hi Jerry,

    I’m not sure about whether the fourth picture is Spring Garden station, but the links to Christian’s websites have been fixed and are well worth checking out.


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