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Local

Septa Trots Out Its Old Look To Mark Its 50th Anniversary

(Former Septa bus driver Greg Mielke was reunited with one of his former buses as Septa celebrated its 50th anniversary.  Photo by Steve Tawa)

(Former Septa bus driver Greg Mielke was reunited with one of his former buses as Septa celebrated its 50th anniversary. Photo by Steve Tawa)

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Septa had a “Throwback Thursday” today outside its headquarters building in center city Philadelphia, to mark the transit agency’s 50th anniversary.

Passersby stepped into the Wayback Machine at 1234 Market Street, checking out Septa’s oldest buses, vintage uniforms, and other memorabilia — including old photos, stickers, patches, and signs — all dating to 1964, when Septa took over predecessor transit companies.

Parked along Market Street, two old Septa buses had lots of curb appeal.

“Both were called ‘new looks,’ because they were new.  Now, they’re not so new,” admits Septa’s Kim Scott Heinle, doing a show-and-tell about bus #4300, an old, six-cylinder GMC model from 1970.  “4300 will be part of this year’s July 4th parade,” he added.

Septa worker Greg Mielke (in top photo) checked out bus #6569, an eight-cylinder bus from 1974.

“I started at Comly Depot and stayed there my whole career,” he said today.  “I drove 6569 when it was new.   Brings back a lot of old memories.”

How’s the horsepower compared with today’s buses?

“The engines are a lot better today,” he offered.

What about the miles per gallon?

“I don’t know — I didn’t fill them up or check the oil,” he said with a laugh.

Denise recalled those buses in the days before air conditioning:

“We used to open up the side windows, hang out, and wave!   That was so much fun, back in the day.”