If you’ve ever used PATCO’s City Hall station in downtown Camden, you might think it’s pretty simple. A red stairwell on the southwest corner of 5th & Market takes you down to a small concourse with fare machines, turnstiles, and a platform. If you’ve looked a little closer, you might’ve noticed a few interesting things, like the big steel doors that block off a passageway marked with a “TO COOPER ST” sign, or a gate that stops you from going anywhere but immediately through the turnstiles. Even if you could imagine that through those doorways lies a few extra parts of the station closed off over the past few decades, you might not have ever realized just how large a station City Hall really is.
Map of downtown Camden and the City Hall station, including my estimate for the reaches of the closed off pedestrian tunnels.
Before this morning, I definitely hadn’t. But thanks to a generous offer from PATCO General Manager John Rink to take a few curious PATCO fans on a tour of these closed off parts of the station, I finally got a chance to see how extensive these unseen parts really are. What follows is a tour starting from the current station open to the public and leading to both the northern and southern reaches of its underground pedestrian tunnels.
Closed off walkway to Cooper Street as seen from the stairs leading from the platforms.
Stairway leading from the platform to the closed off north side of the station.
Do you have your ticket?
Original stairway detail.
Extra paneling for PATCO stations.
This is the northern station entrance area where the turnstiles used to be. You can see the now-closed off stairway on the northeastern corner of 5th & Market Streets In the background.
Old instructions for how to ride PATCO.
Looking back toward the open end of the station. This is what’s behind the big gray door your saw in the first photo.
Steps leading to the currently-closed off stairs on the northeastern corner of 5th & Market Streets.
Old storage room door.
Old empty storage room.
Walkway back to the open end of the station.
The station’s beautiful old tiling remains impressively intact.
These are the old trash cans that used to be on the platforms before the Department of Homeland Security required DRPA to install clear plastic trash cans.
Another view of the closed off entrance and turnstile area.
Extra station signage.
Storage room full of old meters from station parking lots.
Looking back after continuing north toward Cooper Street.
Like a few other stations, City Hall had a public bathroom.
Signage to Cooper Street.
Pedestrian tunnel to Cooper Street.
It’s a pretty long tunnel.
Caution-taped transformer room door.
Still heading north to Cooper Street.
Just like at other PATCO stations, the end of the pedestrian concourse area gives you a choice of corners to exit from.
Stairway to one of the exits.
Crossing under Cooper Street to get to the other corner’s exit.
Old gate and stairwell.
Also closed off.
Heading back south down the pedestrian tunnel from Cooper Street.
Dust graffiti on the tiles.
Heading back to the open part of the station.
This is the gate you see just before going through the present day turnstiles. Going through it takes you south toward Arch Street.
Among other things, this area holds some storage.
Signage toward Market Street and Arch Street.
More old doors.
This short tunnel leads to a stairway that took people across the street to the old Parkade building, where Roosevelt Plaza Park currently sits.
This stairwell is the only remaining part of the Parkade building.
Heading back down the tunnel.
Where the tunnel meets back up with the station.
Arch Street tiling continuing south and some old parking lot gates.
Stairwell down to the tunnel to Arch Street.
Tunnel continuing south to Arch Street.
Closed off exit.
Update: General Manager John Rink just sent me this original, February 1934 plan for City Hall station, which shows the sidewalk plan where the exits where to be located as well as the layout of the station itself.
Original, 1934 City Hall station plan. (Click to view larger.)