When SEPTA’s chairman William McConnon assumed control of the patchwork system in 1972, he announced an ambitious plan to knit the system together and adapt the spoke-and-hub arrangement of the commuter, subway, and el lines into what he termed “a total transit complex.” He tried to fashion a system that would allow greater cross city movement and at “transit nodes” to provide a variety of movement options for users. He looked to the well-developed systems of London and Paris for guidance. In Philadelphia, McConnon’s plan called for the activation of previously unused rights-of-way, like this Reading Railroad cut just north of Callowhill St. I’ve never fully understood why this plan was never fully implemented, and I’m not sure if many Philadelphians are aware of what SEPTA could have become. My thought is that labor disputes and the additional stresses of assuming more and more operating responsibilities caused SEPTA to table McConnon’s “total transit complex” plan. Click here for a larger version of the above map and some other documents.