The SEPTA officers went to Hahnemann University Hospital on Friday bearing gifts fit for a baby born on the Market-Frankford El: a T-shirt with a SEPTA logo and a stuffed train car.

Yanjin Li recognized them immediately. "I remember you!" she exclaimed as they walked into the room.

On Christmas, Sgt. Daniel Caban and Officer Darrell James sprung into action as Li went into labor on a train at 15th and Market Streets - and helped deliver a healthy baby boy now named, fittingly, Chris.

"We didn't have time to even worry," Caban said, recalling the birth.

Working a Christmas shift despite his fiancee's pleas that he take the day off, Caban had rushed into the station after a passerby told him a woman was giving birth on the train. Within minutes, medics were on the scene - but Caban and James were already wrapping the newborn in his father's sweater.

"My fiancee didn't want me to go to work, and I said, 'I'm sorry - if my guys are at work, I have to be at work,' " Caban said, laughing. "And then - the chance to come to work and go through an experience like this? It's a miracle."

Mother and baby were doing well Friday when Caban and James visited them, hospital officials said.

"She was surprised that we were there. She was happy," Caban said. The two snapped a beaming picture with Li and her newborn.

SEPTA Police Chief Thomas Nestel III praised his officers' actions, medics' swift response, and SEPTA riders who cleared a subway car to make way for an extra passenger.

"A whole lot of good Christmas luck was going on there," he said.

Nestel has some experience with surprise deliveries himself - as a 35th Police District officer in the mid-1980s, he arrived at a North Philadelphia home expecting to drive a pregnant woman to the hospital. Instead, he helped her deliver her baby on her living room floor.

Officers are trained to assist with deliveries, Nestel said, but "you never expect to have to use that training."

"And when it happens right there in front of you, you do the natural thing - you start helping," he said. "That's why [Caban and James] became police officers - they're good folks."

awhelan@phillynews.com

215-854-2961 @aubreyjwhelan