In the predawn hours of Feb. 15, 1969, with the temperature all of 18 degrees, 150 passengers rode the first PATCO High-Speed Line train making the trip from Lindenwold to Center City.
On Friday, to mark the 50th anniversary of operations on the 14.2-mile commuter rail line, PATCO will charge passengers 1969 prices from 6 to 11 a.m.
For trips to or from Center City, the cost will be 60 cents for Lindenwold, Ashland, and Woodcrest; 50 cents for Haddonfield, Westmont, and Collingswood; 40 cents for Ferry Avenue; and 30 cents for Broadway and City Hall in Camden. Trips within Center City will be 30 cents and trips within New Jersey will be 40 cents.
The current one-way fares for trips to and from Center City and the four price zones in New Jersey are $3, $2.60, $2.25, and $1.40. Trips within Center City are $1.40 and $1.60 within New Jersey.
Besides the reduced fares, riders at the Woodcrest station will be treated to a DJ and cookie giveaway, and all riders in New Jersey between 7 and 9 a.m. Friday will be able to get a commemorative reproduction of the original 1969 timetable.
The line carries about 10 million passengers annually.
The first passenger train to run the route had four cars, leaving Lindenwold at 5:48 that freezing Saturday morning and arriving two minutes late, according to the Feb. 16, 1969, Inquirer.
“There were no complaints, since everyone agreed a bug or two had to be expected,” reporter Robert Terry wrote.
Among those traveling on PATCO’s maiden day was Elizabeth Drevs, of Stratford, who brought along 16 friends to mark her 11th birthday, party hats and all.