The 13th Street Station platform of SEPTA’s westbound elevated train line beamed with excitement Sunday afternoon as passengers awaited the Love Train.
The train, a yearly collaboration between SEPTA and the city’s Mural Arts Program, made its grand entrance midafternoon, complete with horn-honking, streamers, hearts and crafts, romantic music and tour-guides from Mural Arts.
Couples, families and even the occasional single climbed on board, packing six cars with passengers eager to behold the artistry of West Philadelphia.
One car in particular carried the 14 winning couples of the 2012 SEPTA Love Stories Contest. Whether through riding the bus, waiting for the trolley or nearly missing the morning train, all of the couples’ romances first bloomed on SEPTA property.
“We met through SEPTA and it’s nice to be back … like they’re doing something for us,” Jemetra Harvey said, riding with her husband Michael, who she met riding a bus he drove. “We really like the goody bags and the press being here.”
It’s no surprise that the group fostered quick camaraderie, sharing stories with one another and marveling over the similarities.
Asked to pinpoint the ultimate objective of the event, SEPTA spokeswoman, Heather Redfern replied, “We’re simply celebrating people who have found love.”
More than 50 murals brightening the walls and rooftops of West Philadelphia completed the picturesque mood — with a bit of a twist. The series featured the art of courtship via colloquialisms, text-messaging style: “Hug me,” “I miss you way too often not to love you” and “I had a nice dream about us.”
“That’s what it’s about. That’s the mural arts way of doing things,” artist Steve Powers said during the ride, describing one of his murals that included massive painted Post-It stickers. One read: “Remember sometimes it hurts. Sometimes it doesn’t.”
Smitten with another rider
Smitten by these endearing messages and pocketing train decorations as souvenirs, the passengers
arrived back at SEPTA headquarters for continued festivities.
Passengers enjoyed gourmet chocolate fondue, entertainment provided by both a DJ and dance floor, as well as the company of countless other couples.
One couple, Krisy Plourde and Tom Golden, said their vows on the sold-out Love Train of 2011. This year, they boarded the train once more — but for less passionate purposes. Amid the frenzy of getting married, the couple said they never saw any of the actual murals. Krisy and Tom donned regular clothing, this time, and enjoyed the art together as newlyweds.
“I still take the SEPTA everyday,” Plourde said. “It brings back good memories.”