Transit authorities said that a suspicious metal box that appeared on the tracks of 30th Street Station late Sunday night was not an actual threat, although it remains unclear what the device was and who placed it on the tracks.
SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said authorities received a report of a “possible suspicious device” on track 6 of the transit hub about 10 pm on Sunday night, as the festivities of New Year’s Day were beginning to wind down across the city.
SEPTA police, Amtrak and the Philadelphia Police Department all responded to investigate the object, which they described as a metal box with wires wrapped around it.
But Busch said the police did not consider it a threat.
“Fortunately, police were able to quickly determine that the box contained no explosives or other hazardous materials, and the scene was cleared within an hour,” Busch said in an email. “I don’t have final word yet on what specifically this box was, but there’s no indication it was placed there by someone with criminal intent.”
Train lines resumed normal operations out of 30th Street after the brief investigation. It does not appear that the false alarm caused any further disruptions for travelers as of Monday. (The Market-Frankford Line was experiencing some unrelated delays due to a line adjustment, according to SEPTA social media postings.)
Unattended packages and suspicious devices on public transit often halt transit operations and sometimes cause panic among passengers. In Philadelphia, most incidents over the years have been quickly cleared without incident.