After 100 years of watching trains pass without stopping, Philadelphia Zoo officials are trying to restore passenger rail service to the zoo.
A new study proposes a SEPTA station at 34th Street and Mantua Avenue, a short walk from the zoo’s south entrance.
Although the zoo was built on its West Philadelphia site in 1874 partly because of handy rail access, the original Zoological Garden station at 34th Street and Girard Avenue closed in 1902, a victim of Pennsylvania Railroad expansion.
Now, congested highway access and limited parking have convinced zoo leaders that a new train station would increase attendance and ease traffic.
Police said the child lost his balance after his mother lifted him in a standing position onto the 4-foot-high wooden railing of an elevated, gazebolike structure that overlooks the enclosure. He toppled over the railing, hit a mesh shelf and landed on the ground of the open exhibit space, where he was set upon by the 11 dogs in the area.
The medical examiner’s office would not release the child’s name Sunday evening. Police said he and his 34-year-old mother are from Pleasant Hills and were visiting the zoo with cousins, an adult and another child.
Major Crimes Lt. Kevin Kraus declined to comment on potential charges and said the bureau will continue to investigate to determine if anything could have prevented the death.