SEPTA Adjusts Regional Rail Schedules for Safety-Related Delays

Rolling minor delays had become common since the agency adopted Positive Train Control, a safety system meant to prevent tragedies like the 2015 Amtrak crash.

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SEPTA has issued several new Regional Rail schedules as part of an effort to fix and prevent what’s become a pattern of late trains and delayed travel.

The schedule changes, which are posted on the organization’s website, will affect most Regional Rail lines. The tweaks were enacted in response to SEPTA’s implementation of Positive Train Control, a federally-mandated system that works to make rail lines safer.

Had it been implemented, it’s likely that PTC could have prevented the Amtrak crash that killed eight in May of 2015. The safety system encourages slower travel and longer distances between trains – but for those reasons, it can sometimes lead to minor delays.

According to PlanPhilly, about 30 percent of Regional Rail trains were late (by more than six minutes) in November, and about 19 percent of trains were late in December.

As well all know, it wasn’t just PTC that caused delays in 2016: SEPTA saw a slew of interruptions and congestion due to July’s Silverliner V crisis, which prevented Regional Rail from resuming a normal weekday schedule until October. And while Regional Rail operated throughout a SEPTA strike in November – which shut down the city’s buses, trolleys and subways for about a week – train passengers saw significant delays and crowding as trains absorbed a resulting increase in ridership.

Let’s hope the new schedules – which went into effect yesterday – will help things run more smoothly. Here are the highlights, via SEPTA:

  • Weekday train times have been adjusted for Regional Rail Lines with some trains departing earlier or later than previously scheduled.
  • Airport Line Inbound Train #404 (departs Airport Terminals E and F at 5:37 a.m.) will no longer stop at Wayne Junction, Fern Rock or Melrose Park Stations. Inbound train #448 (departing from Airport Terminals E and F at 4:37 p.m.) will no longer stop at Wayne Junction Fern Rock, Melrose Park or Elkins Park stations. Train #448 will also depart three to four minutes earlier from Jenkintown-Wyncote and Glenside Stations.
  • Chestnut Hill East: Select trains will operate up to eight minutes later.
  • Cynwyd: Select weekday inbound and outbound trains will operate three to 16 minutes later.
  • Lansdale/Doylestown: Trains departing between 8:30 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. between Delaware Valley University and Chalfont stations may depart ahead of schedule as stops will only be made to discharge or pick-up passengers (D-Stops Only). Additional morning service has been added to Elkins Park Station with train #5315 which departs from Colmar at 6:10 a.m. Service has also been added to Link Belt Station with trains #6517 departing from Doylestown Station at 7:58 a.m. and #521 departing from Doylestown at 8:52 a.m. Train #519 will originate at Lansdale Station at 8:48 a.m. and will no longer stop at Link Belt, Colmar, Fortuna or 9th St. Station. Evening train #573 which departs from Colmar at 5:23 p.m. will depart four minutes later from all stations and will no longer stop at Melrose Par or Wayne Junction Stations.
  • Manayunk/Norristown: Select trains will operate later than previously scheduled. Weekday outbound train #6212 departing from 30th Street Station at 5:41 a.m. will not stop at Elm Street Station. Train #3224 will depart from 30th Street Station at 7:30 a.m., and will no longer stop at North Broad Station.
  • Media/Elwyn: Many trains will depart earlier than previously scheduled.
  • Paoli/Thorndale: Select morning trains will depart earlier and later than previously scheduled. Inbound train #9506 will now originate from Villanova Station and depart at 7:52 a.m. Train #9536 departing from Malvern at 7:42 a.m. will now stop at Haverford, Ardmore, Wynnewood, Narberth, Merion and Overbrook Stations. Weekday outbound train #551 departing from Temple University at 4:04 p.m. will no longer stop at Exton, Whitford, Downingtown or Thorndale Stations.
  • Trenton: Most trains will depart a few minutes earlier than previously scheduled. Trains #769 departing from Temple University at 8:46 p.m., #773 departing from Temple University at 6:36 p.m. and #8775 departing from Temple University at 10:32 p.m. will now serve Eddington Station.
  • Warminster: Additional weekday morning service has been added to Melrose Park with train #4213 departing from Warminster Station at 6:40 a.m. Train #404 departing from 30th Street Station at 6:00 a.m. will no longer make stops at Wayne Junction, Fern Rock Transportation Center or Melrose Part Stations and will depart three minutes earlier from Elkins Park Station. Outbound train #448 departing from 30th Street Station at 5:00 p.m. will no longer stop at Wayne Junction, Fern Rock Transportation Center, Melrose Park or Elkins Park Stations and will depart from Jenkintown/Wyncote Station earlier than previously scheduled.
  • West Trenton: Most trains will depart earlier than previously scheduled.
  • Wilmington/Newark: Select inbound trains will operate a few minutes later.

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