Hyundai Rotem Blames SEPTA Regional Rail Troubles on Improper Welding

Some of the 120 Silverliner V railway cars taken out of service by SEPTA shown in the Powelton storage yard in West Philadelphia.

Some of the 120 Silverliner V railway cars taken out of service by SEPTA shown in the Powelton storage yard in West Philadelphia.

The SEPTA Regional Rail car troubles that have led a third of the fleet to be removed from service are due to improper welding, Hyundai Rotem officials told the Inquirer on Tuesday.

Welding connecting the cars’ equalizer beams to plates that attach the cars’ wheel bearings have prompted fatigue cracks in the equalizer beams, company officials told the newspaper. When working efficiently, the equalizer beams distribute the weight of the Silverliner V Regional Rail cars to the axles.

Hyundai Rotem, the South Korean company responsible for designing and building the Silverliner V cars, is analyzing the weld. The issue forced SEPTA to remove 120 of the cars, which prompted the fallout of heavily adjusted and reduced train schedules for weeks and possibly months to come.

Read more »

SEPTA Adds 10 More Cars to Roster, Reshuffles Service Starting Monday

SEPTA Interim Weekday Schedule

Photo: Jeff Fusco

SEPTA announced this afternoon (July 15th) that it has secured 10 more rail cars from Maryland, and as a result, the interim weekday schedule in effect for the duration of the Silverliner V car shortage will be adjusted again effective Monday, July 18th.

Five cars from the Maryland Area Rail Commuter Service (MARC) will be on the property in time for Monday’s schedule, and five more are expected by the middle of the week. When the second set of five cars arrives, it will bring to 28 the total number of leased cars supplementing the still-in-service Silverliner IV electric-multiple-unit railcars.

The additional cars along with adjustments to the way the cars currently in service are deployed should alleviate crowding on the busiest Regional Rail lines. Read more »

SEPTA Shows Us Just How Hard-to-Detect Those Silverliner V Stress Fractures Are

SEPTA Assistant GM for Operations Ron Hopkins describes how the equalizer bar (gray bar at left center in photo) is mounted onto the truck of a Silverliner V. | Photos: Sandy Smith

SEPTA Assistant GM for Operations Ron Hopkins describes how the equalizer bar (gray bar at left center in photo) is mounted onto the truck of a Silverliner V. | Photos: Sandy Smith

This morning (July 14th) at its Overbrook Maintenance Facility, SEPTA Assistant General Manager for Operations Ron Hopkins took the assembled media on an inspection tour to share what its maintenance staff and contractors have been doing to identify where and how the stress fractures that have sidelined its fleet of Silverliner V railcars occurred.

SEPTA and its contractor LTK have been conducting more intensive inspections of all of the trucks for the Silverliner Vs in the two weeks since a fractured equalizer bar and the discovery of tiny cracks in other bars forced the agency to pull all 120 cars out of service. Read more »

Comcast Opens Wi-Fi Hotspots to Ease Commuter Woes

septa-regional-rail-940x540

Comcast announced on Tuesday that it is opening up free access to more than 150 XFinity WiFi hotspots at SEPTA Regional Rail and High Speed Line stations throughout the region.

The move is an effort to help SEPTA riders stay connected and productive while the trains run on a modified schedule, the company says. At the beginning of the month, SEPTA removed a third of its train cars after discovering a defect in its Silverliner V cars.

Read more »

Explainer: What SEPTA’s Inspectors Should Be Asking About Those Silverliner V Wheel Assemblies

According to both SEPTA and a veteran structural engineer, the original stress tests on the Silverliner V equalizer bars, shown here, may not have captured all the loads that could cause the part to fail at the welds. |Photo: SEPTA

According to both SEPTA and a veteran structural engineer, the original stress tests on the Silverliner V equalizer bars, shown here, may not have captured all the loads that could cause the part to fail at the welds. Photo | SEPTA

SEPTA and Hyundai Rotem have three possible options for returning the Silverliner V railcars to revenue service:

  • Repair the damaged equalizer bars.
  • Replace the damaged bars and attach the new ones to the existing trucks.
  • Build all-new trucks with a different equalizer bar design.

According to General Manager Jeff Knueppel, the first option looks like it will be ruled out. But before it can be ruled out completely, and before SEPTA and Hyundai Rotem can figure out which of the other two options to pursue, they have to determine what caused the damaged equalizer bars crack and how they developed. Read more »

SEPTA GM on This Morning’s Commute: We’re Getting There

septa-regional-rail-940x540

Two of the three trainsets SEPTA has borrowed from Amtrak, the Maryland Transit Administration and New Jersey Transit went into service for this morning’s commute, Day One of the new interim weekday schedule. So how did the morning commute go?

According to General Manager Jeff Knueppel, not bad — considering. “We’re still seeing delays and crowding on the railroad, but we’re continuing to make things better,” he said at a news conference on the afternoon of Monday, July 11th.

Knueppel said that the agency was now actually running more car-trips than on its regular weekday schedule. (A car trip is when one railcar completes a run between end points. For example, a six-car train that runs from Lansdale to Center City makes six car trips.) But it’s doing so with longer, less frequent trains of six to eight cars each, so while the total number of car trips has increased, the total number of train trips remains well below normal weekday levels. The new schedule’s figure of 574 train trips is up from 549 last week but still below the normal weekday figure of 788. Read more »

Here’s the New SEPTA Interim Weekday Schedule

SEPTA Interim Weekday Schedule

A new SEPTA interim weekday schedule went into effect this morning in hope of easing travel for Regional Rail commuters this week.

SEPTA released the schedule last night following a Friday announcement that it would add trains leased from Amtrak, New Jersey Transit and the Maryland Area Rail Commuter system to allot for 1,700 more seats during peak service hours.

Service from Glenside to Center City saw the most congestion last week, so 1,400 seats have been added along the line to prevent stations from being bypassed by full trains this week. The Paoli/Thorndale line and the Trenton line now have an additional train each.

Regularly scheduled Saturday and Sunday service, available on the published timetables, will be in effect on weekends.

Read more »

SEPTA: Don’t Expect to See Silverliner Vs Back Before Labor Day

SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel says it's highly unlikely it can put its SIlverliner V railcars back in service before Labor Day. | Photo by O484~enwiki from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

SEPTA GM Jeff Knueppel says it’s highly unlikely it can put its Silverliner V railcars back in service before Labor Day. | Photo by O484~enwiki from Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0

While SEPTA is working to get additional service for Regional Rail riders in place, it’s also working to get the sidelined Silverliner V railcars back in service. And at a Friday afternoon press conference, general manager Jeff Knueppel said that efforts to get them rolling again sooner look unlikely to succeed.

“More and more, it looks like a repair job that will get them back in service sooner is unlikely, but we haven’t ruled it out,” Knueppel said.

Currently, engineers from SEPTA, Hyundai Rotem, and LTK Engineering Services are both performing a top-to-bottom inspection of one of the five Silverliner V cars with no signs of metal fatigue and analyzing the damaged trucks to identify how the stress fractures occurred and what caused them. In addition to the five cars, 37 of the 240 trucks on hand have no signs of fatigue. A total of 264 of the 480 equalizer beams have stress fractures. Read more »

SEPTA to Add 1,700 Regional Rail Seats Starting Monday

SEPTA-940

Photo: Jeff Fusco

There’s a little good news for SEPTA Regional Rail riders who have been left stranded on platforms at the morning rush: Starting Monday, you may have a fighting chance of getting on a train.

At a Friday afternoon news conference at SEPTA headquarters, general manager Jeff Knueppel announced that the agency has leased cars and locomotives from three nearby operators that will allow it to add five trains to its peak-period service.

The five trainsets will add roughly 1,700 total seats to Regional Rail service during the morning rush. Most of the capacity will go toward local service from Glenside to Center City, where the greatest number of trains have been bypassing stations with waiting passengers. Read more »

« Older Posts