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

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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 »

PPA: Uber Can Operate Legally During SEPTA Troubles

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The Philadelphia Parking Authority will allow Uber to operate legally throughout the coming weeks while SEPTA runs on a heavily adjusted schedule that has left Regional Rail commuters struggling to reach their destinations.

The PPA offered Uber a detente on Tuesday, according to the Inquirer, meaning the app that lets passengers hail drivers from their phones can operate under legal circumstances temporarily.

In April, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission fined Uber $11.4 million for doing business in the city without authority. Just last week, legislators refrained from voting on a bill that would fully legalize Uber services. It could be called to a vote after summer recess. Read more »

Dear Suburbanites: Stop Whining About the “Horrid” Regional Rail Conditions

You wanna see crowded? Try Japan. (Photo via YouTube)

You wanna see crowded? Try Japan. | Photo via YouTube

It seems like everyone we know who lives in the suburbs has been griping about one thing and one thing only this week. No, not the sorry state of American politics. No, not their post-Brexit stock portfolios. No, the cause du jour for everyone from Paoli to Warminster is SEPTA’s Regional Rail service. Read more »

Here’s Why SEPTA’s Regional Rail Trains Are Moving Reeeeally Slowly

Overhead wires and steel rails expand as they get hotter. So when the temperatures get too hot, SEPTA orders its Regional Rail trains to go slow. | Photo of West Trenton Line by Famartin via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Overhead wires and steel rails expand as they get hotter. So when the temperatures get too hot, SEPTA orders its Regional Rail trains to go slower. | Photo by Famartin via Wikimedia Commons, licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Several SEPTA Regional Rail riders this morning noticed that an extra dose of aggravation had been added to their commutes: After having to show up early to get seats on increasingly packed trains, those trains then headed into Center City at a relative crawl.

One of those riders was SEPTA Media Relations Director Carla Showell-Lee.

So what caused the slowdown, Ms. Showell-Lee?

“Our operations staff confirmed that they had issued a heat advisory for the railroad today,” she responded. Read more »

The Company That Built SEPTA’s Faulty Railcars Wants Another Contract

in Philadelphia, Tuesday, April 13, 2010. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Hyundai Rotem president and CEO Min Ho-Lee is seen after making remarks in front of a new Silverliner V passenger train car in Philadelphia in 2010. | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

It’s been just three years since Hyundai Rotem completed the work on 120 new SEPTA Regional Rail cars, and now all of them have been taken out of service indefinitely.

SEPTA announced over the weekend that it was removing the new Silverliner V cars from service after an inspector found fatigue cracks in an equalizer beam, a critical element that helps keep the railcars from tipping over. The agency then began inspecting all Silverliner Vs and concluded that the defect is structural. The problem, which develops over time through repeated stress on the cars, affects 95 percent of the new vehicles, according to SEPTA. They’ll be sidelined until the agency can figure out how to address the issue.

The Silverliner V cars were manufactured by Hyundai Rotem, a South Korean company that set up a plant in South Philly after winning a contract from SEPTA. The contract was troubled from the outset. After SEPTA selected Hyundai Rotem as the winning bidder in 2004, another business, Kawasaki, sued the agency, saying it had improperly selected a less experienced company, according to reports in the Inquirer. SEPTA later agreed to re-bid the contract, and Hyundai Rotem was selected again.

Delays plagued the process. Cars were delivered late, and Hyundai Rotem ended up paying about $13 million in late fees, which were calculated at $200 per car, per day. The Inquirer reported on work problems at the company’s South Philly plant, with widespread miscommunication between Korean managers and American workers, and workers lodging complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. Read more »

Woman Arrested for Spraying Mace at SEPTA Bus Driver in Olney

A woman was arrested for spraying mace at a SEPTA bus driver on June 5th. | Photo by Flickr user Perry Quan

Photo by Flickr user Perry Quan

Police arrested a woman for allegedly spraying mace at a SEPTA bus driver and a passenger in a wheelchair Tuesday evening in the city’s Olney neighborhood.

SEPTA officials said the incident occurred around 7:45 p.m. near the intersection of 5th Street and West Olney Avenue, along bus route 47. The bus driver stopped the bus to help the passenger in the wheelchair onto the bus, officials said, when the woman boarded the bus and claimed the driver should have stopped for her sooner. Read more »

SEPTA: Regional Rail Delays May Be Worse Wednesday

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SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel said at a press conference on Tuesday that some Regional Rail commuters experienced delays today after the agency took 120 cars out of service, and that the problems could get worse tomorrow.

“For the most part, it worked,” Knueppel said, referring to SEPTA’s amended Regional Rail schedule for Tuesday. But some stations were skipped during the morning peak hours because trains were at capacity. Some regular commuters may have had an additional day off after the July 4th holiday weekend, Knueppel said, and congestion issues could increase Wednesday with more commuters returning to work. Read more »

The Regional Rail Fiasco Proves How Good SEPTA Really Is

Septa regional rail train

Photo by Jeff Fusco

There are many in Philadelphia who consider our mass transit system the worst in the United States, if not the planet. Some of these people point 150 miles down the road to Washington, D.C. as an example of what mass transit in Philadelphia could — and should — be.

There was a time when I might have agreed. But no more. If you want an example of how far SEPTA has come in the past decade or so, and why Washington’s Metro is the last system Philadelphia ought to be emulating, read on. Read more »

Some Regional Rail Riders Frustrated By Delays, Others Have No Problems

FILE - A SEPTA regional train, the R7, rolls into 30th Street station in Philadelphia in this Nov. 16, 2004 file photo. Four hundred workers at a Philadelphia-area regional rail system went on strike Saturday morning June 14, 2014, shutting down 13 train lines that carry commuters to the suburbs and Philadelphia International Airport. Subways, trolleys and buses operated by SEPTA will continue to run. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma, File)

Photo by Jacqueline Larma/AP

You may have noticed it this morning.

SEPTA announced Monday that 120 Regional Rail cars — a third of its fleet — were taken out of service after a structural defect was discovered. About 13,000 seats were removed, leaving between 30 percent and 50 percent fewer seats on individual lines. Most weekday Regional Rail trains are now operating on modified Saturday schedules.

Basically, delays and packed cars (with passengers standing shoulder-to-shoulder) were to be expected during this morning’s commute, and you can continue to anticipate similar issues in the coming weeks.

Enraged commuters took to Twitter to vent. Read more »

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