Remind Me: Why Can’t SEPTA Run On Time?

Screw the Silverliners. Just send me a train, any train BY EMILY GOULET

As I stood on the train platform yesterday morning, not-so-patiently waiting in the rain for the R3 as its scheduled 7:35 a.m. arrival time came and went, it occurred to me—not for the first time—that this train debacle makes no sense. Why is it that we can launch people to the moon, perform surgery on tiny fetuses in the womb, reattach severed limbs, but we can’t figure out how to make trains run on time?

I’ve heard about the mythical new Silverliners we’re supposedly getting. Hopefully they’ll be able to run in freezing temperatures since, according to a conductor on my morning train, the GE engines currently in use aren’t equipped to run when it gets very cold. This naturally causes a bit of a hiccup, as we live on the East Coast, a place where it is very cold approximately six months out of the year.

I’m not sure what the excuse was this week. Slippery rail? Downed wires in Trenton? Whatever is was, after waiting for 20 minutes, we finally heard the stilted electronic voice over the loudspeaker, which informed us that the train was running 20 minutes late. Five minutes later, another not-so-helpful debriefing: The train was running 25 minutes late. The women with umbrellas next to me laughed good-naturedly. I texted angry four-letter words to my co-workers, all of whom were settled in at their desks in our warm, dry offices in the city.

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