SEPTA Announces Trenton Line Contingency Plan in Wake of Amtrak Crash

Shuttle buses and beefed-up service on nearby lines will fill in for the stricken Northeast Corridor Regional Rail line.

Photo | Sandy Smith

SEPTA deputy general manager Joe Knueppel. Photo | Sandy Smith

The crash of Amtrak train 188 at Frankford Junction last night also threw SEPTA’s Trenton Regional Rail line out of commission. After throwing extra trains on nearby lines for this morning’s commute, SEPTA officials this afternoon outlined their alternate plans for getting the Trenton Line’s 12,000 daily riders to and from Center City while Amtrak repairs the damage on the Northeast Corridor.

Deputy General Manager Joe Knueppel gave the details at a news conference at SEPTA’s control center at its Center City headquarters. The alternate services consist of:

Extra trains on the West Trenton line

Six additional trains will be added to peak-hour West Trenton Line service in each direction on weekdays starting tomorrow morning. The trains, which will run with as many as six cars, will operate inbound from West Trenton, with no stops before Bethayres, between 6:30 and 9 a.m. and outbound to West Trenton, express from Bethayres to West Trenton, between 4:30 and 7 p.m.

In addition, midday service on the line will operate at 30-minute intervals, twice as frequently as normal. Passengers wishing to continue to New York via New Jersey Transit’s Northeast Corridor Line can catch NJT bus shuttles between West Trenton and Trenton stations; the shuttles will also carry NJT NEC passengers to West Trenton to continue to Philadelphia via SEPTA. The shuttles are free to anyone showing a SEPTA or NJT fare instrument.

Cornwells Heights-Frankford Transportation Center shuttle

The park-and-ride lot at Cornwells Heights station will remain open for the duration of the disruption; SEPTA will operate free bus shuttles between the lot and Frankford Transportation Center for service into Center City. Additional trains will also be added to the already-busy Market-Frankford Line to accommodate the extra riders. The shuttles will operate inbound to FTC during the morning peak (6 to 10 a.m.) and outbound to Cornwells Heights during the afternoon peak (4 to 7 p.m.)

Augmented Boulevard bus service

Route 14, the Roosevelt Boulevard spine line, will have additional service between the Frankford Transportation Center and Neshaminy Mall throughout the day, operating at 10-minute intervals.

To accommodate displaced riders, SEPTA has also obtained additional parking on weekdays at the following locations:

Somerton Station: 100 spaces in the Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia parking lot, 13500 Philmont Ave.
Bethayres Station: 100 spaces in the parking lot of Gloria Dei Chapel, 570 Welsh Rd., Huntingdon
Noble Station: 100 spaces in the Noble Plaza parking lot, 801 Old York Road, Jenkintown
Neshaminy Mall: 200 spaces in the mall parking lot behind Sears, next to Pizzeria Uno
Frankford Transportation Center: 200 spaces in a SEPTA-owned surface lot at Pratt and Griscom streets

SEPTA advises patrons to arrive early, as the lots are likely to fill quickly.

SEPTA will honor all Regional Rail tickets and current TrailPasses, as well as SEPTA/NJT joint fares, on the West Trenton Line. Amtrak tickets will not be accepted as payment.

Knueppel said the agency is evaluating what sort of additional service needs to be added on the weekend, if any. The alternate services will operate until service is restored on the Northeast Corridor; assistant general manager for operations Ron Hopkins said that Amtrak expects the service outage to last one week.

Complete details about alternate service for Trenton Line riders, with recommendations for each station, can be found on SEPTA’s website.

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Previously: Experts: Amtrak Service May Not Be Restored For a Week