SEPTA: Regional Rail Delays May Be Worse Wednesday

The transit agency is encouraging rail riders to find alternate ways to commute. Again.

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.

SEPTA is encouraging Regional Rail riders to find alternate transit service where possible. The parking garage at the Norristown Transportation Center was underused on Tuesday, Knueppel said, and the Norristown High Speed Line will be operating on an enhanced schedule. There will also be 1,600 parking spaces available for free at 1600 Pattison Avenue, two blocks from AT&T Station on the Broad Street Line in South Philly, and 300 parking spaces next to the Festival Pier at Columbus Boulevard and Spring Garden Street, near Spring Garden Station on the Market-Frankford Line.

See SEPTA’s amended rail schedules and parking information here.

SEPTA inspectors identified “fatigue cracks” in equalizer beams on one of the authority’s Silverliner V Regional Rail cars, its newest model, on Friday night. The cracks were causing the rail car to lean to one side. On Saturday, SEPTA announced that the defect was structural and opted to take all 120 Silverliner V cars out of service.

Knueppel said on Tuesday that the agency is working to identify which cars are affected and which ones can be repaired. So far, SEPTA has found only 5 out of 120 Silverliner V cars that have not been affected by the cracking equalizer beams. Knueppel stressed that the issue is progressive, meaning it develops slowly over time, and the cars have not reached the point of failure.

SEPTA was unable to say when service will be back to normal, but said that limited schedules may persist throughout the summer. The authority is working with Amtrak and New Jersey Transit to borrow rail cars.

Knueppel said the issue is unlikely to affect travel for visitors to the Democratic National Convention, because SEPTA anticipates that ridership won’t increase significantly at peak hours during that event, which is scheduled for July 25th to July 28th.

SEPTA also announced on Tuesday that it would offer refunds or credits on future purchases to Regional Rail commuters who purchased weekly or monthly passes prior to the authority implementing limited rail service. Details on refunds here.

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