SEPTA to Add 1,700 Regional Rail Seats Starting Monday

SEPTA will add five borrowed trainsets to its roster to beef up service to stations nearest Center City. It's also exploring the possibility of express bus runs.


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.

“There will be 1,440 more seats between Glenside and 30th Street, and an additional early morning train from Lansdale,” Knueppel said.

In addition, leased rail cars will replace 12 Silverliner IV cars on the Trenton Line, adding an additional 300 seats at the morning and evening peak to that line. Platforms at Torresdale, Cornwells Heights and Levittown-Tullytown stations will also be lengthened over the weekend to accommodate the longer trains.

One of the leased trainsets will also operate on the Paoli/Thorndale line.

As a result, a new interim weekday schedule will take effect Monday, July 11th. Details should be available by Sunday on the SEPTA website.

As of now, SEPTA is leasing two locomotives and five Amfleet passenger coaches from Amtrak, one locomotive and eight passenger coaches from New Jersey Transit, and five passenger coaches from the Maryland Area Rail Commuter (MARC) system.

Knueppel said that further changes were in the works to replace capacity lost when the agency took all 120 of its Silverliner V rail cars out of service on July 3rd.

“We’re not done scouring the country for additional rail cars,” he said. “We’re working with other agencies to identify additional cars we can lease, and we think we can get more locomotives from Amtrak.”

SEPTA is also working with city and county officials to explore the possibility of adding express bus service from select Regional Rail stations into Center City.

“We’re also observing passenger behavior to see how we can most effectively run our additional service,” Knueppel said.

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