SEPTA Recalls “Fixed” Train Cars for Another Fix

SEPTA and car manufacturer Hyundai Rotem discovered a design error during an inspection on Saturday.

SEPTA says the first of the sidelined Silverliner V railcars should be back in service the week of Aug. 21.

SEPTA has temporarily sidelined 18 of its recently “fixed” Silverliner V Regional Rail cars after discovering a design error during a joint inspection by the transit agency and manufacturer Hyundai Rotem on Saturday, September 10th.

Hyundai Rotem, a South Korean company, will make further design modifications to a part of the train car called the “foot,” which supports the cars’ new equalizer beams. Fatigue cracks in the cars’ old equalizer beams were discovered in early July, prompting the removal of 120 Silverliner V cars — more than a third of SEPTA’s entire fleet — and heavy adjustments to SEPTA’s Regional Rail service.

A design error in the re-redesigned cars led to undesired contact between the cars’ new and old components, SEPTA officials said. Damage from the contact would have resulted in the need for “increased inspection and maintenance efforts,” according to a press release.

“SEPTA is committed to making sure the repair process is done correctly to ensure a long-lasting life,” SEPTA general manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel said in a statement today. “This is why we are conducting thorough tests and inspections, such as the one on Saturday that revealed this problem.”

The sidelined cars had been either returned to service or deemed ready to return to service. SEPTA has not said whether removing these cars from service will affect the current modified schedule the agency is running. Newly repaired cars will be available next week.

SEPTA officials said normal weekday Regional Rail schedules are expected to resume sometime between October 3rd and October 10th, assuming Hyundai Rotem returns a necessary number of Silverliner V rail cars to service by then. Regional Rail has been running on an adapted schedule, made possible by leased rail cars from other transportation agencies.

All Silverliner V cars are expected to return to service by mid-November.

“All parties involved are working around the clock to restore the Silverliner V fleet to service in a timely fashion,” Knueppel said. “We sincerely regret the continued inconvenience to our customers.”

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.