New Cracks Mean Commute Stress for Market-Frankford Riders
Cracks discovered in main support beams on two Market-Frankford Line cars have led SEPTA to pull a portion of the line’s car fleet out of service for inspection and repair. That means crowding and supplemental bus service on the line starting with Monday morning’s rush hour.
The removal of cars showing indications of cracking from service will leave the agency about 30 to 40 cars short of the 144 it needs to operate full peak hour weekday service. Because of this, SEPTA will run supplemental bus service starting at 6 a.m. Monday, February 6th.
From 6 to 10 a.m., the added buses will pick up inbound passengers at inner stops on the Market Street and Frankford Elevated legs of the line.
Riders on the Market Street section headed inbound from 56th Street and all stations to its west (60th, 63rd, Millbourne and 69th Street Transportation Center) will board trains as usual; the trains will make all stops inbound to Center City. Riders boarding at stations between 52nd Street and 30th Street will be directed to buses that will make all stops eastbound to 15th Street when train platforms become crowded. Passengers continuing eastward from there can transfer to trains at that station.
On the Frankford El, trains will pick up inbound riders at all stations from Frankford Transportation Center to Berks. When platforms become crowded, riders boarding at stations between Girard and 13th Street will board buses headed to 15th Street, where they can transfer to westbound trains to continue their journeys. Again, trains will make all stops on the line.
From 3 to 7 p.m., the process will be reversed. Riders westbound to 69th Street can board trains at all stops up to 30th Street; riders at stations from 34th Street west will be directed to buses as trains and platforms become crowded as needed. Eastbound riders can board trains at all stops up to 8th Street; riders boarding at stops from 5th Street eastward will be directed to buses that will make all the remaining stops. Trains in both directions will make all stops on the line.
A/B skip-stop service will be suspended for the duration. Midday, early morning and evening service will operate normally, as will the overnight Owl buses and weekend overnight trains.
SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch said the cracks were discovered during routine overhauls of the cars and that cars that have not yet been through the overhaul cycle are being removed from service to ensure rider safety. “All of the cars that will be running on Monday will have been inspected for signs of fracturing. We’re working around the clock to ensure adequate service for the peak.”
Busch added that this situation was different from the cracked equalizer bars that put the entire Silverliner V fleet out of commission last summer. He also said more information about the duration of the disruption will be announced at a news conference tomorrow afternoon (Monday, February 6).
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