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NEWS
July 5, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer
Structural failures found in a third of SEPTA's train fleet are forcing more than 100 cars off the tracks indefinitely. Fixes could take the rest of the summer, but riders who account for 150,000 trips on Regional Rail each day will likely face crowded trains and big delays. "Unfortunately, it will be rough on our railroad customers," said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's general manager. The flaw, a crack in a weight-bearing beam on a train car's undercarriage, has shown up in almost all of SEPTA's Silverliner V's, the newest trains in its Regional Rail fleet.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Tricia Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
Just before Tuesday's deadly Amtrak derailment, both a SEPTA commuter train and another Amtrak train in the same corridor were hit by projectiles, one which crashed through the engineer's window. An Amtrak spokesman could not be reached regarding Amtrak Acela Train 2173, which passengers said was struck at about 9:05 p.m. A SEPTA train was struck by a projectile at about 9:10 p.m., according to a SEPTA spokeswoman, who said there is no indication the incident is connected to the derailment, which happened at about 9:30 p.m. Mayor Nutter, at a news conference Wednesday afternoon, reiterated that the incident with the SEPTA train had "nothing to do" with the derailment.
NEWS
February 28, 2014 | BY JASON NARK, Daily News Staff Writer narkj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5916
A FREIGHT TRAIN carrying crude oil derailed on a Grays Ferry bridge last month because a maintenance crew didn't follow protocols, the rail line's operator reported yesterday. CSX, according to a statement, told the Federal Railroad Administration that the Jan. 20 derailment over the Schuylkill occurred during a maintenance upgrade. The crew, according to CSX, finished the upgrade without "following CSX engineering protocols. " The crew did not replace temporary fasteners on the railroad ties with permanent ties, CSX said.
NEWS
January 27, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, STAFF WRITER
The public will get an additional two weeks to comment on the long-term plans for the Northeast rail corridor that propose major changes for the route's path through Philadelphia. The comment period for the draft environmental impact statement was extended from Jan. 30 to Feb. 15 due to heavy interest from the public, Federal Railroad Administration officials said. The NEC Future long term plan offers three visions for the 457-mile corridor between Washington D.C. and Boston, and among the proposals are Amtrak service to Philadelphia International Airport and Center City.
NEWS
November 25, 2014 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Regional Rail engineers have asked federal regulators to require SEPTA to follow a safety rule designed to limit fatigue. SEPTA wants the Federal Railroad Administration to renew a waiver that the transit agency has had from the work rule for two years. The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen asked the federal agency to deny SEPTA's request and hold a public hearing on the issue, citing accidents at other railroads caused by fatigued engineers. A sleep-deprived engineer was blamed for a fatal accident in New York last year in which a Metro-North Railroad train derailed while taking a 30 m.p.h.
NEWS
January 27, 1988 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
Citizen Action, one of the nation's largest public-interest groups, called yesterday for tougher railroad safety measures, saying that federal programs are "shamefully inadequate" at protecting the riding public and that the problem is particularly acute in Philadelphia, where "SEPTA has been plagued by accidents. " Robert Creamer, a Citizen Action spokesman, said that the Federal Railroad Administration had become "a toothless tiger" under the Reagan administration and that the agency's safety regulation was "virtually nonexistent.
NEWS
July 2, 2006 | By Larry King and Mari A. Schaefer INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Human error appears to have been the likeliest cause of a rare, head-on crash yesterday between two SEPTA Regional Rail trains traveling through a Montgomery County neighborhood. There appeared to have been no mechanical or signal failures behind the mid-afternoon crash that injured about 30 people in Abington Township, SEPTA spokesman Richard Maloney said. Most of the injuries were described as minor; none appeared to be life-threatening. The four-car trains crashed shortly before 3 p.m. on a single-track section of the R2 Warminster line, between the Roslyn and Crestmont Stations.
BUSINESS
February 12, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
SEPTA managers and Regional Rail workers differed sharply Tuesday on the possible safety effects if SEPTA is permitted to avoid requirements of a federal rule designed to limit fatigue. SEPTA wants the Federal Railroad Administration to renew a waiver that the transit agency has had from the work rule for two years. At an FRA public hearing in Delaware County on Tuesday, engineers and conductors argued that a waiver would endanger passengers by forcing train crews to work with too little rest.
BUSINESS
July 13, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
As it recovers from its worst accident on the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak faces frequent management turnover and structural change,in addition tochronic financial and political challenges. Former Amtrak executives say the turmoil at the top in recent years has disrupted railroad management and distracted employees from their daily duties. Steven Ditmeyer, a former Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) executive and now an adjunct professor in railway management at Michigan State University, said: "Rapid changes in management are never good, unless they're aimed at getting rid of nonfunctioning people.
NEWS
May 5, 2000 | By Deborah Bolling, INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
After months of contentious haggling over train derailments, unexplained stoppages and equipment malfunctions, key players in the CSX dispute say they have entered into a spirit of cooperation. Emerging from a three-hour closed meeting yesterday, Darby Borough officials, state officials and representatives of CSX Corp. and the Federal Railroad Administration promised to work together to lessen and eventually eliminate the problems plaguing the rail line. "Everybody got to get in one room and vent their frustrations, and we went on from there," said State Rep. Ron Raymond (R., Delaware)
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
July 5, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer
Structural failures found in a third of SEPTA's train fleet are forcing more than 100 cars off the tracks indefinitely. Fixes could take the rest of the summer, but riders who account for 150,000 trips on Regional Rail each day will likely face crowded trains and big delays. "Unfortunately, it will be rough on our railroad customers," said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's general manager. The flaw, a crack in a weight-bearing beam on a train car's undercarriage, has shown up in almost all of SEPTA's Silverliner V's, the newest trains in its Regional Rail fleet.
NEWS
April 8, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, Staff Writer
Federal agencies have repeatedly advised railroads to use backup safety precautions for workers on the rails after accidents hauntingly similar to Sunday's fatal Amtrak crash in Chester. Sources with knowledge of the crash that killed two have said a communications lapse during a shift change contributed to workers' staying on the rails while safety precautions designed to route trains away from them were canceled. This exact scenario, according to a 2014 Federal Railroad Administration safety advisory, has been an ongoing problem in railroad work.
NEWS
January 27, 2016 | By Jason Laughlin, STAFF WRITER
The public will get an additional two weeks to comment on the long-term plans for the Northeast rail corridor that propose major changes for the route's path through Philadelphia. The comment period for the draft environmental impact statement was extended from Jan. 30 to Feb. 15 due to heavy interest from the public, Federal Railroad Administration officials said. The NEC Future long term plan offers three visions for the 457-mile corridor between Washington D.C. and Boston, and among the proposals are Amtrak service to Philadelphia International Airport and Center City.
BUSINESS
August 19, 2015 | By Andrew Maykuth, Inquirer Staff Writer
A rail-safety expert recommended Monday that Pennsylvania step up track inspections and press railroads to increase the number of electronic trackside monitors to reduce the risk of oil-train derailments. Allan M. Zarembski, a University of Delaware expert commissioned by Gov. Wolf to explore responses to a massive increase in oil-train traffic, made 27 recommendations on ways the state and railroads can reduce the risk of a catastrophic derailment. Zarembski acknowledged that the state has limited leverage over federally regulated railroads, and that the U.S. Department of Transportation and the industry have already moved to upgrade safety standards, including new railcar rules.
BUSINESS
July 24, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Federal Railroad Administration on Wednesday reminded railroads transporting crude oil that they must notify state emergency response commissions of the expected movement of trains hauling Bakken crude oil through individual states. In May, the Obama administration had said it would let a 2014 notification rule lapse as part of new regulations on oil trains. Following a backlash from communities, states, and some in Congress, the administration said it would leave the notification rule in place.
BUSINESS
July 13, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
As it recovers from its worst accident on the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak faces frequent management turnover and structural change,in addition tochronic financial and political challenges. Former Amtrak executives say the turmoil at the top in recent years has disrupted railroad management and distracted employees from their daily duties. Steven Ditmeyer, a former Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) executive and now an adjunct professor in railway management at Michigan State University, said: "Rapid changes in management are never good, unless they're aimed at getting rid of nonfunctioning people.
BUSINESS
June 28, 2015 | By Paul Nussbaum, Inquirer Staff Writer
Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) and the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce called Friday for the restoration of $242 million for Amtrak that the House cut from next year's federal budget. Casey and Lisa Crutchfield, the chamber's senior vice president of advocacy and public affairs, said Amtrak was an important economic engine for the region, critical for job growth and economic development. They urged the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on transportation, housing, and urban development to include $1.4 billion for Amtrak in the budget for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. That would be about the same as the $1.39 billion provided to Amtrak this year and higher than the $1.14 billion in the budget approved June 9 by the House.
NEWS
May 28, 2015 | Inquirer Editorial Board
With Philadelphia trying to become a major energy hub, the wall of secrecy surrounding the condition of tracks and bridges used by trains carrying highly flammable crude oil through neighborhoods, behind schools, and past commerce centers, must come down. Every week, about 150 million gallons of crude move through the region, but the people who would be most affected by an accident have no way of knowing whether the tracks or bridges used by oil freight cars are safe. More than 700,000 people in the region live within a half-mile of rail lines, The Inquirer's Paul Nussbaum reported Sunday.
NEWS
May 18, 2015 | By Jason Laughlin, Paul Nussbaum, and Dylan Purcell, Inquirer Staff Writers
The Federal Railroad Administration ordered Amtrak on Saturday to immediately install an electronic braking system at the Frankford curve that - if it had been in place last week - likely would have prevented the train derailment that killed eight people and injured more than 200. Amtrak officials said the system would be in place by the time the damaged line is reopened, perhaps as early as Tuesday, and "most certainly will be safer. " Service between Philadelphia and New York remains suspended through Monday, affecting thousands of commuters.
NEWS
May 15, 2015 | By Tom Avril, Inquirer Staff Writer
When you get right down to it, it was a question of physics. At the site of the Amtrak derailment on Tuesday, the track had a fairly significant curve. Imagine a giant circle with a diameter of nearly 2,900 feet, more than a half-mile. The track's path would trace the outline of that circle. The track also had a "superelevation" of five inches, meaning the outer rail was five inches higher than the inner rail. Given those parameters, a locomotive pulling seven Amtrak-size cars could safely travel up to about 55 m.p.h., said Pennsylvania State University engineer Steve Dillen, who performed a rough calculation at The Inquirer's request.
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