August 22, 2016
"When [they] don't post that stuff and don't announce that stuff, you're just at their mercy. " - Rider Laurie Gerner, about her canceled train This is no way to run a railroad: SEPTA dispatchers "flying blind," or losing track of trains because of poor communication with Amtrak, and riders not knowing when their train will show up because of chronic lateness and unreliable status reports. Each weekday, 65,000 Regional Rail passengers ride in cars dating to the 1970s, on tracks that are 100 years old. No wonder more than 40,000 trains (17 percent)
July 23, 2016 |
SEPTA's board chairman said Thursday that he has no second thoughts about buying the railcars that were recently pulled from service due to flaws found in one of their key components. "I was very comfortable with those guys being able to do the job," said Pasquale "Pat" Deon, referring to Hyundai Rotem, which received the contract to build 120 cars 10 years ago. Deon was board chairman at the time. Hyundai Rotem's railcars, the Silverliner V's, were delivered from 2010 to 2013 and this month were revealed to have fatigue cracks in equalizer beams, pieces that transfer weight from a car to the axles.
July 21, 2016 |
A flawed weld that attaches a plate to a key weight-bearing beam is at the root of SEPTA's rail-car woes, the company that built the cars acknowledged for the first time Tuesday. "The design of how it was welded and the weld itself are in question," Andrew Hyer, marketing and business-development manager at Hyundai Rotem, said Tuesday in the company's first extended comments since cracks in the beams forced SEPTA to pull one-third of its rail cars from service. "How we decide to weld the material may make all the difference," Hyer said.
July 19, 2016
ISSUE | SEPTA How thorough are regular inspections? Two editorials gave credit to SEPTA for having detected the structural fault in commuter railcars before there was any injury ("No time for slow route," July 7; "SEPTA trains' tortuous track," Wednesday). For that, all train travelers are blessed. I wonder, however, how thorough safety inspections were when, after seeing that one coach was out of kilter, SEPTA determined that 115 of 120 Silverliner V coaches had structural cracks and all of them needed to be taken out of service immediately.
July 14, 2016
The wholesale failure of SEPTA's new commuter railcars has been inconvenient, unsettling, and, to the extent transit officials cast it as the public's problem rather than theirs, exasperating. But it was not entirely unforeseeable. The tortuous process that led to SEPTA's star-crossed purchase of the 120 Hyundai Rotem cars now sidelined with structural flaws produced more warning signals than an active railroad crossing. To wit: SEPTA preliminarily awarded the quarter-billion-dollar contract to a Hyundai-led consortium in 2004 even though the agency's staff ranked the proposal last of four bids.
July 8, 2016
What car owner would take it in stride if cracks showed up in his vehicle's axle or frame only a few years into its expected road life? Similar circumstances face SEPTA, which has had to sideline a third of its commuter rail's cars because of a dangerous manufacturing defect that will be costly to correct. Day 2 of service disruptions for SEPTA Regional Rail found trains and platforms much more crowded than Monday, which was a holiday. Trains with no room for additional passengers were forced to bypass stations and operate as expresses Tuesday.
July 7, 2016 |
SEPTA's decision to ground the largest fleet of passenger railcars built by Hyundai Rotem's South Philadelphia factory didn't hurt the company's share price, which rose modestly in trading Monday on the Korea Stock Exchange. Hyundai Rotem's investors such as Vanguard Group are used to the political, scheduling, and quality-control disputes that often plague multinational military and transit-vehicle providers, such as Hyundai Rotem. Still, the headlines over the weekend - that inspectors are checking welds while passengers are herded into crowded, older trains, possibly for months - do not help the company's efforts, or the city's, to achieve the decades-old dream of growing its Weccacoe Avenue plant into a center for the U.S. passenger railcar business, and become a successor to long-vanished American manufacturers.
July 4, 2016 |
SEPTA said Saturday that it had removed 120 Silverliner V passenger cars - nearly a third of its passenger railcar fleet - from service due to a "significant structural defect," and that the cars would remain sidelined until repairs are made. The decision raised the prospect of considerable commuter delays when work schedules return to normal after the July 4 holiday weekend. SEPTA spokeswoman Carla Showell-Lee said that the defects had been discovered Friday and that the decision to pull them from service was made in a conference call of senior SEPTA managers.
December 20, 2014 |
SEPTA will spend $55.5 million to replace the 120-year-old Crum Creek rail bridge on the busy Media-Elwyn line in Delaware County, after approval by the SEPTA board Thursday. Replacement of the 925-foot-long bridge between Swarthmore and Nether Providence Township, which will require rail commuters to switch to buses for part of the route in 2016, is to begin early next year and be completed by the spring of 2017. The SEPTA board also approved other major spending Thursday, including: $6.6 million to buy 40 new 60-foot buses instead of 40-foot vehicles to accommodate more passengers.
January 26, 2014 |
Malfunctioning doors on SEPTA's Regional Rail trains and Market-Frankford subway-elevated cars have plagued riders this week, as snow and ice have crippled their automated operation. On the railroad, the new Silverliner V railcars appear to be especially vulnerable to snow and cold, leaving riders unable to get out at their stops. Snow and ice can short out electric motors or block the tracks on which the doors move, forcing train operators to "cut out" or turn off a door to permit a train to move.