PHILADELPHIA (WTXF/AP) The Philadelphia-area transit agency is urging commuters to consider other transit options with one-third of regional rail cars sidelined by a structural problems.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority took all 120 Silverliner V cars out of service Friday night after finding a fractured beam on one car and fatigue cracks on almost all other cars.
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Ron Hopkins, SEPTA assistant general manager for operations, said trains will run on a Saturday schedule until further notice with additional rush-hour service. But he said with 13,000 fewer seats, people should expect crowded conditions -- and trains will pass some people by.
SEPTA is urging people to try to get to subway or other transit lines -- and to get on regional rail trains early, some might want to "go outbound to come inbound."
SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel said the cars are still under warranty, and manufacturer Hyundai-Rotem Corp. in South Korea is helping to locate and expedite materials for repair and replacement. The company is assembling engineers to determine whether welding can fix the problem or whether the beams will have to be replaced. The company eventually plans a full replacement program with a new design.
"Given the high number of cracked equalizer beams, even an interim fix will take considerable time," Knueppel said. "It is likely that car shortages will persist on the railroad at least through July and August."
SEPTA also plans to bolster service on the Market-Frankford, Broad Street, Norristown High-Speed line and Media-Sharon Hill trolley lines, and is working with the city and school district to increase parking along those lines, for example at nearby schools where students are out for the summer.
"It is likely that the trains at interior railroad stations -- those closest to Center City -- will prove difficult to get on due to overcrowding conditions in the morning," he said. "These service options may be especially appropriate for those regular railroad riders."
Knueppel said service related to the Democratic National Convention at the end of the month is expected to involve the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines more than regional rail lines.
No such problems have occurred in 40-plus years on Silverliner IV cars, Knueppel said.
The Silverliner V cars were purchased for $274 million from Hyundai-Rotem Corp. in South Korea arrived between 2010 and 2013 after being shipped to South Philadelphia for final assembly. Their implementation was delayed several times, with the company in 2010 attributing the delays to late shipments, poor workmanship and management problems.