Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania public transit agencies’

SEPTA Pauses Expansion of Norristown Line

March 19, 2023

Work on extending the Norristown High Speed Line in Philadelphia has come to a screeching halt due to lack of funding.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said the four-mile extension to King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, is being paused after the Federal Transit Administration declined to approve a grant for the project.

A SEPTA news release also cited rising costs due to inflation and high interest rates as other factors that led to the project being halted.

In declining to provide a grant for the project the FTA said it had concerns over whether SEPTA would be able to come up with its share of the project costs.

That included covering cost overruns for the project, which has ballooned from an estimated $2.08 billion in August 2020 to $3.02 billion today.

“SEPTA’s capital budget has been underfunded for decades,” SEPTA CEO Leslie S. Richards said in a statement. “This has left the Authority with significantly fewer resources than peer agencies to pursue system expansion while also addressing critical infrastructure needs. With the funding we have currently, SEPTA must prioritize essential infrastructure work and safety and security improvements to maximize the reliability and effectiveness of our aging system.”

SEPTA said it has spent about $53 million so far on the project since 2012.

SEPTA Rail Contract Being Reviewed

February 28, 2023

The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an investigation into the procurement of new rail cars by the Southeast Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

SEPTA awarded a $138 million contract to China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation to build 45 rail cars.

The OIG audit will review whether the contract violates the Federal Transit Authority’s Buy America requirements for the acquisition of rolling stock.

In a news release, the USDOT OIG said the audit will examine FTA’s oversight of SEPTA’s certification of CRRC’s adherence to Buy America requirements, and SEPTA’s calculation of the total value of foreign components. The audit is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

Alstom Gets Contract to Build SEPTA Trolleys

February 25, 2023

A Philadelphia public transit agency plans to buy modern trolley cars that will be fully accessible.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority awarded a $714 million contract to Alstom Transportation for the new cars, which the agency said would comply with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Alstom will build 130 cars with an option for 30 additional vehicles. Delivery of the new trolleys is scheduled to begin in 2027 with full fleet delivery by the end of 2030.

In a news release, SEPTA said the new cars will be longer and have a higher capacity than existing cars.

The new cars will have low floors and ramps, wider pathways, audio and visual messaging systems, and designated open space for wheelchairs, walkers, strollers and bikes.

1 Hurt in SEPTA Derailment

February 7, 2023

One woman was taken to a hospital after a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority rapid-transit train derailed Saturday night.

The derailment occurred just before midnight on the Market-Frankford line, SEPTA’s most used transit route.

Although SEPTA said the cause of the derailment remained under investigation, a broken rail discovered during track work after the derailment may have been the cause.

The derailment occurred just before midnight and involved a train carrying 100 passengers.

It occurred between the 2nd Street and Spring Garden stations. The third car of the six-car trainset jumped the rails.

The line is normally closed for maintenance between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. However, service wasn’t restored until 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The woman taken to a hospital reported having knee pain. There were no other injuries.

SEPTA Names Chief Safety Officer

January 30, 2023

Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has appointed Ronald Keele as its chief safety officer.

He will lead the development, monitoring and necessary adjustment of SEPTA’s plan to “ensure a safe and healthy environment for all employees, riders, and community members,” SEPTA said in a news release.

That includes development of methods to measure the Authority’s safety performance and establish programs to routinely involve executive leadership in safety planning.

Keele comes to SEPTA from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority where he held a similar position as a safety officer.

SEPTA Pilot Program Seeks Increased Safety

November 19, 2022

The Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has agreed to a contract with ZeroEyes to create a pilot program to reduce gun-related violence on rail station platforms.

SEPTA is the first major public transit agency to use ZeroEyes, although that company’s work has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Defense, public school districts, Fortune 500 companies and universities.

ZeroEyes uses proprietary technology to identify those brandishing guns and alerting police and other security personnel to come to the scene.

SEPTA said the ZeroEyes program will supplement and not replace its own existing security efforts. The project is expected to begin in about two months.

ZeroEyes bills itself as the only artificial intelligence-based gun detection video analytics platform that holds the U.S. Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act Designation.

The company employs former military and law enforcement specialists who monitor every detection from an operations center.

In announcing the contract with ZeroEyes, SEPTA officials said the agency does not perform any facial recognition, nor receive, record, store, or share videos or images of any person.

SEPTA Board President Pasquale T. Deon Sr. said the agency has 30,000 cameras throughout its system.

The pilot program will use existing SEPTA cameras at stations along the Market-Frankford and Broad Street Lines.

Pittsburgh Tunnel Reopened to Transit Rail Vehicles

November 17, 2022

A Pittsburgh light rail car emerges from the Mt. Washington transit tunnel in July 2011.

Light rail vehicles have resumed operation through the Mt. Washington Transit Tunnel in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit said it has completed a two-year project to install a $14.1 million electrical system upgrade project.

Light rail vehiicles have been unable to use the tunnel during that work.

The 3,500-foot tunnel was built in 1904 beneath Mt. Washington and Beltzhoover. It has been closed nearly every night since the project began in July 2020.

It is the only tunnel in the United States shared by light-rail and bus service.

SEPTA Makes 100th Anniversary of ‘Frankford EL’

November 15, 2022

SEPTA recently marked the 100th anniversary of the Frankford elevated section of the Market-Frankford line.

The line connects Northeast Philadelphia with Center City and is SEPTA’s most heavily used line.

The line stretches 13.5 miles with 28 stations. The travel time between Upper Darby/West Philadelphia to Frankford in lower Northeast Philadelphia in 45 minutes.

The original Market Elevated Railway Line opened March 4, 1907, with six miles of track for service from east to west from 69th Street to City Hall at 15th Street.

The Frankford extension stretched the line from Old City to Bridge Street in Northeast Philadelphia.

In a news release, SEPTA said that when construction of the 6.5-mile Frankford section line began in September 1915 it featured such innovations as concrete in the support beams to reduce vibration and noise from passing trains. Another innovation was railcar doors that automatically retracted if they bumped a passenger.

During the 1970s construction of Interstate 95 through Center City Philadelphia resulted in some changes to the “Frankford El” as it is called.

The line was relocated to the highway median and a station at Spring Garden replaced the old Fairmount station. The line was then rebuilt between 1987 and 2000.

SEPTA Regional Rail Extension Opens

August 23, 2022

New schedules and service to a new regional rail station have been implemented by Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

The 3.5-mile extension of service to the Wawa Station in Media, Pennsylvania, is the first expansion of the SEPTA rail network since 1985.

The rail line is now known as the Media/Wawa Line. It previously was named the Media/Elwyn Line.

New schedules that went into effect last Sunday have restored early morning service on the Airport Line on weekends, and provide earlier service to Center City Philadelphia on the Trenton, Lansdale/Doylestown, and West Trenton lines.

SEPTA Partnership to Give Football Fans Free Rides After Philadelphia Eagles Home Games

August 13, 2022

Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority announced it has reached a partnership with a sports betting company to provide free rides for those attending Philadelphia Eagles home games.

The partnership with sportsbook app betPARX Casino & Sportsbook will provide rides that begin at the NRG Station on the Broad Street Line.

SEPTA said it will operate 10 trains on the Broad Street Line to NRG Station. Six Sports Express trips will run every 10 minutes departing Fern Rock Station beginning at 6 p.m.

Local and Express trains will give rides from the NRG Station after each game.

There will be a free transfer to the Broad Street Line from the Market-Frankford Line and City Trolley routes at 15th Street/City Hall.

It also connects to bus routes that provide service throughout the city and region, and it is accessible from the PATCO High Speed Line for riders from South Jersey.