Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’

RAISE Grants to Benefit Regional Rail Projects

November 23, 2021

Projects in Ohio, Detroit and Philadelphia will receive a share of nearly $1 billion in U.S. Department of Transportation Rebuilding American Infrastructure With Sustainability and Equity grants.

The Michigan Department of Transportation will receive $10 million to be used for the New Center Intermodal Facility Project.

Project plans include a new station to serve Amtrak trains and local and intercity buses that will replace an existing depot in the New Center neighborhood of Detroit.

The new facility will comply with Americans with Disabilities standards and have a multi-level parking garage.

It will be located on the south side of the Canadian National tracks used by Amtrak’s Chicago-Detroit (Pontiac) Wolverine Service trains.

The existing boarding platform at the site will be lengthened and rehabilitated. The boarding platform will be connected to the new station by a tunnel.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will receive $15 million to improve the 19th Street and 37th Street trolley subway stations.

That work is part of a larger trolley modernization program. The RAISE Grant will be used to bring both stations into compliance with ADA standards, rehabilitate boarding areas and conduct other renovations to station facilities.

The Maumee Watershed Conservancy District of Findlay will receive $7.1 million for replacement of a bridge carrying Norfolk Southern tracks over the Blanchard River.

The new bridge will be a three-span, through plate girder structure with a ballast deck.

RAISE grants are one of the few USDOT discretionary programs that allow regional and local governments to directly compete for multimodal transportation funding.

The funding provide are to be used for “planning and capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure and were awarded on a competitive basis for projects that will have a significant local or regional impact,” USDOT said in a news release.

The maximum grant award is $25 million with no more than $100 million being awarded to a single state.

Pa. Transit Agencies to Increase Capacity

May 19, 2021

Public transit agencies in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are increasing the capacity of trains and buses at the end of this month.

Pittsburgh’s Port Authority of Allegheny County said it will increase light rail and bus capacity on May 31 and lift all limits on June 20.

Limits will rise from 25 to 35 at the end of May. “What we’ve heard is some businesses may be starting to have workers come back to their offices,” a Port Authority spokesman said. “We want to be prepared for that when it occurs.”

The Philadelphia-based Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will lift capacity limits on its trains and buses on June 1.

In a statement the agency said removing vehicle capacity limits to meet increased ridership demand is a major step in the region’s recovery.

The statement said that a mask requirement will remain in place.

SEPTA To Gradually Restore Suspended Service

April 26, 2021

Service restorations and a hiring freeze are highlights of the operating budget recently approved by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.

SEPTA said the restoration of service suspended during theCOVID-19 pandemic would be gradual.

This includes restoration to 96 percent of pre-pandemic service for buses, subways, trolleys, and the Norristown High Speed rail line.

SEPTA officials said that by fall 80 percent of regional rail service will have been restored.

Bus service is currently at at about 85 percent of pre-pandemic levels while regional rail is at about 64 percent.

Aside from a hiring freeze SEPTA is making other cost cut as part of its $1.5 billion operating budget. The budget includes $368 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding.

The agency’s capital budget is expected to be announced this week.

Pa. County Joins Passenger Rail Commission

February 7, 2021

Commissioners in Berks County, Pennsylvania, have voted to join a Tri-County Rail Commission, which is seeking to restore rail passenger service between Philadelphia and Reading, Pennsylvania.

Also members of the Commission are Chester and Montgomery counties.

The Commission will study the next steps to be taken to advance work done by a 2020 study conducted by the Berks Alliance group.

That study made the case for passenger restoration on the route.

Philly-Reading Rail Service Could Cost $818M to get Started

January 13, 2021

Implementing rail passenger service between Philadelphia and Reading, Pennsylvania, would cost up to $818 million in capital expenses, a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation study concluded.

The study found the 12-station, 59-mile service could attract up to 6,400 passengers daily,

However, PennDOT said several significant issues must be addressed to determine the concept’s feasibility.

One of those is whether host railroad Norfolk Southern would  be a “willing party” to negotiate access, improvements and fees.

NS tracks would be used between Reading and Norristown and are not electrified, a fact that could complicate equipment decisions.

The report said the existing SEPTA route between Norristown and Philadelphia is heavily used and might not be able to accommodate additional trains.

Additional studies are needed to make a detailed infrastucture and service feasibility study; a Norfolk Southern operational feasibility study; development of local support and funding; preparation of design and environmental documents; and completion of a preliminary memorandum of understanding between Norfolk Southern and SEPTA or whatever entity would be the project sponsor.

If funding can be arranged the service could be launched in 2030.

Buses to Replace Some SEPTA Weekend Rail Service

November 14, 2020

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will shift some overnight weekend rail service to bus service.

The change, which takes effect on Nov. 15, affects rail service on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines.

The public transit agency said that workers will be cleaning rail stations during the time periods when buses are replacing rail service.

Full weekend overnight service will still be provided, SEPTA said, noting that it has increased the frequency of its bus routes and buses will stop at all stations along both rail lines. 

SEPTA also said it will enhance midday local service on the Broad Street Line so that trains run at least every seven minutes. 

Resolution Supports Commuter Rail Expansion

August 29, 2020

A Pennsylvania township governing board has approved a resolution calling for rail commuter service between Reading, Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia.

The Board of Commissioners of Lower Pottsgrove adopted the resolution, which directs township manager Ed Wagner write a letter in support of the effort by Berks Alliance.

The community development organization is pushing for revival of the long-abandoned rail service, saying it could have an economic development value of more than $1 billion.

Lower Pottsgrove is located on the proposed route at about the halfway point.

SEPTA Union Calls off Job Action

April 24, 2020

A “job action: by union workers of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority was called off earlier this week after the intervention of Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney.

The leaders of Transport Workers Union Local 234 say their members remain unsatisified with SEPTA’s measures to protect its employees from the COVID-19 virus, but have bowed to the wishes of the mayor.

Union members had planned to take the job action to protest what they described as inadequate protections against the virus.

Union head Willie Brown said his members are not striking for now, but are suggesting that SEPTA riders find alternative ways to get to work.

Brown said if SEPTA doesn’t improve working conditions then his union will be undertaking a job action.

City representative Kelly Cofrancisco said “health-care workers and other essential staff are relying on SEPTA more than ever.”

Philadelphia Railcar Plant to Close

August 21, 2018

A South Korean company is giving up later this month on a railcar plant that it opened 10 years ago in South Philadelphia.

Hyundai Roten said it will move out of the 300,000-square-foot factory on Weccacoe Avenue.

Since 2009 Hyundai has built 120 Silverliner V EMU commuter cars for SEPTA, and later rehabilitated the cars for the agency through 2016.

However, the the Silverliners were plagued by faulty welds, which created operations headaches for SEPTA.

The factory had a peak payroll of 300 workers. Another factor in the closing of the plant was SEPTA’s decision to award China’s CRRC Corporation a $137.5 million contract to build new bi-level cars.