Posts Tagged ‘Public transit’

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.

3 Transit Systems to Get Federal Station Improvement Grants

December 20, 2022

Public transit systems in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are among the recipients of grants from the Federal Transit Administration to be used to modernize stations and improve their accessibility.

The agencies are sharing in $686 million being awarded to 15 projects. The grant funding is coming from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Greater Cleveland Transit Authority will receive $8 million to rebuild its East 79th Street rapid station to make it more accessible.

The 1920s era station will receive new ramps, concrete platforms, rail crossings, warning panels, canopy-covered concrete stairs, upgraded emergency call boxes, and slip-resistant walking surfaces.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit will receive $24.4 million to make the Bethel Village, Westfield, St. Anne’s, and Shiras stations on the Red Line ADA accessible. Station improvements will include installing a high platform for level boarding, shelters on the boarding platform, ramps, accessible signage and auditory support.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will receive $56 million to make its 11th Street subway station on the Market-Frankford Subway Line and the Chinatown, Erie, Fairmount Upper Level, Fairmount Lower Level and Snyder stations on the Broad Street Subway Line accessible.

The stations were built in the early 20th century. Work will include installing elevators, general station upgrades, ramps, and making path of travel improvements.

RTA Eyes Grant for New Rail Cars

December 17, 2022

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will seek grant funding next year that management said could enable it to buy new rail cars.

RTA Chief Operating Officer Floun’say Caver told The Plain Dealer, that the agency has raised $209 million in cash and grants in its rail car replacement fund.

Next month it will seek a $100 million grant in funds being provided by the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that would enable it to reach its $300 million goal.

However, it will likely be up to five years before the new cars begin revenue service and the agency still has not identified a builder for the equipment.

RTA is seeking proposals from transit car vendors and continues to talk with them. The deadline for bids is March 9.

Caver said the earliest the RTA governing board would likely vote on a contract for building the new cars is next fall.

RTA also is seeking $50 million in grants from  the federal government and Ohio Department of Transportation to be used to develop a bus rapid transit route that would operate along West 25th Street from Detroit Avenue and Irishtown Bend Park to Old Brooklyn.

The agency also will seek funding to help pay for up to 10 new electric buses while replacing 20 more buses next year.

RTA recently reported that fare revenue this year has posted a modest gain but is still below what it was before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

In another development, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s All Stations Accessibility Program awarded $8 million to RTA for improvement of a rail station.

This includes the East 79th Street rail station on the Blue/Green lines, which will bring it into compliance with standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The project also will include upgrades to lighting, cameras, and emergency call boxes, and the addition of new seating, bike racks, and signs.

Pa. City Eyes Pop Up Metro Service

December 7, 2022

A Pennsylvania city wants to use the Pop Up Metro concept to provide commuter rail service to central city Philadelphia.

The West Chester Borough Council said this should be used in lieu of conventional rail service.

The council supports a study to be conducted by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and Chester County of the Pop Up concept, which uses battery-powered cars that are owned by Rail Development Corporation.

The cars would use existing rails for 8.5 miles between West Chester and Wawa. At the latter point passengers would connect with SEPTA regional rail trains.

The projected cost of using the Pop Up service would be $16 million compared with $380 million for conventional rail service.

The transit time between West Chester and Wawa would be 12 minutes with a travel time of 64 minutes to center city Philadelphia. Bus service between West Chester and Philadelphia now takes 94 minutes.

The rail line to Wawa needs to be rehabilitated, which has been estimated to cost $7.6 million.

Leasing costs for the Pop Up Metro cars would be $5 million for two years.

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.

Most Transit Agencies Have Cut Service

October 14, 2022

The American Public Transportation Association said this week that more than 80 percent of transit agencies have had to reduce service due to worker shortages.

Worker shortages have been felt by transit agencies of all sizes, APTA said in a news release.

The APTA report said 96 percent of agencies have experienced a shortage of workers, with 84 percent saying it has led to service reductions.

“This shortage is complex, multifaceted, and connected to changes in the broader culture and economy,” APTA CEO Paul P. Skoutelas said. “This workforce shortage is the confluence of multiple factors and successfully responding to it will involve a comprehensive approach.”

The report recommends that agencies address the issues by increasing wages for transit workers, improving work schedules, and establishing more effective recruiting and hiring practices.

More Urban Transit Railfanning in Chicago

October 7, 2022

Here’s some more pictures from Chicago last weekend where the Chicago Transit Authority was celebrating its 75th anniversary. The first two images are in the Loop with Trump Tower in the background. The third photo shows a Brown Line train crossing over the former Chicago & North Western station, which is now a Metra station. Finally, a Red Line train is at Belmont. The new Belmont flyover is in the background.

Photographs by Todd Dillon

No Injuries in Pittsburgh Transit Derailment

October 7, 2022

A Pittsburgh light rail system train derailed on Wednesday in Dormont.

Pittsburgh Regional Transit officials said there were no injuries in the mishap, which disrupted service on the Red Line for more than three hours.

The derailment occurred at about 10 a.m. near Kelton Avenue southwest of downtown Pittsburgh.

Officials did not give a cause of the derailment, saying it remains under investigation.