Posts Tagged ‘Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’

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.

SEPTA Pulls AEM-7s Out of Retirement for Wash Duty

November 9, 2021

If you are a fan of AEM-7 electric locomotives you might want to head to Philadelphia.

Railfan and Railroad reported on its website that the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is putting stored AEM-7s temporarily back into service on what it terms “wash trains.”

These are movements that seek to “wash” away the residue of fallen leaves on rails which can reduce the friction of a train’s wheels with the rail.

SEPTA officials said they use a number of methods to clean rails of leaf residue, including high pressure spraying with a mixture of water, gel and sand.

The “wash trains” typically operate after the evening rush hour and throughout the night. The trains are expected to operate up to the Thanksgiving holiday.

AEM-7 locomotives once were the standard locomotive on the Northeast Corridor for Amtrak but have since been replaced.

At SEPTA, the AEM-7 units were replaced in 2018 by ACS-64 locomotives.

This article has been corrected to reflect that wash trains are maintenance of way operations and not revenue service.

Grants to Fund Green Motive Power in Pennsylvania

November 3, 2021

Pennsylvania has awarded $8.7 million to three projects that will replace diesel switch engines with green motive power.

The funding will go to U.S. Steel ($4.5 million), the Bessemer & Lake Erie ($2.9 million) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority ($1.2 million).

The grants are being awarded from the Marine and Rail Freight Movers Grant Program of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

U.S. Steel plans to replace two diesel switchers with lithium-ion battery powered units. The new switchers will operate at the Clairton Steel Works and the Edgar Thompson Plant.

The B&LE also plans to a diesel-powered switcher with a new lithium-ion, battery-electric unit.

SEPTA will replace a diesel locomotive built in 2008 with a new EPA Tier 4-certified diesel-electric locomotive with idle-reduction technology.

Agreement Averts Possible Strike Against SEPTA

November 2, 2021

A potential transit strike has been averted in Philadelphia after the two sides reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.

The Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority reached the pact with the Transit Workers Union Local 234, which represents many SEPTA workers.

In a news release, SEPTA said new contract affects employees of the city, suburban and Frontier Transit divisions and provides pay hikes, a pandemic payment, paid parental leave and Juneteenth as a new paid holiday.

Members of the union must still vote to ratify the agreement before it becomes effective. The SEPTA governing board also must approve the agreement.

SEPTA Launches Project to Improve Transit Access

October 29, 2021

A Philadelphia public transit agency has begun a program to improve access to its services.

The Transit Supportive Community Development program of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority also seek to increase equity and ridership, enhance local economies and reduce reliance on personal vehicles, the agency said in a news release.

The program will support development along corridors with frequent transit service.

“Development that supports and expands access to transit is key to reaping the benefits of public transportation, like reduced greenhouse gas emissions, reduced household transportation costs, and increased social mobility,” said SEPTA CEO and General Manager Leslie Richards.

Groundbreaking Held for New Depot in Pennsylvania

October 26, 2021
Artists rendering of the planned new station in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Oct. 22 in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, to mark the start of construction of a new passenger station.

The $65 million facility will serve Amtrak’s Keystone Corridor and commuter trains of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. It is expected to open in 2025.

It is being built east of the existing station, which has been closed for more than 25 years.

Officials said the original station is located on a curve, which precludes the establishment of ADA-accessible platforms.

The new Coatesville station will have 530-foot-long ADA-accessible high-level platforms with canopies and seating, elevators, ramps, site lighting and security, improved drainage, and surface parking.

Funding is being provided by the Federal Transit Administration ($52 million), Pennsylvania Department of Transportation ($13 million) and Chester County ($700,000).

SEPTA Union Authorizes Strike

October 26, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority is facing its first strike since 2016.

Members of Local 234 of the Transport Workers Union authorized the strike in the event that contract negotiations break down.

Negotiations between the union, which represents 5,000 SEPTA employees, and SEPTA management have been ongoing since summer. The union’s contract expires on Nov. 1.

News reports indicate the key issues in the talks are wages, pandemic hazard pay and parental leave.

A strike would affect subway, trolley, and bus service, but not Regional Rail commuter trains.

SEPTA Rail Project Advances With FTA

October 14, 2021

The Federal Transit Administration has admitted the King of Prussia rail project of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to the project development phase of its Capital Investment Grant program.

The Philadelphia-based public transit agency is planning to extend its Norristown High Speed Line four miles into King of Prussia.

In a news release, SEPTA said that once the project is completed it will provide a 45-minute travel time between King of Prussia and Center City and University City.

SEPTA Increases Use of Social Workers

October 9, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority will launch efforts to assist those who take refuge on its public transit system.

SEPTA plans to use social workers from Merakey Parkside Recovery, Eagle Staffing and One Day at a Time to assist those experiencing homelessness, addiction and mental illness.

The workers will expand the reach of SEPTA’s Safety, Cleaning, Ownership, Partnerships and Engagement program that began earlier this year.

The SEPTA Transit Police Department will assign a  officer with a social worker for patrols in order to provide additional resources.

SEPTA Seeks New Vision for Regional Rail

September 24, 2021

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority is seeking to create a new vision for its regional rail services.

The new vision is expected to be incorporated in the Philadelphia-based agency’s strategic plan for fiscal years 2021-2026.

Changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic are figuring into the agency’s thinking about the future.

Before the pandemic, regional rail trains served 132,000 riders a day. But SEPTA researchers have found that many SEPTA riders are choosing SEPTA services that have higher fares, less frequent service and less accessibility rather than regional rail.

As currently constituted, regional rail is viewed by SEPTA as part of a lifestyle network of frequent, all-day and all-week services that connects people to a range of destinations across the region.

The project being undertaken by SEPTA, known as Reimagining Regional Rail, will consider infrastructure, equipment, operations and policies as it creates a new vision for the service.

The first phase of the project will seek to “better understand what works well, and not so well,” with Regional Rail, and set goals.

SEPTA will seek comment from current, past and potential riders as well as operators, staff and other stakeholders.

“These conversations will help our region identify a long-term vision, as well as shorter-term improvements to services, schedules and fare polices that make Regional Rail more convenient,”  SEPTA officials said.

The agency has created and launched a survey to get views on how often trains should run; what mix of express and local service there should be; how stations should be designed; how regional rail should connect to rapid transit, trolleys, buses and other rail service; and how fares should be integrated with other transit services.

The second phase of the project will get underway this winter and next spring. During that phase, SEPTA plans to develop options and seek public comment on them.

The third phase will be undertaken in summer and fall 2022 and focus on finishing the regional rail vision and creating a plan to implement it.

SEPTA General Manager and CEO Leslie S. Richard said nothing is off limits.

 “We are rethinking frequency, route lengths, fares, connections to buses and rail transit and more—all in the name of making Regional Rail more useful to more people,” she said.