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SEPTA Keeps Commuters Moving with Leased Railcars

Thanks to the lease of 18 passenger railcars and three locomotives from neighboring agencies, Philadelphia’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) has restored some of the regional rail service it had been forced to cut while the entire 120-car Silverliner V fleet is undergoing repairs for a structural defect, taking 13,000 seats out of service.

The loan of railcars and locomotives has allowed SEPTA to maintain that service and even extend service on some routes and add to the frequency of operation on others. Amtrak provided two locomotives and five passenger cars; New Jersey Transit Corporation, one locomotive and eight passenger cars; and the Maryland Transit Administration, five MARC commuter rail passenger cars, at an estimated cost of more than $250,000 per month. SEPTA is also looking at other possible leases of equipment.

“We sincerely regret the inconvenience to our customers resulting from this unexpected situation, and we are looking at all possible options for adding and enhancing service,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “Amtrak, NJ Transit and MARC have been great partners in this very challenging time. We are extremely grateful for the use of this equipment, which is now helping supplement regional rail service.”

SEPTA received the Silverliner V railcars, which account for one-third of its regional rail fleet, between 2010 and 2013 and removed them from service after vehicle maintenance personnel discovered cracking in the main suspension system. The agency has completed inspection of all 120 railcars and is now analyzing engineering solutions to repair the defects and return the fleet to service.

The suspension systems are still under warranty, and SEPTA is working with the manufacturer, Hyundai Rotem, to resolve the problems.
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