Shortage of Philadelphia transit cars expected due to cracks

AP News
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Posted: Feb 05, 2017 7:12 PM

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia area's main transit agency says there will be a temporary shortage of rail cars during peak hours following the discovery of cracks in the support beams of two cars.

The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said a crack was found on a main load-carrying beam on a Market-Frankford Line car during regularly scheduled vehicle overhaul work over the weekend. Cracks were fund in two cars, and the transit agency also removed some other vehicles that had indications of possible cracks; other vehicles that have been cleared remain in service, and more cars should be added as inspections progress, SEPTA said.

"With what we've seen so far, we expect we'll be 30 to 40 cars short of the 144 we need for peak-level service," SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said Sunday night.

Beginning Monday morning, service on the Market-Frankford Line will operate as frequently as possible during the 6 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. rush hours. But express A/B stop service will be suspended, so trains will make all stops. Supplemental bus service will be positioned along the line to provide alternative service. Midday and evening service will operate on regular schedules, as will overnight bus service.

Last summer, the agency had to take about one-third of a different fleet out of service because of a structural defect. SEPTA had to repair its entire Silverliner V fleet due to cracks found in beams that distribute the weight of vehicles to their axles. The transit agency and the trains' manufacturer, South Korea's Hyundai Rotem, have attributed the flaws to a combination of design and manufacturing missteps.

SEPTA said a news conference was planned Monday afternoon to provide further details and a status update on the problems.