Bitter cold temps causing SEPTA equipment problems

PHILADELPHIA - January 24, 2014

Between the electronics and the mechanics, the cold is taking a toll on equipment. With more snow and frigid temperatures in the forecast, SEPTA is doing what it can to keep the city moving.

It has been a rough week for SEPTA and the tens of thousands who use the regional transit system.

First there was Tuesday's snow when everyone left the city at the same time.

"It was absolutely mad," said Pearl Robinson.

Now the bitter cold has settled in and that's causing big problems for septa's equipment and infrastructure - ask anyone who rides the rails.

"It's just been hectic for everyone that is on the commute no matter where you are or what you are doing," said Jonathan Van Derziel.

"Coming in the switches had frozen at 30th Street. We were there for half hour getting from 30th Street over to here," said Robinson.

At SEPTA's Center City command Center, they have been working around the clock to keep the system up and operational, but it has been a battle against the bitter cold.

"We just ask our customer's to bear with us," says Jeff Knueppel.

Jeff Knueppel oversees SEPTA's operations and infrastructure.

He said there is no shortage of weather-related problems: frozen switches and train doors, blowing snow.

"The light powdery snow blows around, gets into our switches, and causes havoc getting sucked into some of the traction motors blowing them out on the vehicles. So it has just been a very challenging January so far," he said.

They are monitoring the entire system down to the tiniest switch, responding as quickly as possible, and looking for new ways to keep mass transit on track.

"We've been using new de-icing things- it's almost like we have a laboratory right now where we're concocting anything we can to make sure this equipment performs in the extreme temperatures," said Knueppel.

Septa said part of the problem is that the equipment hasn't had to endure any extreme cold like this for the last two years, so every single problem related to the cold is cropping up now.

SEPTA says they do expect more problems in the days ahead and advise travelers to check SEPTA's website before you head out the door.

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