SEPTA Regional Rail issue resolved for Tuesday commute after signaling problem caused delays

SEPTA officials said the issues began around 5:20 p.m. and became more apparent around 6 p.m.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024
SEPTA Regional Rail issue resolved for Tuesday commute after signal problem
Riders on SEPTA's Regional Rail lines faced significant delays Monday night due to signal issues, according to the transit agency.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- SEPTA Regional Rail lines issue should be resolved Tuesday morning after a switch and signal problem caused major delays during the afternoon commute Monday.

So far Tuesday morning, there aren't any delays or cancellations on the board yet at the Wayne Junction Station.

Officials said the issues began around 5:20 p.m. Monday at the Wayne Junction Station in Germantown and became more apparent by 6 p.m.

It resulted in a domino effect across the regional rail network, affecting at least 13 regional rail train lines used by thousands of people.

All trains were temporarily stopped and then operated on major delays of more than an hours in some cases.

The issue was still not resolved as of 11 p.m.

Trains experienced delays of up to an hour due to a "failure in the communications system within the signal equipment" at Wayne Junction Station, according to the transit agency.

Officials say the communication system's malfunction impacted the ability of the signals to communicate with the SEPTA dispatch center.

According to the transit agency, trains were stopped immediately when the issue arose to maintain safe operations. The trains were resumed when field personnel began manually throwing the switches.

Officials explained that this type of manual operation requires low-speed travel, which has caused major delays that could last into Tuesday.

The Philadelphia International Airport, Chestnut Hill East, Chestnut Hill West, Fox Chase, Doylestown, Media, Norristown, Thorndale, Trenton, Warminster, Newark, and West Trenton regional rail lines are all dealing with delays, SEPTA said.

SEPTA asked riders to check for the latest updates and delays on its X account and online.

SEPTA says they're currently working on a 3-year project to replace the signal system that caused the issue and are trying now to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Action News spoke with commuters who said the major delays left many riders stuck on Monday night.

"It's been a mess, but welcome to SEPTA," said Temple University student Fodie Koita.

For Koita, all of Monday evening was spent trying to get back to campus.

"I got off of work at 35th and Market. I was waiting for the airport line," he said. "Of course, canceled for the whole night."

Sade McClure was at the Wayne Junction Station waiting for her dad when the delays hit. When she spoke with Action News, she had been to three other stops with no luck.

"He's coming from Center City, so that's a long way to go," said McClure.

Read the full statement from SEPTA below:

"SEPTA sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience to our customers. Tonight's signal issues are due to a failure in the communications system within the signal equipment at Wayne Junction. This has impacted the ability of the signals to communicate with our dispatch center. To maintain safe operations, we immediately stopped trains when the issue arose at about 5:15 p.m., got crews in place, and then resumed with our field personnel manually throwing the switches so trains could move. These crews have been in constant radio contact with the dispatch center to ensure safety for customers and employees. This type of operation requires low-speed travel, and unfortunately that has caused major delays.

We currently have all available maintainers, specialists and managers working to troubleshoot and solve the problem and bring the system back to normal. Some progress has been made, but the system is not yet fully back online. Customers should check, @SEPTA and the SEPTA App in the morning.

There is an ongoing project to replace this portion of our signal system. It will be complete within three years. Tonight's problems will be fully reviewed to help ensure that our customers are not inconvenienced like this again while we complete these infrastructure upgrades. We will provide further updates as they are available."