SEPTA: Return of cars to Regional Rail begins this month

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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- SEPTA announced on Wednesday the train cars that service the Regional Rail lines, which were pulled out of service in early July, will start going back into service later this month.

That rollout will begin with 10 cars going back into service the week of Aug. 21.

The goal is to return 10 additional cars each week, and have the full fleet back in service by the week of Nov. 6.

That means enough cars will be back on the tracks by sometime in October to resume a normal schedule.

More than 120 Silverliner V rail cars were taken out of service after defects were found in a majority of the fleet's suspension systems.

The loss of capacity initially lead to chaotic overcrowding and delays for rail riders.

"I can't tell you how much it hurts, me, the workforce, to have this kind of a situation. we see what our customers are going through. It's nothing we ever wanted for them," said SEPTA's general manager Jeffrey Knueppel.

Rail ridership estimated to be down 10 to 20 percent since this began. It's been costly for SEPTA, considering refunds, overtime costs, and other factors.

"Currently about $600,000 per month. By the time we get to Labor Day it will be about $1 million per month," Knueppel said.

South Korean manufacturer Hyundai Rotem has suggested flawed welds caused fatigue cracks in the beams. The manufacturer will replace the beams.

Transit officials expect to finalize the design of the replacement beams by Friday.