More than 40 Market-Frankford Line cars were taken out of service this week for inspections, after two were found with a crack to the main support beam, SEPTA said Monday.
To offset the crush of Philadelphia rush hour commuters, SEPTA will be supplementing the subway line with shuttle buses during morning and evening peak hours, the transit service announced on its website.
SEPTA said 144 cars are needed for those peak service times throughout the sysem. On Monday morning, SEPTA operated the line about 30 to 40 cars short of that number. Andrew Busch, a spokesman for SEPTA, told Metro that it's unclear how long these cars will remain out of service.
The entire fleet — about 220 cars — was built by the same company and delivered to SEPTA over a period of about two years, starting in 1997.
Busch said the transit authority is still unsure whether the cracks are a wear-and-tear issue or design flaw by the manufacturer, Germany's Adtranz (now Bombardier Transportation), but that will be apparent after further examination.
A crack in the main support beam could result in failure of the vehicle, Busch said, adding that routine inspections prevented that from happening. The other cars that were removed had displayed "similar characteristics," but did not have a crack in the beam, he said.
In July 2016, SEPTA pulled 120 Silverliner V cars — a third of the Regional Rail fleet — after the discovery of fatigue cracks from a faulty weld on the weight-bearing beams. Those cars were manufactured and repaired by Hyundai Rotem, which did not manufacture the Market-Frankford Line cars.