Philadelphia-area commuters will have to wait a little longer for a normal commute. SEPTA announced on Wednesday a slow return of Silverliner V cars starting around Labor Day and a return to full service in October.
About 10 of the 120 cars, which make up a third of the squadron of the rail cars, from SEPTA's Regional Rail will be returned each week starting Aug. 21, SEPTA said.
The reintroduction of rail cars will last though mid-November, but General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel said at a news conference that he expects the rail line to be back to normal by October.
The Silverliners were taken out of service in July after the discovery of fatigue cracks. Hyundai Rotem, the company that built the newest cars in SEPTA's fleet, said the cracks were from a faulty weld on weight-bearing beams; Knueppel said on Wednesday that the weld was flawed in design and manufacturing, but SEPTA will make "sure [the new] beam will have a great service life."
"We sincerely regret the inconvenience to customers resulting from the recent rail car shortage," Knueppel said. "A fast, but exhaustive, investigation has produced valuable information on how to create a new and improved design for these equalizer beams. SEPTA can now look forward to restoring full service starting later this summer."
Regional Rail schedules were modified for the summer, causing ridership and revenue losses. Knueppel assured the public that riders will not have to foot the bill for the Silverliner V repairs.
A new modified service schedule is expected in September. In the meantime, SEPTA said it is leasing cars from Amtrak, NJ Transit and MARC and will "soon" announce plans for express bus service to help alleviate the congestion.