A SEPTA Regional Rail train pulls into the station on a cold day. (Charles Mostoller)

With the latest polar vortex slamming parts of the Midwest to shocking temps of negative 50 degrees, Philadelphia too has been suffering from bitter cold, with wind chills bringing the temp to a level that feels like below zero.

Luckily (or unluckily?) its not quite cold enough to shut anything down. So with students still heading to school and Mom and Dad still at work, the city and SEPTA are fighting the good fight to keep the city moving so everyone can get out and back home in one piece.

Overnight Wednesday into Thursday, as temps sunk to the single digits, SEPTA kept subway and el trains in their tunnels to protect them from the elements and keep them warmer than usual.

Some pilot trains were run along tracks to keep them relatively warm. SEPTA also lined up spare buses to serve on-call as shuttles in case any lines were hit by unexpected problems.

 

Despite these precautions and proactive measures, SEPTA was still warning its customers to prepare for some delays, dress appropriately and exercise caution on train platforms due to possible slippery conditions.

"This cold snap could cause delays and disruptions on SEPTA buses, trains and trolleys," SEPTA said. "Potentially hazardous conditions on roads, sidewalks and other areas customers regularly use could also create unsafe conditions and service disruptions."

Cold Philly

Additionally, SEPTA had its structural inspection team out checking things like viaducts, bridges, tunnels and stations that may have water filtration issues to double-check all infrastructure for safety. Regional Rail and trolley lines were operating under speed restrictions, while heaters were used on track switches to prevent them from freezing and SEPTA crews were in the field to remove ice from overhead wires or handle any other cold issues whenever necessary.

The city has declared a Code Blue. Anyone who sees a homeless person on the streets can call (215) 232-1984 to get them help.

The Philadelphia Water Department is warning citizens to keep a close eye on their pipes which may be prone to freezing during this type of weather. Information about how to protect your pipes or deal with a freeze can be found at water.phila.gov or by calling (215) 685-6300.

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