Ask SEPTA: Fixing the El tracks, and more reader questions
Every three weeks, SEPTA general manager Joe Casey addresses public transit questions submitted by Metro Philly readers. Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I was reading that the Frankford Elevated structure was not designed properly, and the steel members were chipping away at the concrete deck. It was said that SEPTA filed suit against the contractor to help fund a permanent repair. What has happened with this? Has the problem been fully addressed yet?"
SEPTA GM Joe Casey: A rather complex design issue has caused localized cracking and spalling of certain concrete deck panels where they sit on the steel support beams.
The legal matters associated with this issue have been resolved and SEPTA is now in the midst of performing the permanent repairs.
Safety of the El and the public is paramount to SEPTA and the evaluation and resolution of this problem has progressed diligently.
"The Warminster 442 train has been consistently late since April. At first I figured it was a temporary thing but it has continued through into August.I've been riding this train for over ten years and never had this issue until April. What has changed and why is it not being addressed?"
SEPTA: I agree that the On Time Performance (OTP) for Train 442 has been a problem over the past few months. Far too many other Regional Rail trains have also been experiencing chronic lateness issues in recent months and this situation has become increasingly frustrating to our customers.
Multiple factors have created this systemic problem, including several important construction projects as well as a few high priority safety initiatives. Management at SEPTA is currently in the process of making adjustments to key construction projects in order to reduce their service impacts and will also make some initial schedule adjustments to certain trains in September, including Train 442.
Wholesale schedule adjustments will follow in November owing to the extensive analysis needed to properly correct this matter. The reliability of our regional rail service has been a big factor in ridership gains in recent years and it is our strong desire to fix this critical customer service issue.
"How come the Chestnut Hill East line is notbeing used during the Pope's visit to Philly?"
SEPTA: In order to maximize capacity and efficiency we needed to significantly reduce the number of stations providing service during the weekend of the Papal visit. We chose 18 stations. With the scaled down service we will be able to move more passengers than when operating regular service.
As you are aware the Chestnut Hill West and Chestnut Hill East Stations are in close proximity of each other. Operationally, both rail lines would have work for travel to Center City during the Papal visit weekend.
However, to balance the operational load – the number of trains unloading thousands of riders at 30th Street Station, Jefferson Station and University Station - we selected Chestnut Hill West. Please note that the parking lots at both Chestnut Hill Stations can be used by those traveling into the city for work or to attend the special events.