Ask SEPTA: When a "Quiet" Ride isn't quiet
Every three weeks, SEPTA general manager Joe Casey addresses public transit questions submitted by Metro Philadelphia readers. Send questions to email@example.com.
The first Regional rail car which has been designated the "QuietRide" car is not really that quiet because passengers must be subjected to multiple horn blows at several road crossings and other points. Shouldn't the last car be the "QuietRide" car where passengers can truly enjoy a quiet ride?
This suggestion has been raised before. It must be noted that “QuietRide” was designed as an option for customers seeking a greater level of ambient and unobtrusive background sound than would be found in other cars where people are having conversations, phones are buzzing. However, even the "QuietRide" car isn't silent. As you are aware, conductors make announcements and the automated broadcasts can be heard in all train cars. No matter which car is the “QuietRide” car – first or last – there will always be some noise.
Also, while it is easy to identify the “first car” on a train, it’s not always easy to identify the “last car.” During off-peak service there are one, two or sometimes three cars at the end of the consist that are closed and not in use. Logistically, this would presents a problem designating the "last car" as the "QuietRide."
The public address system at the Conshohocken train station along the Norristown/Manayunk line needs updating. Messages when broadcast aren't clear and can't be understood. Are there any plans to improve the situation at this station?
After receiving your comments about the poor quality of the announcements at the Conshohocken Station, we made some adjustments to the public address system and fixed the problem. You should be hearing clear and audible broadcasts now.
Looking at the overhead wire on the 101 and 102 routes, I notice that every other support pole is the old fashioned twin wooden pole span. Any chance you might consider replacing them with steel poles, or rebuilding the overhead so as to eliminate the need for them?
We are currently replacing the overhead contact system (OCS) wire to increase the reliability of the system. The system as designed with the wood pole and steel support structures has served us well for several decades. The wood poles themselves provide a thirty to forty year virtually maintenance free useful life. The poles are inspected at regular intervals to ensure they are in safe working order. Septa has evaluated replacing the wood with steel poles as well as converting the OCS to a catenary style that would ultimately eliminate the need for wood poles. While both options have positives associated with them, the cost versus benefit is too high for SEPTA to justify at this time.