October 03, 2016 - 8:23 AM
PHILADELPHIA - The Philadelphia area's main transit agency restarted a normal schedule on its commuter rail lines on Monday, three months after a third of its rail cars were sidelined due to suspension system defects.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority has said more than 50 of the 120 cars sent to the repair shop will be available this week.
The schedule change means about 200 more trips per day across its 13 Regional Rail lines compared with what riders were seeing during the reduced schedule, said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch.
SEPTA officials will continue to evaluate rush hour service.
"Riders may still see some crowding due to some trains being short a car or two, but it will definitely be an improvement over before and some issues will smooth out even this week," Busch said.
SEPTA had to repair its entire Silverliner V fleet due to cracks found in beams that distribute the weight of vehicles to their axles. The transit agency and the trains' manufacturer, South Korea's Hyundai Rotem, have attributed the flaws to a combination of design and manufacturing missteps.
To return to a regular schedule on Monday, SEPTA will continue using cars it has leased from other agencies, including Amtrak and New Jersey Transit.
SEPTA receives about two newly repaired cars each day, but they are not immediately returned to service. Even so, the transit agency expects the full Silverliner V fleet to be running by mid-November, Busch said.
Busch said there still may some kinks to be worked out as the schedule returns to normal, "but hopefully people will be more happy as the week goes on."
The Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers and SEPTA are both encouraging riders to check schedules for unforeseen delays or changes.
News from © The Associated Press, 2016