SEPTA expects to begin returning Silverliner V rail cars to service on a regular basis starting in late August, following repairs to address a structural defect, the transit authority announced today.
Approximately 10 cars will be put back into service each week, starting the week of Aug. 21. All 120 Silverliner Vs are expected to be back in service by the week of Nov. 6. The Silverliner Vs represent approximately one-third of SEPTA’s Regional Rail fleet.
Silverliner V manufacturer Hyundai Rotem, working with SEPTA, will replace all equalizer beams on the rail cars. Fatigue and related tests will be completed before vehicles are cleared for service.
“We sincerely regret the inconvenience to customers resulting from the recent rail car shortage,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “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.”
“For our riders, September will be a transitional month ,” Knueppel added. “We expect it will be tougher at the start, but we see it becoming smoother toward the end of the month as more Silverliner Vs come back into service.”
Fatigue cracks, most hairline-sized, were found in the equalizer beams on 115 of 120 Sliverliner Vs during inspections last month. Equalizer beams are part of the rail car suspension system, and distribute the weight of the vehicle to its axles. All vehicles were taken out of service on July 1 after SEPTA maintenance personnel discovered a cracked equalizer beam on one rail car.
An exhaustive investigation has been conducted to determine the causes of the cracks, including computer modeling and metallurgical testing. In addition, a Silverliner V was field tested using an intricate system of sensors to better understand the stress placed on equalizer beams. Materials for beams are being delivered, and the decision on the final design of the replacement equalizer beam will be made by Friday, Aug. 5.
In addition to advancing the fix for the Silverliner Vs as soon as possible, SEPTA will continue looking for ways to maximize its available rail fleet, along with the addition of coach cars leased from Amtrak, NJ Transit and MARC. SEPTA will make adjustments to schedules that will go into effect after Labor Day, and will soon announce plans for express bus service along several Regional Rail lines.
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