Frozen switches and ice on overhead wires or the electrical poles on top of rail cars can delay or shut down Regional Rail service.
Maintenance crews work to keep the corridor between Center City Philadelphia and Lansdale open so SEPTA can continue to provide service on the main branch if frozen switches prevent trains from operating on other lines.
Amtrak owns the tracks on which the Wilmington/Newark, Paoli/Thorndale, and Trenton Lines operate. SEPTA works with Amtrak to resolve weather-related problems.
The Broad Street Line and Market-Frankford Line are best bets for riders during severe winter storms.
SEPTA keeps the cars ready for service by storing them overnight in tunnels and maintenance car houses. Crews are assigned to keep station entrances, platforms and sidewalks clean of ice and snow.
During a winter snow or ice emergency, SEPTA will attempt to operate all bus service, although a large number of routes may be detoured. We try to maintain service without detours on our most heavily used routes, which generally operate over streets that have been given a high priority for snow removal.
Depending on road conditions, full CCT service may be provided in some areas, while limited or no service may be provided in others.
During extreme weather conditions when CCT service is suspended, every effort will be made to continue service for kidney dialysis and other urgent, critically-needed medical treatment.
Dress for the Cold
Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing. Mittens are warmer than gloves. Don’t forget a hat and scarf.
Prepare Your Car
Check the antifreeze level, wiper blade wear, and the heater and defroster.
Prepare a Winter Weather Emergency Kit
Include a shovel, windshield scraper, small broom, flashlight, road salt or sand, booster cables, emergency flares, and first aid kit.
When traveling in wintry conditions, give yourself extra time to travel to and from the station
Watch your step making your way along sidewalks, parking lots, stairs, station walkways and platforms, and when you board and exit vehicles.
Weather Preparation and Clearing for Regional Rail
SEPTA has a program in place for weather preparations as well as clearing parking lots and platforms at SEPTA’s Regional Rail stations. An in-house “Snow Team” monitors weather forecasts and conditions to determine the best time to send out our internal and contractor forces.
If snow or ice is anticipated, team members often treat surfaces with deicing products as part of our bad weather preparations.
Generally, snow removal starts when the snow stops. But with a service area covering 2200 square miles, the exact time may vary depending on conditions.
SEPTA uses third-party contractors for platform and parking lot snow removal and salting at all Regional Rail stations. Each contractor is responsible for eight to 10 stations. Once they go out it will take some time to get all stations cleared.
The timing of the storm is critical. If the snowfall occurs during the day, the contractors’ first task is clearing the station entrances and exits. Later, when the cars are gone, they will return to clear the lots for the following morning.
SEPTA maintenance forces may also be deployed, in advance of the contractor’s arrival, to clear steps and walkways.