As a follow-up to yesterday's Regional Rail fiascos, SEPTA did issue a detailed (by SEPTA standards) statement about what had happened. The Melrose Park wire problems occured at 5:03am, delaying trains arriving into Center City on the Glenside-Airport, Warminster, West Trenton, and Lansdale-Doylestown lines, and causing residual delays on the Elwyn and Paoli lines. The wire problems were caused by a maintenance crew who failed to properly repair the wiring after complete work in that area. The wire problems were worsened after a Center City bound train's pantograph was caught in the catenary at around 9:00am.
Then, to make matters worse, switch failures at Newtown Junction caused further delays to Fox Chase and West Trenton line trains. The system was entirely halted at around 11:00am, when the Centralized Train Control system failed.
Instead of holding trains north of Melrose Park and diverting passengers to either shuttle buses or alternate transit lines (passengers could easily have been placed on shuttle buses at Jenkintown, or directed to the 22 bus at Glenside or 55 bus in downtown Jenkintown for connections to Olney Terminal and connections to the Broad Street Line). This resulted in delays of up to 3 hours throughout the entire system, with most of the delays focused on the Glenside-Center City trunk line. Service was restored to normal sometime before the PM peak period.
SEPTA's AGM for Operations Patrick Nowakowski called the September 9 fiascos "the worst day on the railroad in 20 or 30 years." He also noted that had maintenance done its job properly the night before, "most people would have been looking at one-hour delays." DUH! Maybe if SEPTA hired some REAL railroad professionals to manage the Regional Rail system instead of plucking people with "transit" experience, SEPTA's Regional Rail might not be the laughing stock of the industry. (Updated September 19, 2002)
SEPTA's "statement" was published in the Metro newspaper, but not posted on-line. Presumably, there were also seat drop notices on all Regional Rail trains.
The fire that put 5155 into the scrap yard at Midvale started in the wheel area before spreading into the interior of the bus. Another recent arrival into the Midvale scrap yard is 3133, which also suffered unrepairable fire damage.
The Red Arrow buses are finally starting to be retrofit with the new CARD control panels. Two of the first buses to get the new system were 3126 and 5298.