Wednesday, March 17, 2004


According to sources at the Germantown shops, the 5700-series New Flyers are beginning to arrive there, presumably to train mechanics on the new ZF transmission that will become part of the next three series of New Flyers arriving on SEPTA property. To follow up an earlier post, here's what will probably happen:

  • Midvale will get the first batch of 40 new buses (5713-5752), as they presently have 42* of the oldest remaining Neoplan DK buses in service. The DKs are mainly used on the 23, 56, and 57, though a few have reportedly snuck in on other wheelchair accessible lines. It appears that the Flyers will be a one-for-one replacement for the DKs at Midvale.
  • Frankford will reportedly be next on the list (5753-5792), as there are 11 DKs and 23 EBs assigned there as well, along with a few EBs; these buses are mainly used on the trackless lines, which will still reportedly be restored next month, thus potentially freeing up more Neos for reassignment.
  • Southern, which has the bulk of the EBs still in service (35), will get 15 diesel low floors (5793-5807) in addition to the 20 hybrids (5831H-5850H) due on the property this summer. Again, this is a one-for-one replacement once they hyrbids arrive, so some EBs will probably be held there until the summer.
  • The remaining DKs (5) and a few EBs (25) are presently assigned to Callowhill (which will get 5808-5820 after Southern gets their buses) for weekday use on the 15, 46, and selected school trippers. There's a possibility that some older Neos will remain at Callowhill until the arrival of the PCC-II cars for the 15/Girard line LRV conversion project, which may not take place until later this year or earlier next year. At last report, there are presently 4 PCC-II cars in storage at Elmwood.
  • Red Arrow will get the last 10 new buses (5821-5830). More than likely, they will force the moving of some Neoplans out of Red Arrow, much to the relief of riders on the 104, 113, and other lines deemed to be low-priority by management. Red Arrow has no DKs or EBs (the remaining ones were moved last year to city garages), so the most likely candidate for transfer will be the 10 city-spec EIs (3255, 3260-3265, and 3291-3293).
  • Comly will not be getting any 5700s, however, they still have DK 3073 and 26 EBs, which are mainly held for school trippers. It's probable that some surplus Neo EIs will be moved from Frankford to Comly for the same purpose (once trackless service is restored), as there appear to be enough NABIs and 5500-series New Flyers to hold down regular service.
  • Frontier will also not get any 5700s, as they are in the process of recieving 18 Champion cutaways (2070-2087) to replace the 14 remaining Fords still in service. (On a side note, I've noticed nothing but ElDorados working the 92/133 over the past few days, however, 6021 block has occasionally seen a Ford working the line - as I speak, 2034 passed by, running very late getting into West Chester.) There may be a few ElDorados (or even a couple of NABIs) being moved from Frontier; if that were to happen, they may end up back at Red Arrow.

Everything, of course, is subject to changes, as is always the case with SEPTA. However, it appears that in the end run, there won't be as many bus transfers as in years past.

* Numbers current as of March 15, and are subject to change upon confirmation of buses being pulled from service.

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