SEPTA credits effort of work crews in Hurricane Sandy recovery

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
image description
SEPTA Crews work to repair downed overhead wires on the Lansdale/Doylestown Regional Rail Line. The wires were brought down by a tree that fell during Hurricane Sandy.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority crews worked around the clock to fix damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, which moved through the Philadelphia, Pa., area on Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30.

SEPTA says these efforts helped restore operations soon after the storm and get service back-to-normal for customers.

“Suspending our service in the face of an unprecedented storm like Sandy was in the best interest of the safety of our customers and employees,” said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey.

“It also helped us protect our vehicles and infrastructure, which put us in position to restore service as soon as possible after the storm.”

While safety dictated a system-wide service suspension, SEPTA crews were using the time to protect the transit system from the storm, such as clearing out drains to prevent flooding and moving vehicles to areas where they would be best protected from storm damage.

Despite preparation, the storm left considerable damage along the SEPTA system, particularly in areas that are historically vulnerable to heavy winds and rains, such as regional rail lines. Winds blew trees down into catenary wires and onto tracks in multiple areas, with parts of the Lansdale/Doylestown, Chestnut Hill West and Warminster lines seeing some of the worst damage. There were similar conditions on parts of the Route 101 Media Trolley Line.

SEPTA worked around the clock to inspect the system for damage, identify areas in need of repair and act promptly to make the necessary fixes. These efforts played a major role in allowing SEPTA to begin restoring service at noon on Tuesday – only a few hours after the worst of the massive storm moved through the Philadelphia region. Regional rail service was restored for rush hour the next day, Wednesday.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter praised SEPTA’s efforts at a post-storm press conference on Tuesday, when SEPTA announced service resumption plans.

“SEPTA has exceeded expectations,” Nutter said of the SEPTA’s efforts to get buses, trains and trolleys running in Sandy’s aftermath. “SEPTA’s operation is critical to this city and this region. It is the way we move people, goods and services around this region and that’s why we’re such strong supporters of SEPTA and mass transit.”

Categories: Ballast, Ties, Rail, Bridge/Retaining Walls/Tunnels, C&S, Commuter/Regional, Rapid Transit/Light Rail