Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will perform work as part of the Southwest Connection Improvement Program in August aimed at rebuilding mainline infrastructure on the Media/Elwyn Regional Rail Line.
The rail project will take place Aug. 4-19 between 30th Street Station and Arsenal Interlocking, below University City Station. Work at Arsenal Interlocking includes the replacement of three high-speed track turnouts and adjusting track alignment; replacement and realignment of catenary wire to match track adjustments and communications and signal prep work (for later phases of the program). Additionally, inspection and maintenance work will occur along Airport Line, including debris removal, brush cutting, painting and bridge inspection. SEPTA’s will also perform work as part of the Woodland Avenue Bridge Project, which will replace the bridge spanning the Media/Elwyn Line tracks.
The Southwest Connection Improvement Program is a multi-stage reconstruction effort that will continue through 2020. The program scope includes reconfiguring and replacing the existing Arsenal Interlocking; removing the existing Walnut Interlocking and realigning rail, creating a new interlocking and turn back track near University City Station; repairing/upgrading retaining walls and structural elements inside Walnut Street Tunnel and repairing drainage structures.
SEPTA’s Regional Rail system hosts approximately 200 trains during a weekday and the oldest portions of the track date back to the 1830s. SEPTA says some sections of track slated for infrastructure improvements under the program date back to Pennsylvania Railroad’s 86-year-old, 30th Street Station construction project and have been used for train operations since that time. Other portions of the infrastructure in the project area were replaced by Conrail in the 1980s, but have reached their useful service life.