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SEPTA Wrestles With Cold-Weather Problems

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(A SEPTA Regional Rail train operates on a cold morning.  File photo)

(A SEPTA Regional Rail train operates on a cold morning. File photo)

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The extreme cold can plague public transit, and SEPTA tries both to prevent problems and jump on those that do occur.

Jeffrey Knueppel, SEPTA assistant general manager of engineering, calls this the “extreme low end” of operating temperatures, where even sturdy components of our transportation system have problems.

Over the weekend, he says, the cold caused at least one problem in a rail that contracted.

‘We did have on our airport high-speed line, after a freight train passed, the extreme cold pulled apart a location where the rails had been joined together,” he said.

And, this morning, the workweek commute began with a trolley wire splice pulling apart, also from the cold. Knueppel says crews jumped on that trolley wire break, and had it fixed in an hour.

Knueppel adds that frigid buses won’t start, so as many as possible are kept inside depots when the weather gets this cold.

“All through the weekend, people would think our buses were just sitting.  Well, they weren’t just sitting.  Every now and then we were going and starting them up to make sure they’d be ready,” he told KYW Newsradio.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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