By Al Novack, Steve Beck and Jenn Bernstein
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A gas leak along SEPTA’s Broad Street line Wednesday impacted travel for morning commuters and prompted temporary neighborhood evacuations.
The gas leak investigation began at about 8:30 a.m. when SEPTA workers began smelling gas at the Fern Rock Transportation Center at 10th Street and Nedro Avenue in the city’s Olney section.
Philadelphia Gas Works workers located the source of the gas leak underneath the tracks, and shut down the gas line.
As a result of the gas leak investigation, SEPTA initially shutdown the Lansdale/Doylestown, Warminster and West Trenton Regional rail lines, but they were reopened at about 11:40 a.m. However, delays of approximately 15 minutes were expected.
In addition, subway service along the Broad Street was halted and shuttle buses were used to transport passengers. At about 1 p.m., regular subway service was restored along the Broad Street line, as well as the Broad-Ridge Spur.
By 4:30 p.m., SEPTA reported all service was back up and running in the area, though crews continue to work to repair the leak.
Residents within a three-block radius of the station were evacuated from their homes as a precaution. Evacuees were sent to the nearby Saints Tabernacle Outreach Ministries Church.
“We have approximately 174 evacuees, about 15 of those are civilians,” said Deputy Fire Chief Derrick Sawyer earlier on Wednesday. “Most of the civilians have left and gone with relatives.”
The majority of evacuees were SEPTA workers. A daycare was also affected as officials tried to cap the leak.
All the commotion came to an end just before noon. PGW officials were able to cap the leak, and ventilate the area. It was then safe for employees to head back to work, and for residents to return to their homes.
SEPTA said there are no delays for the evening commute. PGW workers are continuing to work on replacing the gas line.