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With State Funding In Place, SEPTA Ditches ‘Doomsday Plan’ To Start ‘Catching Up’

SEPTA previously said that without adequate funding, its Media-Elwyn line would be eliminated by 2015. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

SEPTA previously said that without adequate funding, its Media-Elwyn line would be eliminated by 2015. (Credit: Jim Melwert)

Jim Melwert Jim Melwert
Jim is a "morning drive" reporter for KYW Newsradio 1060, bringing...
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By Jim Melwert

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – SEPTA is switching gears, going from their “Doomsday Plan” to a new plan they’re calling “Catching Up.”

This comes a month after the state approved a new transportation funding bill (see related story). The new plan would double SEPTA’s capital improvements budget over the next 5 years, from $300-million to $600-million.

SEPTA deputy general manager Jeffrey Knueppel presenting the plan to the board, explains why it’s called “Catching Up,” “because that’s what we have to do, after several years of being underinvested in our infrastructure. We have to work hard to reduce SEPTA’s $5-billion state of good repair backlog.”

That repair backlog was the Grinch in the so-called “Doomsday Plan,” which would have significantly cut Regional Rail service, including the Media-Elwyn Line, due to aging and unsafe bridges, “The Media-Elwyn viaducts that have poor timbers, and really threaten that line. In two years, we will work to get those bridges – to have the timber work done before we have to take the lines out of service or have very severe speed restrictions.”

In addition, aging rail vehicles would be replaced, power stations upgraded, parking expanded, and there would be improvements to trolley tracks and the Norristown High-Speed Line.

And Knueppel says they’re also looking into other improvements, for example, bi-level coaches on regional rails.

“In the last 15 years, we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in ridership. If we continue with that kind of numbers and growth, we just can’t do it with single-level cars, and we are looking to see if we can put bi-level coaches on our lines.”

And he says they’re also looking into other improvements, for example, bi-level coaches on regional rails.

“In the last 15 years, we’ve seen a 50% increase in ridership, if we continue with that kind of numbers and growth, we just can’t do it with single level cars, and we are looking to see if we can put bi-level coaches on our lines.”

Timelines for the improvements are expected to be announced starting next year.

To read more about the plan, click here.

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