PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — SEPTA is reassuring its customers that its crews are working hard to combat the chilling temperatures and snow coming into the Philadelphia-area on Wednesday evening through most of Thursday.
SEPTA said it is taking measures to make sure things run as normal or close to it as possible.
Proactive Measures to Protect Equipment:
- Train cars for both the Broad Street Line subway and the Market-Frankford Line (subway/elevated) will be stored in subway tunnels overnight to keep the rail cars warmer than they would be if stored at rail yards on a normal night.
- Crews will start this process at about 10 p.m. and continue until subway/subway-elevated service finishes for the day at approximately 12:30 a.m.
- Regular service on these two key lines starts at approximately 5 a.m., and by storing the rail cars in the tunnels, SEPTA is in the best position possible to roll out service for customers on the morning commute.
- The Market-Frankford Line has a ridership of approximately 190,000/day and the Broad Street Line approximately 125,000/day, so these are vital parts of SEPTA’s daily operation.
- In addition, personnel will monitor rail cars that serve other lines, as well as buses and trolleys, at storage facilities and out in service on routes to keep an eye out for, and try to correct, any weather-related problems.
Bridge/Structure Special Inspections:
- SEPTA’s structural inspection team performs cold weather inspections on structures that may be susceptible to issues in extreme temperatures. These structures include, but are not limited to, our viaducts and longer or heavily skewed steel bridges, tunnel sections and stations that may have water leaks and others. Due to the age and/or physical characteristics of the structures, these receive special inspections during extreme weather events.
Speed Restrictions on Trolley and Regional Rail Lines:
- During periods of extreme cold, SEPTA places speed restrictions on Regional Rail and the Routes 101 and 102 trolleys for overhead wire and track concerns. Heaters are used on track switches to prevent freezing and crews are in the field to remove ice from overhead wires, or deal with other issues that may come up. SEPTA also places buses at key locations should they be needed for passengers.
Additional Staffing & Monitoring of Conditions:
- SEPTA will have additional personnel on-hand in the Command Center at SEPTA Headquarters and also out in the field to monitor conditions, particularly Regional Rail infrastructure and equipment, such as overhead power lines, signals and switches. Due to the age of the Regional Rail system, and the fact that much of it is out in the open and exposed to the elements, extreme weather like this can pose challenges. By having extra staff out monitoring conditions and at the central command center, SEPTA is in the best possible position to identify potential problems quickly and take corrective action to minimize the impact to our riders.
- SEPTA Buildings and Bridges staff, including plumbers, HVAC techs and millwrights are also available to cover potential maintenance issues that may occur due to the extreme cold weather.
- Morning and evening rush are fully covered, in addition to early morning starts to prep and address any issues that may have arisen overnight.
- SEPTA will use all methods of communication available to keep customers up-to-date on service status. The best tool for customers is the System Status feature on the SEPTA, which provides real-time service status and updates on possible disruptions. This tool is also available on the SEPTA App.
- SEPTA will have additional staff on hand to ensure this and other online tools are staying updated with the latest information.
- In addition, all service advisories will be sent out via Twitter, with simultaneous notices sent to local news outlets by the SEPTA Media Relations staff.Customers are strongly urged to check the status of the SEPTA services they will be using online and/or by monitoring the local news.
- Riders can also call 215- 580-7800 to speak to SEPTA Customer Service representatives. For more information, such as schedules and trip-planning tools, customers can visit www.septa.org.
PATCO is also preparing for the pending snowstorm. The transit agency says it will operate a snow schedule starting at midnight on Thursday, January 4. It warning riders that all trains will be local and will operate at reduced speeds adding additional time to your commute.
PATCO says it will review ridership and assess weather conditions throughout the day to determine when to resume to our regular weekday schedule.
Snow Schedule at-a-glance:
All trains will operate as locals:
AM Rush Hours:
- Westbound: Every 6-10 minutes
- Eastbound: Every 10-12 minutes
- Every 15 minutes
PM Rush Hours:
- Eastbound: Every 4-10 minutes
- Westbound: Every 8-14 minutes
- Every 12-20 minutes
Click here to view the full snow schedule.
Due to a major winter storm expected to impact the Northeast region, Amtrak is operating a modified schedule between New York and Boston on Thursday, Jan. 4, with a reduced frequency of Acela Express and Northeast Regional service. Additionally, Shuttle service, operating between Springfield, Mass., and New Haven, Conn., will also operate on a modified schedule.
The full schedule of Keystone Service (operating between Harrisburg and Philadelphia/New York), Empire Service (operating between New York City and Buffalo/Niagara Falls) and Downeaster Service (operating between Boston and Brunswick, Maine), trains will operate as scheduled.
Read more HERE.
Delta Airlines is thinking ahead and already offering travel waivers before the storm hits.
Delta is allowing travelers to change their flights free of charge.
If you can’t reschedule your trip, you can cancel your flight altogether in exchange for a voucher to be used on another trip within a year.
CLICK HERE to read more.
ATLANTIC CITY AIRPORT: SPIRIT AIRLINES
Officials at the Atlantic City Airport say some flights have been canceled ahead of Thursday’s storm. Fliers are urged to contact Spirit or check the flight status for further information.
Check flights HERE.
Contact Atlantic City Airport HERE.
Officials at the Philadelphia International Airport say cancelations have already begun due to Thursday’s storm.
Click here to READ MORE.
American Airlines has issued a travel alert ahead of Thursday’s winter storm. CLICK HERE to read more.
Check your flight status HERE.