SEPTA Regional Rails
The opening is about four months late and about ten percent over budget, but the public will be able to return to the plaza, on the west apron of City Hall, starting on Thursday, September 4th.
SEPTA’s board held a special meeting Monday in hopes of working out a new labor deal sooner with the two regional rail unions that staged a one-day strike back in June.
It happened about 1:30pm on the inbound Regional Rail tracks near Overbrook Station.
Regional Rail employees represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen walked off the job in June, but were forced back one day later, after a presidential emergency board was convened.
The National Mediation Board held a hearing with Septa and the two unions representing about 400 engineers and electrical workers on the Regional Rail lines.
The Presidential Emergency Board found that SEPTA is correct in insisting that pay raises for the Regional Rail engineers and electricians follow the same pattern as raises for subway and bus operators.
The 2014 report card from the Philadelphia section of the American Society of Civil Engineers gives the state no As. The highest of the sixteen grades was a “B” for freight rail.
Three members of the panel are on a 30-day mission to hear testimony from locomotive engineers and electrical workers, as well as SEPTA labor relations staff, and deliver a report with recommendations to the President by July 14th.
After four years of stalled contract negotiations, the clock is ticking again, but the next inflection point may be a month from now.
SEPTA’s regional rails were back in business for the Monday morning commute, thanks to a presidential executive order that derailed a strike by some 400 locomotive engineers and electricians.
Construction on the trail, most of which will be along the scenic Pennypack Creek, is already underway, and should be wrapped up by the fall of next year.
The unions have been working without a contract for four years, and mediation officially failed last month, triggering a 30-day cooling-off period.
Septa officials are beginning an ambitious capital improvement project to repair century-old bridges that provide a base to parts of the Media-Elwyn regional rail line.
“We have people out there, working over miles of territory to clear trees and get things restored,” said SEPTA deputy general manager Jeff Knueppel.
With more people using Septa’s Regional Rail lines, the transit agency is looking for ways to increase capacity.