Amtrak Changes Schedule for Storm

SEPTA and Amtrak have announced their plans for the approaching snowstorm.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    SEPTA is preparing for the snow and storm, and will seek to modify its service pending storm implications. (Published Thursday, Jan 2, 2014)

    As the first winter storm of 2014 approaches the Delaware Valley, transit and public agencies are preparing for the impending snowfall.

    Amtrak officials announced a modified schedule for trains operating in the Northeast Corridor on Friday.

    Passengers on Acela Express and Northeast Regional trains, which operate between Boston and Washington, should expect reduced frequencies especially in New England.

    Corridor trains, including the Keystone Service between New York and Harrisburg and others in upstate New York and parts of New England, are expected to operate on a normal schedule.

    Riders who already purchased tickets but choose not to travel due to the service disruption can receive a refund or travel voucher. Passengers can modify or cancel some reservations on Amtrak.com or on Amtrak's mobile app.

    Thursday afternoon, Amtrak activated its Severe Weather Command Center in Wilmington, where a task force is stationed to assess conditions in real time and coordinate any necessary responses.

    If any downed trees disable the electrical system that powers the trains, diesel locomotives are in position to move trains.  On-track equipment has also been placed in key areas in case any infrastructure repairs are needed.

    Additional staff, including independent tree-trimming crews, are assembling so they can respond quickly to any problems that arise while ensuring safe and efficient operations.

    No changes have been made to the rail system's Thursday schedule.

    Locally, officials with SEPTA say they will continue to operate on a normal schedule Thursday.

    "The game plan right now," said SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch, "is to continue to monitor the forecast to see what we're up against and do what we can to prepare the system ahead of time."

    Crews are pretreating rail platforms, station stairs, parking lots and other customer areas so services will be ready Friday morning, he said.

    "Once the snow stars, if we start seeing conditions in different areas that would warrant service suspension due to safety concerns," Busch added, "We would do that and then announce that to the public."

    Philadelphia's Streets Department deployed 180 pieces of equipment Thursday morning to put dry salt down on area roadways. They will continue to dry salt all primary and secondary streets prior to the start of the storm.  The city agency began treating roads with a salt water brine solution Tuesday.

    PennDOT pretreated roadways throughout the morning and has plans in place for the rest of the evening.

    The department will have 70 crews in Chester County and 110 crews in Montgomery County working to keep the roads safe throughout most of the night.