Dozens of SEPTA riders were stuck without air conditioning on a SEPTA regional rail train Monday afternoon for more than an hour, and the inside of the train became so stifling that some passengers said they feared people would pass out.
SEPTA said they had two problems: an outbound train on the Trenton Line experienced switch issues and an inbound train on that same line had equipment issues. The outbound train was stopped for more than an hour near the Philadelphia Zoo, riders told NBC10.
Worse, the train was without air conditioning in Monday's dangerous heat. Temperatures topped 101 Monday, and the heat index was as high as 110 Monday at the Zoo, the First Alert Weather team said.
"It's unbearable," said Chuck Siegel, an attorney from New York who called from the train. "I am dripping water on the floor."
He said there was no air conditioning on the train when passengers boarded in Center City, "which was bad enough."
Then the train lost power. After 15 to 20 minutes, the train started moving again -- only to be stopped by another train that was blocking it. The train had to back up around it; shortly afterward, the power died again.
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The conductors have "been giving us a little bit of information," Siegel said. "Basically the information is, we’re stuck and they’re trying to do something.”
“It’s about 120 degrees in here and everyone’s miserable," he said. "And there’s some people a little more frail who are getting very upset.”
Eventually, another train -- with air conditioning -- came to rescue the passengers. Video from SkyForce10 showed some passengers had to be helped from the onto the new train.
SEPTA apologized to the customers and added its number-one concern was to get them safely off the disabled train and onto the replacement train.
“Obviously it’s frustrating," Siegel said. "It’s one of the hottest days of the year and we’re sitting here drenched. I’m from New York … we’re gonna get home very late tonight. And I’ll never ride SEPTA again.”