SEPTA is getting millions to extend regional rail service into Delaware County.
The $5.8 million in federal funds will restore the Media Elwyn Line about 3 miles further to Wawa, Pennsylvania, and implement and maintain positive train control (PTC), U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and U.S. Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., said in separate news releases.
“Passenger safety is the top priority of any transit system, and investments into state-of-the-art safety technologies can reduce accidents and make our families’ commutes to work and school safer,” Meehan said.
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“Strong rail infrastructure keeps people safe and helps grow the economy,” Casey said. “Residents in Southeastern PA depend on SEPTA for reliable and safe service. This PTC grant will help the installation of the PTC safety technology and will help improve mapping software to make the regional rail fleet run more efficiently.”
PTC is an automated feature that slows speeding trains. It was not in place during the deadly derailment of Amtrak 188 in Philadelphia in May 2015.
“As the tragic 2015 crash of Amtrak Train 188 in Northeast Philadelphia showed, Positive Train Control is a system that can quite literally save lives. I’m pleased to see the federal government doing its part to support implementation of this system as SEPTA extends a commuter rail line that already carries more than 10,000 riders per day.”
SEPTA Board Chairman Pasquale Deon Sr. praised the expansion of PTC throughout the tri-state regional rail system.
"All 13 Regional Rail Lines are operating under PTC, and the PTC Grant will allow SEPTA to enhance the performance of the existing system,” Deon said. “Additionally, the grant ensures that this critical safety technology will be installed as part of the Elwyn to Wawa service restoration project. We are grateful to the members of our Congressional delegation for making sure this funding was included in the FY 17 appropriations bill."
Something else SEPTA is hoping to implement in the next fiscal year is solar technology. The Board unanimously approved installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems at four SEPTA bus and rail shops.
Vendor SunVest Solar, Inc. will own, install and maintain the roof-mounted solar panels for the next 20 years at 2nd & Wyoming (bus maintenance, print & sign shop), Fern Rock (Broad Street Line rail shop), Callowhill (bus maintenance) and Roberts (regional railcars shop), SEPTA said.
“SEPTA is proud to step into a position of leadership among Philadelphia businesses in the strategic deployment of renewable energy on our system,” Deon said. “This project thoughtfully leverages an existing asset – roof space at maintenance facilities – to make SEPTA’s ongoing operations cleaner and more efficient.”
SEPTA’s goal is to reduce emissions by 20 percent by 2020.
“SEPTA’s award-winning Sustainability Program is taking yet another important step forward with the approval of this solar project,” SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel said. “For years, SEPTA has been reducing energy consumption and emissions through initiatives such as hybrid-electric bus acquisition and LED lighting installation. This solar project, along with other exciting new initiatives such as a new fleet of battery-electric buses to arrive this fall, demonstrates SEPTA’s enduring commitment to environmental improvement.”