SEPTA

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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INFRASTRUCTURE

SEPTA was created in 1964 and in 1984, the region's commuter rail lines came under the SEPTA umbrella. As part of this transition, the Authority inherited the assets of these Rail systems, much of which dated from the 19th century. Failures due to the age of this infrastructure have the potential to cause service delays and breakdowns in more pivotal instances - major substations and interlockings - could bring Regional Rail to a standstill. For decades the challenge has been to modernize and replace critical infrastructure in the face of significant underfunding for capital investment. Passage of State Act 89, along with funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), including special grants through the Emergency Relief Program for Resiliency initiatives now makes it possible to prioritize and increase the number of state of good repair and system upgrade projects.

Interlocking Reliability

  • Coordinated efforts with the Signals and Track Departments to improve switch reliability at all interlockings using a number of methods - complete replacement, rehabilitation work, increased maintenance, or a combination of these options.

  • The Interlocking Rehabilitation program replaces parts of diverse special track work layouts including: double slip switches, turnouts, crossovers, and crossing diamonds. The following types of items will be renewed based on their condition as part of the program:
    • Switch Machines
    • Switch Timbers
    • Selected steel rails, frogs, and switch points

  • Interlocking replacement currently in design for Wayne ladder. This ladder is critical to the operation of the Chestnut Hill East Branch connecting it to the Mainline. The new design will replace the complex system of double slip switches with single crossovers to provide a much more reliable and maintenance friendly infrastructure while keeping the same operational flexibility.


Wayne Interlocking Tabor Interlocking

Iron Interlocking

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

The Southwest Connection Improvement Program will rebuild the mainline infrastructure on the Media/Elwyn Line between 30th Street Station and Arsenal Interlocking, just below University City Station, portions of which date more than 80 years. This track area also supports Wilmington/Newark and Airport Line services making it a critical rail connection for Southwest Philadelphia, Center City, Delaware County, and the economic vitality of the region. This year, phase 1 of the project took place August 4 - 19, 2018. This extended outage made it possible for crews to work around the clock to complete the work according to schedule, even with the summer weather challenges of very hot days and heavy rains.

Photos

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

Southwest Connection Improvement Program

Overall Program Scope

  • Reconfigure and replace the existing Arsenal Interlocking (area of switches)
  • Remove the existing Walnut Interlocking and realign rail
  • Create a new Interlocking and turn back track near University City Station
  • Replace the overhead contact system and the Overhead Catenary System structures
  • Repair/Upgrade retaining walls and structural elements inside Walnut St Tunnel
  • Repair drainage structures


Scheduled Work for 2018

At Arsenal Interlocking:

  • Replace 3 High Speed Track Turnouts and Adjust Track Alignment
  • Install new crossover move near University City Station
  • Replace and realign Catenary Wire to match track adjustments
  • Communication & Signals Prep Work (for later phases of the project)


Along Airport Line:

  • Inspection and Heavy Maintenance along track area - debris removal, brush cutting, painting, and bridge inspection


Woodland Avenue Bridge Project

  • On-going construction work to replace bridge spanning Media/Elwyn Line tracks



University City - Location of
Arsenal Interlocking
Project Work
Foundation Drilling


Communications & Signal Systems

Signals

  • Improving track switch reliability at Wayne Junction
  • Improving communications and signaling reliability between Wayne Junction and Jenkintown
  • Improving signaling reliability between Civic Center and Elwyn
  • Preparing for summer Arsenal Interlocking work


Communications

  • Upgrading the fiber optic cabling network on the Doylestown, Warminster and West Trenton Lines
  • Improving the speed and reliability of the passenger communications on the Paoli/Thorndale and Trenton Lines
  • Installing a new Distributed Communications System in the SEPTA tunnels for SEPTA Police, and Philadelphia Police and Fire Department


Catenary Replacement Work

To date SEPTA in-house forces have replaced 202 Miles of Overhead Catenary.

Media/Elwyn Line Catenary Replacement between Arsenal and Cane

SEPTA in-house forces will be working day and night to replace the 1930 era Overhead Catenary System between the Secane and Arsenal interlockings using the SEPTA Wire Train. The daytime portion of the construction work will require a midday single track operation on the northern portion of the branch.

Neshaminy Line Catenary Replacement

SEPTA in-house forces will be working day and night to replace the Overhead Catenary System between Jenkintown and West Trenton on both the inbound and outbound tracks. To date, the catenary had been replaced between Jenkintown and West Trenton on the inbound track, and between Jenkintown and Neshaminy on the outbound track. This work includes replacing 25 miles of conductors, insulators, hangers and re-tensioning the overhead wires with a more durable .336 conductor designed to reduce failures and improve on-time performance.

Substation Rehabilitation

The Regional Railroad Division traction power substations have been in service far beyond their expected useful life. In an effort to streamline the design and construction of the traction power substations, a program was developed that will overhaul the remainder of the Regional Railroad Substations as part of a single, comprehensive overhaul program.

The current capital program will provide funds to design and construct 19 substations dividing the work into four construction packages. As part of this effort, the existing traction power substations that supply critical power to the Regional Railroad lines, along with the Static Frequency Converters (SFC) will be overhauled. The contracts call for the replacement of all major substation equipment, switching apparatuses and remote terminal units. Additionally, a fourth SFC will be added to the three already in place at Wayne Junction and a new traction and signal power substation will be built on the West Trenton Line near Woodbourne Station.

The Traction power Substation Overhaul program will have the benefit of bringing a major portion of SEPTA's traction power network into a State of Good Repair and providing a safe, reliable power infrastructure for our system for decades to come.

Railroad Substations
Completed: 8 (30th St, Doylestown, Norristown, Lenni, Morton, Jenkintown, Ambler, Wayne Junction)
Bidding & Construction
3 (Yardley, Neshaminy, Bethayres)
In Design:
8 (Lansdale, Hatboro, Portal, 12th Street, 18th Street, Woodbourne, Chestnut Hill East, Static Frequency Converters at Wayne Junction)


New Jenkintown Substation

Amtrak Substation 1A Replaced with new 30th St. Substation


Bridges & Viaducts

Crum Creek Viaduct Replacement

  • Additional bridge and viaduct replacement work completed for Cobbs, Darby, and Ridley Creek Viaducts and Chestnut Hill West Bridge 0.35
    • Slow orders removed from all of these locations


High-Level Platforms

  • High-Level Platforms important for customer travel and operational efficiencies
    • Establishes ADA access and compliance
    • Shortens dwell times at stations and improves overall travel time for customers


9th Street High Level Platform



Projects Completed:

  • Fortuna, 9th Stree, Yardley, Bala, Wynnefield


Projects Currently Under Construction

  • Exton, Levittown, Secane, Paoli


Projects In Design:

  • Conshohocken, Lawndale, Ardmore, Villanova, Jenkintown, and Noble


Special Projects- Resiliency Program

Railroad Embankment Slope Stabilization

SEPTA is currently completing the second of five Railroad Embankment/Slope Stabilization projects along the Mainline including rock cuts at Elkins Park, near Old York Road, and south of Jenkintown Station. Stabilization methods being introduced include rock dowel and mesh systems, shotcrete or flowable concrete to stabilize soil pockets, geo-fabric and geo-cell systems, and low retaining walls. The final slope faces will include a slope face near Melrose Park Station and the rock formation under Limekiln Pike.

Netting and Rock Stabilization in Old York Road Rock Cut

Netting and Rock Stabilization in Old York Road Rock Cut

Netting and Rock Stabilization in Old York Road Rock Cut

Netting and Rock Stabilization in Old York Road Rock Cut

Netting and Rock Stabilization in Old York Road Rock Cut


Main Line Rock Cut - Drilling Rock Anchors at Old York


Norristown Slope Stabilization Project

The increase in the number of severe precipitation events and the resulting flash flooding is a concern for the Authority. With the Norristown/Manayunk Line hugging the Schuylkill River, the railroad right of way is susceptible to flooding and washouts during extreme weather events and incidents of rising waters have the potential to cause substantial erosion and possible track washouts. This type of damage can cause extended periods of service delays and/or suspensions and customer inconvenience. The Norristown Slope Stabilization project will complete the design for a system to protect SEPTA right-of-way between Miquon Station (MP 10.70) and Spring Mill Station (MP 12.30) from potential shoreline failures as well as address NEPA and other permitting and/or environmental clearances as required. Through this project, three prioritized areas will be stabilized utilizing a retaining wall system.


Flooding at Spring Mill Station


Right of Way Along the Manayunk/Norristown Line


Signal Power Prototype

With FTA grant funding available as a result of the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013, SEPTA is designing a method to replace 99 miles of open signal cable with localized power sources including localized PECO feeds, solar panel, and battery backup systems. The resiliency of the Railroad Signal Power System can be significantly improved by providing power through alternate and redundant sources rather than maintain the existing open lined cable system that can be damaged during extreme weather events and disrupt service.


Main Line


Chestnut Hill West Interlocking - Prototype Solar Panels Installed on Existing Signal House


Tie Renewal, Surfacing, and Tree Trimming

  • Work recently completed includes the Mainline between Wayne and Carmel (Glenside Station) Interlockings.

  • The work scheduled to be completed this year will double the normal productivity for the Track Department through utilization of a 3rd Party Contractor in addition to In-house personnel and equipment.
    • In-house work will be focused on the critical areas of the Mainline between Gwynedd and Dale Interlockings, and West and Kay Interlockings.
    • 3rd Party contract work will focus on two branch lines: Doylestown and Warminster

  • In total the work to be accomplished this year will include the following:
    • Renewal of approximately 28,000 ties
    • Surfacing of approximately 35 miles of track
    • Tree trimming and brush cutting over 25 miles of right of way
    • Renewal of six at-grade crossing surfaces


This will mark a major milestone achievement in efforts to increase productivity in this program.


Tie and Surfacing on Number 4 Track between Arsenal and Phil Interlockings


Tie and Surfacing on Number 4 Track between Arsenal and Phil Interlockings


Fallen Tree near Doylestown Station


Tree Trimming Along the Norristown Line