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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / SEPTA’s Silverliner V fleet sidelined with defects NEWSWIRE

SEPTA’s Silverliner V fleet sidelined with defects NEWSWIRE

By Joseph M. Calisi | July 5, 2016

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One of SEPTA’s Silverliner V transit vehicles at a station stop at Philadelphia’s 30th Street station.
Joseph M. Calisi
PHILADELPHIA — Typical rail commuters in the City of Brotherly Love are finding other ways to get on with their week while as many as one-third of all Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority regional commuter cars are sidelined with structural defects.

In a rare Sunday news conference, SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Kneuppel told available media over the July 4 holiday weekend that all 120 of SEPTA’s Hyundai Rotem-built Silverliner V commuter electric multiple units have potential fatigue cracks in the their trucks and need to be taken out of service for repairs.

Specifically, Kneuppel says workers found that equalizer beams on the cast steel truck frame had vertical fatigue cracks. It’s a thick piece of steel that holds the springs that carries the entire weight of the car body. Kneuppel says there are eight locations on a truck that could be affected which are slow to form over time: where the roller bearings hold the wheel axles as well as the vertical piece where the springs provide the suspension. The major concern is a derailment at high speed if a beam broke. The beams need to be replaced.

The commuter agency has already published an updated schedule online reflecting the smaller number of vehicles available for commuters. The schedule is essentially a modified Saturday service.

SEPTA officials say workers first noticed the defects in the Silverliner V cars early July 1 during a morning inspection of a semi-permanently coupled pair of cars. The pair had a slight list to one side which revealed the cracked beam when investigated. SEPTA placed in-service cars on immediate speed restrictions and began removing them from service.

Normally, 60 out of the 400-car fleet are held in shops and rail yards for maintenance on a daily basis. The number of cars usually kept offline is half the number of Silverliner V being held from service due to the defect. Officials say the three to six-year-old cars are still under warranty from the manufacturer.

As a result of the problems with the Silverliner V, the trolley maintenance blitz scheduled for the first full week of July has been postponed and credits on monthly passes will be made to passengers.

Delivery of the Silverliner V cars were delayed during their initial construction phase as workmanship issues surfaced in 2010. Doors failed to open and close properly during the winter. Final delivery on the Silverliners was two years late.

It is unknown whether structural flaw could affect Denver Regional Transportation District cars since the agency uses EMUs similar to the ones in Philadelphia.

10 thoughts on “SEPTA’s Silverliner V fleet sidelined with defects NEWSWIRE

  1. If you’re not interested in transit, don’t read those articles. The TRAINS website does not seem to have a limit on the number of articles, so including one on transit does not eliminate one on another topic.

  2. Trains only reports the news, they don’t make it up. Therefore, depending on what happens in the rail world on a particular day will have a bearing on the mix of rail or transit. I also get news wires from Progressive Railroading and Railway Age and they likewise on some days will have a lot of transit news.

  3. SEPTA GM Kneuppel did say however that to the best of his knowledge, the only cars that use the exact same
    type of trucks were the Denver airport cars. So, unless Hyundai Rottem knew of this possibility or got better quality welding or steel for those cars, this could well impact them in the future. Given the problems MBTA has had with cars from the same manufacturer, I would start inspecting the Denver cars in a year or two.
    The largest crack found in the SEPTA cars was over 10″ long. and had virtually sheered the beam. SEPTA officials seem to feel it was a matter of luck that it wedges in such a way that it didn’t create a catastrophic failure.

  4. The point is, this is a major story as it affects the lives of many in Philadelphia as this equipment outage also affects other H-R supplied agencies as well. Also, if there was a derailment, lives could have been lost/severely injured.

    Transit is very important to those that live near cities as it is the only way to get to work during rush hours. I used to downgrade commuter issues until I became a commuter myself.

  5. For Trevor’s information, I have no idea what happened to that post while in transit. That was not even the order in which I typed the information. Basically, the bottom line was the opening line. That made the rest of my post seem like I am an incompetent moron.

  6. Why does transit get more coverage? Simple answer transit is publicly supported and has to answer to that public. Railroad management has to answer to their board of directors, and need not face the public.

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