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

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Manayunk/Norristown Line Modernization Project

Introduction

In order for us to work on a modernization project along the line, shuttle buses have been replacing rail service between Elm Street Station and Wissahickon Station on recent weekends.

While we appreciate our customers' patience during this time, we feel that an explanation of the work and its benefit to our riding public is warranted.

Benefits

One major issue that has plagued the Manayunk/Norristown Line is the requirement to completely shut down the whole line when severe weather causes flooding to occur. When this work is completed, we will be able to offer partial service along the line during such events.

We will also be able to perform future work along the line without suspending service to our customers.

Details

The modernization project for the Norristown Branch is currently underway, and is expected to continue through early 2015.

Work includes modernizing the signal system, various maintenance tasks and improving the operational flexibly of the line. While these initial improvements will require temporary inconveniences to our riders in the form of bus substations and schedule changes, over all this project will allow SEPTA to perform future construction and maintenance functions without impacting service for decades to come. Additionally, these improvements will allow SEPTA to provide partial service during storms when flooding conditions previously suspended operations.

Late last year, SEPTA began the construction of a new interlocking near Miquon Station (RIVER Int). Located at roughly the mid-point of the branch, this location is key as a control point for improving service reliability and supporting the subsequent phases of construction. This new control point, used for crossing trains between tracks remotely from SEPTA's Operations Control Center, will provide the ability to perform certain midday weekday construction/maintenance while still running trains on the hour. Because interlocking construction often impacts both tracks for long durations, it cannot be safely conducted during the short overnight hours when trains are not running. To minimize overall impact on our riders, major construction tasks are combined where possible into a series of weekends of bus substitution. Temporary changes were made to the rail system to allow trains as far as possible along the branch during these busing weekends.

Activation of the new "RIVER" Interlocking will occur in early spring of this 2013. Once done, the remaining construction and maintenance work will be able to be completed minimal impacts to train schedules. Some of the major work includes

The replacement of approximately 9900 ties from the new RIVER Interlocking southward to the beginning of the branch near Allegheny Station.

Replacement of the bridge timbers on the 175-foot-long long bridge over CSX near Hunting Park Avenue (behind the Former Tastykake Building).

The renewal of the track and roadway surface at seven (7) highway grade crossings on the lower half of the branch.

Tree cutting and vegetation removal along the lower segment, which will restore safe clearances around our aerial high-voltage power line, reducing service interruption-caused storms.

The continuation of the replacement if the 80-plus year old overhead contact system. In the next year we will be replacing another 12 miles of overhead wire.

Late this year we will be reconstructing "FORD" Interlocking, near the Norristown Transportation Center. The existing components of this location will be replaced, and the overall facility expanded to provide better operational flexibility.

FORD will serve as a counterpart to RIVER, and support upcoming construction/maintenance phases on the northern part of the branch while also improving service reliability.