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Silverliner V Pilot Cars Arrive

Three new, completely outfitted Silverliner V Regional Rail cars have arrived in Philadelphia - finishing a journey that started on the other side of the world nearly two months ago.

It's also a major step in SEPTA's plan to put 120 new, state-of-the-art cars on the railroad, replacing portions of the fleet that date back more than 40 years.

"So much effort, planning and design has gone into the production of these new Regional Rail cars," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "To see this project go from concept to delivery of the pilot cars is tremendous."

The much-anticipated pilot cars Casey mentioned arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on Sunday, Feb. 28th. Nine Silverliner V shells also made the trip with them on the Wladyslaw Orkan, which departed from South Korea with the train cars in mid-January.

With the early-morning wind whipping cold air and snow flurries around the Packer Avenue Marine Terminal, longshoremen got down to business. Employing a mix of high-level skills, experience and extremely heavy machinery, the workers unloaded the hulking cars in short order.

Among the equipment used in the effort were cranes and forklifts with a range in capacity from two tons, all the way up to 375 tons.

"The beautiful Silverliner V Regional Rail cars are not only heavy, but extremely large," said Leo Holt, president of Holt Logistics Corp., which oversees cargo at the terminal. "It takes special skill and care as well as great equipment to handle these cars without damaging them. Just like at SEPTA, safety is our first job, and the folks who work at the terminals are among the safest in the business."

Holt Logistics and Greenwich Terminals LLC, which operates the terminal, have been integral parts of the Silverliner V project since Hyundai Rotem USA Corp. selected their site in South Philadelphia, where the cars are being assembled. The Packer Avenue Marine Terminal is also ideally suited for the job. Holt describes the facility as "very rail-centric," and he said it is the only portside nexus of three Class I railroads in the U.S.

The three pilot cars that arrived Sunday will now undergo inspection and extensive testing at the Roberts Yard. Meanwhile, the nine shells joined a growing fleet of cars that are being assembled at the Hyundai Rotem plant. Up to 300 mechanics, electricians and supervisors will work on turning the shells into state-of-the-art Regional Rail cars.

The new cars will feature larger windows, wider aisles, an enhanced seating arrangement and the latest in climate control technology.

The Silverliner V Regional Rail cars fully comply with American with Disabilities (ADA) requirements and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) passenger car strength and safety requirements.

The first Silverliner Vs are expected to be placed in service later this year.

One of three pilot cars is lowered to dock by powerful cranes.

Pilot car at Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.

A new, unwrapped pilot car.

GM Casey, AGM Diggs, Leo Holt, H.W. Kim of Hyundai Rotem and Michael Holt pose in front of new car.

Car flatbedded, bound for Roberts Yard.