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

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A Message for Regional Rail Riders

This has been a frustrating travel week for many Regional Rail customers especially on the Lansdale/Doylestown and Paoli/Thorndale Lines.

On Tuesday we experienced a tragic fatality on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line, in the early hours of the AM travel time. Service was suspended shortly after 6:00 a.m. while the Police and Medical Examiner completed their investigation of the incident involving Train #503, later ruled a suicide.

Within a very short amount of time, we had 3 trains filled with morning commuters stuck out on the line - Train #503 heading towards Center City, a train from Doylestown unable to travel past Lansdale, and an outbound train stuck mid-route just below Gwynedd Valley Station.

Shuttle buses were dispatched to pick up customers waiting on these trains and we were able to send a train down from Lansdale to perform a side by side train rescue for the customers from Train #503.

As a result, service on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line was significantly impacted with 35 of the 78 daily scheduled trains delayed, cancelled, or requiring protect service to substitute for stranded train sets. Regular service was restored by 9:05 a.m. with residual delays continuing for about another 90 minutes.

Although not operating along the same right of way, many of the morning Lansdale trains continue in service as Paoli/Thorndale trains, once they leave Center City, which created delays and travel headaches for customers on this line as well.

This morning, the Lansdale/Doylestown Line again experienced extensive travel delays during the height of AM service, this time due to a tree that fell on the overhead wires. Thanks to the efforts of our Power Department, we were able to clear the downed tree, repair the wires, and get service back in operation, although unfortunately not until after the peak of morning travel.

If you will recall, this past winter, after another downed wire incident, we said that we would engage the service of an Arborist to inspect the areas adjacent to the right of way, from Butler Avenue and Bristol Road to the end of the line, where we've had the most problems with trees. This assessment was completed in the Spring and the report found approximately 80 trees - some very large and many not on SEPTA property - in varying states of deterioration requiring major branch pruning or removal of the whole tree.

We are currently accelerating a plan to remove trees and limbs compromising our right of way and we intend to move quickly. With safety always in mind, this effort will require buses to temporary substitute for train service to Doylestown, Delaware Valley University, and New Britain Station. If possible, we may begin this work as early as next weekend (07.25-26). We will let you know as soon as we have confirmed the scheduled work.