SEPTA

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

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Message to Regional Rail Riders

Paoli/Thorndale Service Suspension

Thursday evening (03.10), just as the PM rush was getting into full swing, service was suspended on the Paoli Thorndale Line - the result of unrelated incidents, one involving a SEPTA train and one an Amtrak train on two different sections of the Paoli/Harrisburg Line.

The service difficulties began at 5:33 p.m., near the end of the Paoli Line, when a SEPTA Train experienced problems as it was preparing to begin a trip towards Center City.

Just ten minutes later (5:43 p.m.), an outbound Amtrak train became disabled at Ardmore Station, after damaging the overhead wires. As a result of this incident, Amtrak shut down all 4 tracks and service on the entire Paoli/Thorndale Line service had to be suspended.

In response, SEPTA initiated 3 concurrent actions:

  • Immediately, announced Alternate Travel options for Paoli/Thorndale Line customers and enhanced service on these alternate travel options

  • Organized and deployed buses to rescue customers on stranded trains

  • Organized and deployed a special Paoli/Thorndale Line Shuttle Bus operation to provide outbound service through the end of the regular travel day


Most regular customers know about the best travel alternate for the Paoli/Thorndale Line, which is the Market Frankford Line to the Norristown High Speed Line. But as it happened, this is Philadelphia Flower Show Week. With the summer-like temperatures this week, the crowds at the Show have been record breaking, so we had many guest riders who are not familiar with either Regional Rail or these other services.

In addition to beefing up service on the Norristown High Speed Line service, we enhanced service on the Route 105 bus and continued to serve Paoli past the end of the published schedule hours.

By 6:05 p.m., 10 buses were dispatched to rescue customers stuck on 3 trains and take them to their final destinations. While this was happening, our Surface Transportation operation organized 18 additional buses for a special Paoli/Thorndale Shuttle Bus Operation that began at 8:30 p.m. and ran through the end of the service day. Some 1500 customers, many of them Flower Show attendees, traveled on the shuttle, which operated between 30th Street Station and Paoli/Thorndale Line Stations.

Amtrak forces worked on the catenary repairs through the evening and SEPTA received word that service could resume on the Paoli/Thorndale Line at 5:13 a.m. Friday morning (03.11). While Amtrak worked on the repairs, SEPTA forces worked to get trains and personnel back into position but that can be a difficult assignment especially if the track is not available to move cars into position for the first trips out. So even with all these efforts, the start of the rush this morning was rough for everyone.

After action meetings are planned with Amtrak to discuss the sequence of events and we will continue to coordinate with them on our shared response to emergency situations impacting SEPTA and Amtrak service and customers.

To our regular customers, we thank you for working with us yesterday and we appreciate any assistance you may have provided to our Flower Show guest riders helping them find our alternate travel routes.