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SEPTA's new train woes

  : Saturday February 19, 2000
Thanks to Ian P. Pirie
Serious faults, which could cause a derailment have been found in the bogies (trucks) on 8 of SEPTA's newest passenger cars.
SEPTA train wheels

30th Street Disaster, 1990
SEPTA's worst accident occurred on the Market - Frankford line. In 1990 a train derailed the subway tunnel near 30th Street Station. Four passengers were killed and many more wereinjured.
The derailment was caused when a bolt holding a traction motor failed. The motor, still partially attached to the bogie fell onto the track formation causing the bogie to derail.

SEPTA logo

A routine inspection of the trains used on SEPTA's Market - Frankford line revealed cracks in the axle casing on a bogie on one of the cars. Further investigation revealed similar problems in eight more vehicles. The trains in which the cars are marshalled were immediately withdrawn from service while the defective bogies were replaced.

According to an unnamed source at SEPTA the problem "had the potential to cause a derailment".

According to SEPTA's chief operations officer, Patrick Nowakowski, the cracks may be due to faulty faulty welds. The trains are the newest on the SEPTA system. They were supplied by Adtranz between 1997 and 1999 and consist of 220 cars. The bogie assemblies were provided a sub-contractor.

These new trains have plagued with another problem which is either a manufacturing or a design fault. The automatic doors have, at times refused to open or close. New doors, to a different design are to be fitted to all 220 cars in a program that will cost $6.2 million and take 9 -12 months to complete.

Split wheel cause of R5 Line derailment
In an incident earlier in the week, a train was derailed after a wheel split in two. The train was empty at the time and neither the driver nor the conductor was injured. This incident occurred on the R5 line as the train approached Thorndale Station. This train was manufctured by Bombardier.

A broken wheel was the cause of the Eschede disaster in Germany in 1998.

Join the discussion

Web sources:
8 defective cars pulled 16/02/2000
Regional-rail train wheel splits 16/02/2000
Stand clear of the doors 16/02/2000


SEPTA - South East Philadelphia Transit Authority



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This file last updated: Friday, 25-Feb-2000 19:32:16 EST
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