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

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RRD On-Time Performance

12 Month Average = 89% Goal = 90%

On Time Performance Summary Snapshot

January (2019) 93%

Even with the days of severe winter weather (01.20, 01.21) - arctic temperatures, icing, and significant winds - SEPTA Regional Rail achieved an overall on-time performance rating of 93% during the month of January. This level of service consistency indicates that the timetable changes that went into effect in December are resulting in train performance improvements. The upcoming, March 10, 2019 schedule changes on the Chestnut Hill West, Fox Chase, Lansdale/Doylestown, Manayunk/Norristown, Media/Elwyn, Paoli/Thorndale, Trenton, Warminster, and West Trenton Lines will also include additional OTP focused service adjustments.

During the month of January, the following events impacted service:

  • Amtrak began a concrete tie and rail replacement project between Wilmington and Newark Stations, as part of their continuing infrastructure improvement project. The work, which is expected to continue through the end February, is creating in service delays for weekday SEPTA trains.

  • On January 7th, SEPTA began a station reconstruction project at Elm Street Station on the Manayunk/Norristown Line. While this work takes place, shuttle buses are substituting for rail service between Elm and Main Street Stations, on weekdays, between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

  • 1/8/19: Fox Chase Line service was briefly suspended due to switch and signal problems at Newtown Junction

  • 1/21/19: Cynwyd Line was suspended due to an Amtrak switch failure, Paoli/Thorndale Line service was delayed due to an Amtrak broken rail east of Exton Station

December - 90%

SEPTA Regional Rail achieved an overall on-time performance rating of 90% during the month of December. Slippery Rail Season was drawing to a close with significantly fewer delays recorded for the month. New Regional Rail timetables also went in effect on Sunday, December 16, 2018 with more than 100 changes to individual train times designed to address on-time performance issues. Identifying the timetable adjustments took a coordinated effort between the On-Time Performance Committee and Regional Rail Service Planning staff. These groups looked the list of known weak performing trains, comments submitted by customers, on-system observations submitted by train crews and Service Planning staff, and changes driven by construction projects to come up with list of schedules changes that would be introduced with the December timetables. Both groups continue to monitor the performance of individual trains and will make further recommendations, as appropriate, for the upcoming March 2019 schedule change.

Only 3 other delay events of any note were recorded:

12/1/18: Media/Elwyn and West Trenton Line service was suspended due to a downed tree near Elwyn Station that caused power issues. West Trenton Line service impacted due to the cross-routing of trains between lines.

12/13/18: Wilmington/Newark Line service suspended due to fire department activity

12/21/18: Paoli/Thorndale Line service suspended between Malvern and Thorndale Stations while Amtrak responded to downed trees and overhead wire problems

Slippery Rail Season by the Numbers:

Impact to Service:

  • 2018 Slippery Rail Season started October 28th and concluded December 13th.
    • 1,549 delays recorded for a total of 16,320 minutes
      • 4th highest number of delays/2nd highest number of minutes of service delays in more than a decade

What is Slippery Rail?

Slippery Rail is a condition that occurs when falling leaves, crushed by passing vehicles, deposit a residue on the tracks. This coating decreases the friction of a train's wheels creating slippery rails. When this happens, travel speeds are reduced to maintain safe operations, especially on inclines and declines and when vehicles approach the station platform.

What we do to Combat Slippery Rail Conditions:

SEPTA has an aggressive maintenance program that employs a combination of water, and gel to remove oily deposits on the tracks. The Authority also uses high pressure washing equipment on Regional Rail to blast away the leaves and leaf residue. This action is effective in removing debris from the tracks, but until all the leaves are off the trees, intermittent delays caused by slippery rail will occur.

  • 2-3 months before Slippery Rail Season prep work, shakedown testing, and winterizing activities begin
  • SEPTA dedicated three (3) train crews operate 6 nights a week, during the overnight shift (Sunday through Friday) to power wash and/or apply gel to the railhead
    • Approximately 1,000 Train Crew hours
    • Approximately 200 Railroad Field Supervision hours
    • Approximately 2,688 Rail Mechanical Department hours
      • Wayne Junction operates two wash trains
      • Overbrook operates one wash train
  • 25,970 gallons of gel (98 tubs at 265 gallons per tub) used
    • 28 more tubs than average used in 2018

November - 80%

Slippery Rail conditions were a major impact to on-time performance for all Regional Rail Lines with 1,290 attributed delays during the month of November.

In addition, the following incidents delayed service on individual Regional Rail Lines:

11/7/18: West Trenton Line Catenary Construction Project - Special schedule was in effect for midday/weekday trains.

11/14/18: Wilmington/Newark Line - Amtrak overhead wire issues forced the suspension of service between Crum Lynn to Darby Stations.

11/15/18 - 11/16/18: First Major Snow Storm of the season caused major delays and service suspensions for the PM travel period for 6 Regional Rail Lines - Airport, Chestnut Hill West, Media/Elwyn, Paoli/Thorndale, Trenton, & Wilmington/Newark. The most severe problems stemmed from signal power or downed trees on Amtrak territory but there were issues with service on SEPTA controlled rights of way as well.

  • Paoli/Thorndale Line: service was suspended on this line after a large tree fell just east of Villanova Station fouling the track and tangling the catenary wire. Amtrak worked through night and this morning to restore service for in time for the PM travel period.
  • Chestnut Hill West/Trenton Lines: Amtrak signal outages forced the suspension of service on these lines
  • Media/Elwyn Line - A downed tree forced the suspension of the line, which lasted through the end of the service day.
  • Wilmington/Newark & Airport Lines - SEPTA signal power issues forced the suspension of these lines.

11/23/18: AMTRAK Switch and Signal issues caused major delays.