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January 04, 2018

On Friday, SEPTA's Regional Rail to operate on enhanced Saturday schedule

Frigid temps and high winds could cause delays

Transportation SEPTA
Carroll - Snow SEPTA Trolley Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

An eastbound 15 trolley rolls along near 26th Street and Girard Avenue in the Brewerytown section of Philadelphia during a January 4, 2018 snowstorm.

Regional Rail trains will operate on an enhanced Saturday schedule on Friday as heavy winds and frigid temperatures cloak the Philadelphia region, SEPTA officials announced.

Regional Rail trains will be able to provide about 75 percent of regular weekday service, SEPTA General Manager Jeff Knueppel said during a Thursday afternoon press conference. An updated schedule can be found here.

SEPTA anticipates its trains could experience drifting snow, switch issues and overhead wire problems due to the extreme weather conditions expected to sweep in behind the winter storm that dropped at least four inches of snow in the city on Thursday.

Such problems could cause massive delays or train cancellations – and leave some passengers stranded in the bitter cold.

"We don't want people stranded in too many vehicles if we get into issues," Knueppel said. "So, we're trying to limit the number of trains that are out on the system tomorrow."

If necessary, SEPTA will have the ability to add additional trains in the morning, Knueppel said. It also will extend service to Churchmans Crossing and Newark, Delaware – service that typically does not run on Saturdays.

Additionally, officials are working on a busing plan for the Cynwyd Line.

SEPTA also will have rescue buses ready to transport passengers from any trains that experience issues.

"Just having the full complement out there is not the best idea for us," Knueppel said. "Also some of our older equipment – the Silverliner IV's are from the 1970s. If the snow gets into the motors, we can start losing cars. We don't want to run trains unnecessarily tomorrow and then end up with high equipment shortage on Monday."

Subways will run on a normal weekday schedule, though A and B trains on the Market-Frankford Line will not operate during the morning and evening rush. Most buses and trolleys also will be operational, though some have been detoured.

"If you have to go out, please dress appropriately and leave extra time for your travel," Knueppel said. "Think ahead. Make sure that you double-check on the information and how you're getting around our system."

The snowstorm hindered travel throughout Philadelphia on Thursday, causing mass transit delays, messy road conditions and flight cancellations.

Some Regional Rail trains were delayed by as much as 60 minutes, Knueppel said. Other trains were canceled.

By Thursday evening, the West Trenton Line had been restored after an accident on the tracks. But Knueppel said passengers should continue to expect delays and some cancellations.

"It is very difficult conditions with drifting snow and extreme cold," he said. "We have had some train cancellations and ... those will probably increase as we go toward the end of the day. The railroad is running, but certainly with delays. You'll have to check for cancellations."

Also, 34 bus routes were operating on detours, including 18 in the city. But only three routes had been suspended – 35, 92, and 120. All trolleys were running except for Route 10, which has been operating via bus for several weeks.

The Owl bus service will run thoughout the night. CCT service also will be operational.