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September 12, 2016

SEPTA pulls repaired Silverliner V cars from rails because of new problem

Eighteen repaired Regional Rail cars need 'minor modifications'

Transportation SEPTA
09122016_SEPTA_SilverlinerV_resize Bob McGovern/PhillyVoice

One of the first Silverliner V trains returned to service after repairs makes a stop in Jefferson Station on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2016. Eighteen cars were removed from service on Saturday for modifications to the repairs, SEPTA said.

Eighteen defective Silverliner V train cars that had been repaired and returned – or readied to return – to service have been removed again from SEPTA's Regional Rail system.

The Silverliner V rail cars were pulled from service on Saturday after inspections revealed a clearance issue that resulted in "minimal, occasional contact between old and new components," SEPTA announced Monday. The cars are expected to be placed back in service by the end of the week.

The 18 cars are among 120 Silverliner V cars that had been removed from the Regional Rail system in early July after SEPTA discovered structural defects in the rail cars' suspension systems. The removal of those cars — which are among the newest of SEPTA's fleet — resulted in massive service delays, modified schedules and frustrated commuters all summer.

Despite the latest setback, Hyundai Rotem still is expected to repair enough Silverliner V cars to enable SEPTA to begin running its normal weekday Regional Rail schedule by Oct. 3 — the authority's preferred timetable — or Oct. 10.

All Silverliner V cars are expected to be repaired and returned to service by early- to mid-November. SEPTA has been leasing rail cars from other transit agencies to fill its void.

Hyundai Rotem is replacing the Silverliners' equalizer beams, the portion of the rail cars' suspension systems that developed cracks on the welds holding the bars in place. The redesigned replacement beams are being installed with a pin-foot connection. The original beams had been welded.

Hyundai Rotem had returned 18 Silverliners to SEPTA, but they now need a "minor design modification," SEPTA said. Hyundai Rotem and SEPTA jointly decided to remove them from the tracks on Saturday after inspecting the cars.

"SEPTA is committed to making sure the repair process is done correctly to ensure a long-lasting life," SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel said in a statement. "This is why we are conducting thorough tests and inspections, such as the one on Saturday that revealed this problem. All parties involved are working around the clock to restore the Silverliner V fleet to service in a timely fashion. We sincerely regret the continued inconvenience to our customers."