SEPTA: 'Significant structural defect' sidelines 120 railcars

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Thirdrail7

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It looks like serious trouble for the Silverliner V fleet.

SEPTA: Serious cracks found in 95 percent of cars inspected so far

http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20160704_SEPTA__Serious_cracks_found_in_95_percent_of_cars_inspected_so_far.html?betaPreview=redesign

Please allow a brief "fair use" quote:

Structural failures found in a third of SEPTA's train fleet are forcing more than 100 cars off the tracks indefinitely.

At the Wayne Junction SEPTA Station yard many of the 120 Silverliner V trains are put on side tracks awaiting whatever repair will come before they can be brought back into service.

Fixes could take the rest of the summer, but riders who account for 150,000 trips on Regional Rail each day will likely face crowded trains and big delays.

"Unfortunately, it will be rough on our railroad customers," said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's general manager.
The flaw, a crack in a weight-bearing beam on a train car's undercarriage, has shown up in almost all of SEPTA's Silverliner V's, the newest trains in its Regional Rail fleet. The agency spent $274 million on them and they were put in service from 2010 to 2013.

A revised schedule will be announced Monday, but SEPTA officials warned that delays and crowded trains will be a near certainty when riders return to work Tuesday. The severity of the structural problems is still being investigated, but the failure could cause vehicle shortages throughout the summer, Knueppel said.
SEPTA runs its trains at 90 percent capacity and doesn't have a significant stock of unused, operable rail cars. With 120 vehicles out of commission, the authority has few options.
While Hyundai Rotem Corp., part of the consortium that handled the original contract, provided a seven-year warranty on the vehicles, obtaining the parts will take time and the work is significant, 30 to 60 hours per car to replace the equalizer beams. Hyundai Rotem has assigned staff to assist SEPTA, Knueppel said. The agency was talking with New Jersey Transit and Amtrak about the possibility of leasing equipment to help SEPTA until its own cars are repaired, he said. Knueppel said he was not aware of any other local transit agencies using the affected Silverliners.
Maybe the 664 will end up back at Septa. Where's that logo? :p
 
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neroden

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Uh-oh. Hyundai Rotem will have to replace the trucks. They're from some subcontractor, I don't know who...

This almost certainly affects the Denver cars as well. :p

Hyundai Rotem has already paid large penalties on this order due to being late. They've got to be losing money by now.
 
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norfolkwesternhenry

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All I can say is ouch, luckily I use a bike to get around, and my city (Minneapolis) has not had good train/trolley/light rail service since the fiftys, so we don't suffer the few disadvantages or rail, Unfortunately, we have very little rail service, the Northstar (halfway to St. Cloud, even though there is 79 MPH track all the way, EB) and the Blue/Green light rail lines, (no use to me on my daily commute) WE NEED TRAINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

caravanman

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Seems odd that in these days of computer aided design, and awareness of metal fatigue, etc, that such a fault could occur?

Also a bit worrying that 95% of the cars have been running with this fault undetected untill now, how can that be?

Ed.
 

PRR 60

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To make matters even a little bit worse, the trucks are from Columbus Castings, just about the only domestic supplier of passenger car trucks. For cars with a "Buy America" requirement, they are all but a sole source supplier. The parent company of Columbus Castings is teetering on bankruptcy. There may be some question as to how responsive they will be to something that could be very expensive. BTW, Silverliner V cars are being used on the new Denver airport "A" line, and will be used when the "B" line to Westminster opens on July 26. No word on what Denver RTD is doing, although I suspect they are looking over their cars pretty carefully.

As for detecting cracks, even structurally significant cracking can sometimes be hard to see visually. It often takes a nondestructive examination method to find it, and you have to be looking in just the right location. There is also some period of time between when a crack has become significant (something other than superficial) and when it has propagated to the point of initiating a failure. Even the declaration of a "structurally significant" crack does not mean the part is about to fail.
 

PRR 60

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The latest report in Phillymag.com states that one car had a complete fracture of an equalizer bar of one truck on car 812, and further inspections showed cracks in virtually every truck. Major mess for SEPTA.

Phillymag
 

Bob Dylan

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Doesn't Congress and the FRA realize that not much is "Made in America!" anymore?

What little that is so called Manufacturing is actually Assembly of foreign sourced parts.

The Big 3 American Car Companies are actually less "American Made" than the various "Foreign" Cars that are assembled in plants all over the Country, mostly Non-Union plants in the South!
 

neroden

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To make matters even a little bit worse, the trucks are from Columbus Castings, just about the only domestic supplier of passenger car trucks.
I guess all passenger car trucks will be ordered from abroad from now on. Columbus Castings is quite clearly defunct and would not be a qualified supplier for most agencies at this point. Time to get out the Buy America waiver forms... since there are 0 suppliers.

It's one thing to apply protectionist tarriffs. But Buy America is just stupid.
 
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Acela150

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so your blaming Rotem for SEPTA specified trucks purchased from US (pa) manufacturer ??? let me guess your Trump supporter...
You haven't the slightest clue to the amount of BS that Hyundai Rotem had while building these pieces of TRASH... The crews hate them, maintenance crews hate them.

Prove me wrong. I can tell you the amount of times I've been on them and something goes wrong with them. Once to the point where the breakdown screwed up Septa's entire railroad. A set broke down in the middle of 16th Street JCT. Crossing over to the Norristown Branch.

And I mean call me crazy but Rotem had to build these cars 10,000 pounds over the designed weight. They should have made the appropriate adjustments so that such a thing wouldn't happen.

And again call me crazy but, Septa originally picked Rotem as the builder. Kawasaki put a lawsuit on Septa saying that Rotem didn't have the proper credentials for the winning bid.. Clearly they were spot on. Metro link can't use their Cab Cars.. MBTA had issues with their cars. Septa has had nothing but trouble from these units.

Granted these problems developed later but it's been rumored that Septa has been thinking of using these morons for the Silverliner 6 contract.. Which would be a horrible horrible idea. Ever see the welds on these cars? They look like a newborn did them. They're terrible.
 

Shawn Ryu

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Uh-oh. Hyundai Rotem will have to replace the trucks. They're from some subcontractor, I don't know who...

This almost certainly affects the Denver cars as well. :p

Hyundai Rotem has already paid large penalties on this order due to being late. They've got to be losing money by now.
Harsh lesson for the future I hope.

ROTEM doesn't seem to have any issues in other countries to be fair. Vancouver is doing OK.
 

jis

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Uh-oh. Hyundai Rotem will have to replace the trucks. They're from some subcontractor, I don't know who...

This almost certainly affects the Denver cars as well. :p

Hyundai Rotem has already paid large penalties on this order due to being late. They've got to be losing money by now.
Harsh lesson for the future I hope.

ROTEM doesn't seem to have any issues in other countries to be fair. Vancouver is doing OK.
That is true. Rotem has delivered many hundred cars in several Asian countries and some in Europe with little problem. I have ridden Rotem cars in Malaysia and they are very nice AC Sleeper cars. Haven't ridden any of their EMUs.

The common factor in all these problems seems to be the US. I wonder what gives.
 

Eric S

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Hyundai-Rotem seems to have struggled mightily with recent US orders. But, as others have pointed out, it does seem to be more of a US-specific problem. And we've also seen CAF and Nippon-Sharyo struggle with US rail car orders.

This suggests to me that perhaps the combination of Buy America rules and US-specific regulations that make it practically impossible to order off-the-shelf equipment shares the blame in part (along with any specific problems with H-R). These same rules and regulations raise the cost of US passenger rail equipment significantly above that of Asian and European cars and locomotives.
 

Caesar La Rock

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There are equipment in some countries that are abused much more then anything in the northeast portion of the US, yet they still hold up.
 
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jis

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Let's keep in mind that the US has way more stringent standards then anywhere else in the world. That is my guess.
Rotem issues have nothing to do with so called more stringent standards in the US. It has to do more with poor quality control, and specifically in the case of the truck issue, poor quality control in manufacturing at a true red, white and blue American company, not Rotem. So let us not kid ourselves and place the blame where it belongs instead of obfuscating.
 

fairviewroad

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Amtrak has added service to the Keystones to help SEPTA.
I saw mention of this on the SEPTA website, but Amtrak's website is mum (not that the Amtrak website is known for including info about developing situations). Do you have a sense of how much extra service? On the Harrisburg section only, or on the Trenton/NYP section too?
 

AmtrakBlue

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Amtrak has added service to the Keystones to help SEPTA.
I saw mention of this on the SEPTA website, but Amtrak's website is mum (not that the Amtrak website is known for including info about developing situations). Do you have a sense of how much extra service? On the Harrisburg section only, or on the Trenton/NYP section too?
I have no idea. I just happened to see it on the news as they tell people what alternatives are available. I'm so glad I don't work in Philly (as the only way I would is if the employer is within an easy walk of SEPTA rail).
 

benjibear

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Here is an article that discusses SEPTA looking to borrow equipment from NJ Transit, Amtrak, and MTA. It could be interesting seeing equipment on lines in Philly that you may not normally see.

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/in-transit/Crowded-trains-begin-early-on-SEPTA-rail.html

Here is the info on the Amtrak added service. They are not adding trains, just an extra stop in Ardmore and extra capacity.

Amtrak will make four more stops at Ardmore - three inbound and one outbound - and add an extra car to six of the eight Keystone trains between New York and Harrisburg.

Passengers will need Amtraks ticket to ride on the trains.
 

Acela150

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Amtrak doesn't have the equipment to spare. Not sure about NJT or MTA. Not to mention crews would have to qualify on the equipment. Would just make sense to not lease the equipment unless it will be out for say more then 4 months. Which is possible. :eek:
 
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