SEPTA hopes to borrow $250 million to finance the purchase of new Regional Rail cars and the reconstruction of a Regional Rail station.
The SEPTA Board of Directors will vote Thursday on a measure that would authorize the transit authority to purchase the bonds, to be paid off over the next 25 years.
In tandem with grants from the Federal Transit Administration, the borrowed funds would cover the costs of 120 new railcars and the renovation of 110-year-old Wayne Junction station, located at 4481 Wayne Ave. in North Philadelphia.
“Wayne Junction station goes back to 1901 and it really hasn’t had any significant renovation done on it,” SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch said. “It’s falling into what would be called a serious state of disrepair. After over a hundred years of service, it needs a makeover.”
Construction at Wayne Junction, which was among 22 projects cut from last year’s budget due to lack of funding, would not impact service to the station, Busch said.
College sophomore Alexandra Cooper-Ponte frequently rides SEPTA Regional Rail to visit her family in Wilmington, Del.
Some SEPTA facilities are “quite dilapidated” and could stand to be “modernized considerably,” according to Cooper.
College sophomore Louisa Jacquinto, who rides SEPTA two or three times per week to get to an internship downtown, said the addition of new cars might help to ameliorate crowding, particularly during rush hour.
Should the SEPTA Board approve the measure to borrow money, it would take approximately four months to secure funding, and construction at Wayne Junction would begin this summer, Busch said.
Plans to purchase the new Silverliner V railcars have already been in the works for four years now. According to SEPTA’s website, the new cars “will feature larger windows, wider aisles, an enhanced seating arrangement and the latest in climate control technology.”
The first six railcars have already been delivered. Three cars are in revenue service, while the other three are still undergoing testing. The full 120 are expected to be in service sometime next year, Busch said.
Once all the new cars are operational, SEPTA will begin to retire 73 of the oldest cars in its fleet, which date back to the early 1960s.
“The cars we’re taking out of service are approaching 50 years at this point,” Busch said. “We anticipate we’ll have these new cars for a long time as well.”
Note: This article was updated from its original version to reflect that the proposed railcars to be added to the system are Regional Rail cars. In addition, a photo depicting the Market-Frankford subway line originally appeared with the article and was removed.Comments powered by Disqus
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