In Memoriam: Ed Tennyson

On July 14th, Edson Leigh Tennyson, age 92, a transit industry professional, civil engineer and planner, passed away after several years of fighting cancer.

A full obituary can be found here:

Mr. Tennyson had a substantial impact on public transportation in southeastern Pennsylvania, serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Transportation in Philadelphia during the 1960′s and as Deputy Secretary of Transportation of Pennsylvania during the 1970′s. He was instrumental in the creation of SEPTA from the myriad of public and private transit operations in the region.

One of Mr. Tennyson’s (many) notable achievements was the successful advancement of using public money to subsidize continued passenger operations.

Mr. Tennyson was also a DVARP member and actively participated in helping to create the “Year 2000 Rail Transportation System for the Delaware Valley” study that was produced in 1979.

Through the years, Mr. Tennyson served as an occasional sounding board for various DVARP policy positions. His knowledge and insight will be greatly missed.

SEPTA RRD Strike Update

As reported online by, President Obama has signed an Executive Order creating a Presidential Emergency Board for the purpose of Federal Mediation between SEPTA and the BLET / IBEW labor organizations. Affected RRD employees are required to return to work. BLET Vice President Stephen Bruno has indicated that “workers will fully comply with the law”

Per SEPTA spokesperson Jerri Williams, normal RRD service should resume Sunday morning.

The creation of a Presidential Emergency Board means that SEPTA RRD employees represented by the BLET and IBEW can not engage in a work stoppage for a 240 day time period. After the expiration of that time period, a strike may reoccur.

SEPTA Regional Rail Division Strike

The Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are currently on strike against SEPTA. Regional Rail Division service is suspended at this time.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett has submitted a request to President Obama for Federal Government intervention. After receiving notification of the issuance of an Executive Order by the President, affected RRD employees will be required to return to work for a 240 day period until the Executive Order expires. At that time, BLET and IBEW represented employees may resume a work stoppage.

Although it is unclear when SEPTA RRD service will resume, it is possible that resumption of service could occur as early as Sunday. Please visit the SEPTA website for current information.

Potential SEPTA Regional Rail Division Strike Looms

June 14 marks the end of a 30 day “cooling off” period after the breakdown of negotiations between SEPTA and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) Division 71 as well as the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 744. Members of both organizations have taken a strike authorization vote, and labor leaders have indicated that a work stoppage is highly probable at that time. The TWU and UTU City and Suburban Transit Division labor leaders have stated that they will remain on the job despite stalled contract negotiations between their organizations and SEPTA.

This Link: In the Event of a Regional Rail Service Interruption details current SEPTA plans if a work stoppage occurs. As the situation develops, the information on the SEPTA website may be updated. Riders are advised to remain aware of changing conditions that may occur without notice. City Transit Division and Suburban Transit Division service are expected to continue to operate, but may be impacted by extra passengers and BLET / IBEW activities.

Potential SEPTA Transit Division Strike Looms

April 6th marks the date of expiration for the last of four contracts between SEPTA and unionized employees of the Transit Divisons. These employees are represented by Transport Workers Union Local 234 and United Transportation Union Local 1594 The TWU City Division contract expired on March 14th, and TWU Victory Division and UTU contracts expire today. At this time, no work stoppage is expected before April 6th due to previous statements from Union leadership figures. The atmosphere surrounding labor negotiations can be extremely fluid, however, and circumstances can change with limited advance notice.

This Link: Alternate Service in the Event of a City Transit Service Interruption details current SEPTA plans in the event of a work stoppage. As the situation develops, the information on the SEPTA website may be updated. Riders are advised to remain aware of changing conditions that may occur without notice. The Regional Rail Division will continue to operate, but may be impacted by extra passengers and TWU / UTU activities.

2013 year review

Happy New Year to everyone. We at DVARP hope that you had a safe and happy holiday season.

2013 can definitely be characterized as an active year with respect to public policy debate. Transportation issues were certainly a part of the mix. Below is a very brief overview of important events during the year:

Amtrak –

Reduction or elimination of Keystone and Pennsylvanian service was possible, as Amtrak was required to achieve funding agreements due to the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. Governor Corbett indicated support for funding continued operations in March. PennDOT announced a one year funding commitment in June, pending the resolution of the larger transportation funding issues in the Commonwealth.


The backlog of infrastructure rehabilitation required for safe operation of the fixed guideway routes reached a near-crisis situation, with SEPTA announcing a multi-year plan for substantial service reductions if appropriate capital project funding levels were not approved by the Commonwealth legislature. Pennsylvania government officials finally approved a comprehensive transportation funding plan in late November.

NJ Transit –

NJ Transit opened the Pennsauken Transportation Center in October. The $40 million station facility, located in the Delair section of the township, provides the opportunity for transfers between the Atlantic City Rail Line and the Riverline, as well as access to local NJ Transit bus routes and parking. Interestingly, both the ACRL and Riverline stations were considered during the initial planning stages prior to opening of each line, and each was subsequently eliminated due to community opposition.


The continued deterioration of system infrastructure was demonstrated in multiple incidents involving escalator and elevators failures, coupled with service interruptions due to rail vehicle troubles. Escalator issues were addressed temporarily by DRPA agreeing to pay SEPTA for maintenance pending a longer term plan which may require certain units to be replaced. The first of the rehabilitated railcars were delivered in December, with revenue operation expected in March 2014.