Amtrak accident in Chester, PA

On Sunday April 3rd, at approximately 7:53 AM local time, southbound Amtrak Palmetto #89 enroute to Savannah, GA derailed after striking a backhoe, resulting in the death of 2 and injuring approximately 30 according to news outlets.  The two fatalities were identified as Amtrak employees, presumably engaged in track maintenance activity.  The Amtrak locomotive derailed and sustained moderate damage.

Due to NTSB investigation activity and the damage resulting from the derailment, rail service through the affected area was suspended for the day.  Amtrak and SEPTA service has resumed this morning, but is limited to 2 tracks through the area.  Passengers are advised to expect delays.

Northeast Corridor service to be restored Monday morning

At 5:30 p.m. this afternoon, Amtrak announced the restoration of service between Philadelphia and New York. As stated on the Amtrak website, “Effective with departures from Philadelphia at 5:53 a.m. (Train 110) and New York at 5:30 a.m. (Train 111), all Amtrak Acela, Northeast Regional and other services resume.”

SEPTA has also announced the resumption of service with some modifications. As stated on the SEPTA website, “Trenton service will resume tomorrow AM (5/18) with no service to North Philadelphia, Bridesburg and Tacony stations. Delays are expected.”

The restoration comes following an announcement late last week that service would not resume until Tuesday. Amtrak and contractor personnel have been working around the clock to repair the damage sustained during the derailment. NJ Transit restored service to 30th Street Station on Friday, May 15th.

Amtrak Derailment in Philadelphia

On Tuesday May 12th, at approximately 9:20 PM local time, Amtrak Northeast Regional Train #188 derailed at the curve east of Frankford Junction while enroute to New York City, resulting in the death of 8 and injuring approximately 200 according to news outlets. During a press conference late this afternoon, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesperson Robert Sumwalt stated that preliminary data extracted from the locomotive event recorder indicates that the train was traveling at approximately 106 Miles per Hour as it approached the curve. The approach speed limit is 80 MPH, and the speed limit through the curve is 50 MPH.

Due to NTSB investigation activity and the damage resulting from the derailment, rail service through the affected area is suspended indefinitely, pending Amtrak repairs. This includes Amtrak, the SEPTA Trenton Line, and the NJ Transit Atlantic City Rail Line west of Cherry Hill Station.

This PlanPhilly article: How to go around the Northeast Corridor shutdown after the Frankford Junction derailment provides a comprehensive list of transit alternatives between Trenton and Philadelphia to bypass the affected area.

SEPTA is offering additional trains on the West Trenton Line, which is accessible via special NJ Transit shuttle bus from the Trenton Transportation Center. There is no fare for the special NJ Transit Shuttle but customers must present a valid SEPTA or Amtrak fare to ride.

Atlantic City Rail Line riders can access PATCO at Lindenwold or temporary bus shuttles operating between Cherry Hill and Philadelphia 30th Street Station. NJ Transit is currently cross-honoring Amtrak and SEPTA Regional Rail Division tickets on the Southern Division bus routes and the River Line. Amtrak tickets only are being cross-honored on NJ Transit NEC trains between Trenton and New York City.

PATCO is currently cross-honoring tickets for Amtrak and the NJ Transit Atlantic City Rail Line.

DVARP extends sympathy to the injured, and condolences to the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

DVARP would also like to thank the many participants assisting in the rescue operation. The efforts and professionalism of the first responders is appreciated.

DVARP to host NARP Regional Meeting on March 28

The Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers (DVARP) will host the 2015 Tri-State Meeting (DE, NJ, PA) of NARP on Saturday, March 28, 2015.  The meeting will take place at the Friends Center, 15th and Cherry Streets, in Philadelphia, which is one block north of SEPTA’s Suburban Station.  SEPTA will accept Amtrak tickets on regional rail trains from 30th Street Station.  Doors will open at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to be followed by a tour.  NARP President Emeritus Ross Capon; Amishi Castelli from the Volpe Group and Ruby Siegal from AECOM; and Byron Comati from Strategic Planning at SEPTA will address the meeting.  The price of admission, which includes refreshments, a buffet lunch, and a tour, is $35 if received by March 25, and $40 at the door.

30th Street Station District Plan Meeting

Amtrak, Drexel and their partners in the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan will host an open house this month to introduce the project to the public and solicit community input. The event is an opportunity for interested parties to learn about the project, meet the team, ask questions and provide input. The open house will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 28 on the main concourse at 30th Street Station from 4-7 p.m. There will be no formal presentation, but members of the project team will be on hand to answer questions and provide information.

The public is also invited to learn about the project by logging onto the recently-launched website, PhillyDistrict30. Here visitors can get the latest project information, sign up to receive project updates via e-mail, review news coverage and more.

The Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan is a joint planning effort focused on creating a single integrated vision for the area surrounding 30th Street Station. The goals of the plan center on concepts of community, connectivity and identity.

The effort is led by Amtrak, Brandywine Realty Trust, Drexel University and SEPTA with support from a coordinating committee that includes a wide range of public and private agencies, area stakeholders and other interested parties.

(Courtesy: Drexel University)

NEC Future meeting schedule

NEC Future is a program of the Federal Railroad Administration. As stated online, “NEC FUTURE is a comprehensive planning effort to define, evaluate, and prioritize future investments in the Northeast Corridor (NEC), from Washington, D.C. to Boston. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) launched NEC FUTURE in February 2012 to consider the role of rail passenger service in the context of current and future transportation demands. Through the NEC FUTURE program, the FRA will determine a long-term vision and investment program for the NEC, and provide a Tier 1 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Service Development Plan (SDP) in 2016 in support of that vision.”

This link – Open House Meetings, November 2014 – provides information about the schedule of upcoming meetings.