SEPTA has new tools at its disposal for the upcoming winter weather, such as high-velocity snow blowers and brining equipment, aimed at combating snowy and icy conditions. This equipment will play a key role in the authority’s efforts to minimize disruptions to customers resulting from winter weather events.
Earlier this year – at the direction of then-Deputy General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel, who was named General Manager in September – SEPTA began securing additional equipment to aide crews that are dispatched throughout the system to fight the elements. This action came in response to experiences in recent winters, which have seen the top two seasonal snow accumulations ever recorded (No. 1, 2009-10; No. 2, 2013-14), and demonstrated the increasing likelihood of back-to-back, major storms.
The new equipment includes heavy duty snow removers, rail-mounted blowers that can be deployed to clear tracks, and additional snow blowers that can be used to clear off buses and other vehicles. The Authority will also conduct a pilot program for brining surfaces, such as bus and trolley loops and parking lots, to prevent snow and ice from building up. For this effort, the authority has a brine maker with a 5,000-gallon storage tank, and several brine applicators. “This new equipment, along with proactive planning, will better enable our employees to battle increasingly unpredictable winter weather,” said Robert L. Lund, SEPTA Assistant General Manager for Engineering, Maintenance and Construction.
In addition, SEPTA takes preventive efforts to prepare its revenue fleet of over 2,700 buses and trains. Air systems and doors on all vehicles are aggressively serviced, and additional traction motors are placed into inventory to reduce down time. Winter weather snow plans are also developed to identify critical system infrastructure areas that require deployment of personnel and equipment.
When necessary, SEPTA will also use the Severe Storm Schedule, on which Regional Rail operates on Saturday schedules to help maintain safe travel. SEPTA switches to the Severe Storm Schedule when the weather forecast calls for high snow accumulations, high winds and icy conditions. SEPTA will notify customers by 4 pm. The day before these schedules go into effect.
SEPTA will also again use the “Early Exit” service option when the City of Philadelphia calls for an early closure of the Center City business district. In this scenario, SEPTA shifts resources and moves nine trains scheduled for the evening rush hour to mid-day. Notice of the Early Exit schedules will be sent by 10 am the day it will be deployed.
All service notices will be posted on SEPTA’s website, www.septa.org, as well as Twitter and Facebook, simultaneously with alerts sent to