PATCO back; SEPTA returns to normal Wednesday

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Hurricane Sandy's devastation shows in the Brandt Beach area on the southern end of Long Beach Island as a beach house is washed off its foundation on Tuesday. ( CLEM MURRAY / Staff Photographer )

All SEPTA regional rail lines will be working Wednesday, operating from the normal start of service in the morning on a weekday schedule, SEPTA announced Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, PATCO announced that service resumed at 6 p.m. tonight, with trains departing every half hour. Amtrak was to resume most service in the area Wednesday, though New York City service remains suspended because of tunnel flooding.

NJ Transit said it would resume limited bus service Wednesday in Camden.

As of noon Tuesday, SEPTA's Broad Street and Market-Frankford lines were open.

Trains on all SEPTA Regional Rail lines will follow regular weekday schedules on Wednesday. Customers may experience residual delays, and should allow extra time for their commute.

The resumption of service on Regional Rail follows the restoration of operations at noon Tuesday on the Market-Frankford Line, Broad Street Line, Norristown High Speed Line and city and suburban bus and trolley routes. All of these services will continue on regular weekday schedules for the start of service on Wednesday morning, with the exception of a few bus routes that cannot currently run due to road conditions. Several additional bus routes may continue to be detoured.

Buses, trolleys and the Norristown high-speed line began to resume service at noon.

Eighty percent of city bus routes and 60 percent of suburban bus routes were expected to resume service at that time.

SEPTA will post information on routes on its website.

City trolleys resumed service.

The Media-Sharon Hill trolley line will be open until the Woodland Avenue stop.

Mayor Nutter, who attended the news conference, called the news that SEPTA would be starting up "a great announcement" and said SEPTA had "exceeded expectations" in weathering the storm.

"Mass transit is critical to the region," he said.

Though there was no Regional Rail service Tuesday, SEPTA announced in late afternoon that rail service would resume Wednesday. The agency cautioned that riders should expect "residual delays."

"Contrary to some reports, we did not go unscathed on regional rail," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey.

The problem is mostly trees that fell across the tracks - a condition affecting every line. SEPTA has called in contractors to help with the debris removal. The lines most "hopeful" to begin running Wednesday - and likely with delays - are the airport and Media lines, said Jeff Knueppel, SEPTA's deputy general manager.

"We just keep finding more trees," he said.

Casey said it was the right call to shut down the system during the storm.

"Yeah, absolutely. It's public safety, safety for our employees," he said. "We needed people to stay home."

PATCO, which resumes services Tuesday at 6 p.m., will follow a modified rush hour schedule on Wednesday. When it resumes service, trains will be departing every half hour.

At 6 p.m., one train will leave from Lindenwold, New Jersey and another will leave from 15th and 16th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia. They will then run east/west every 30 minutes. After midnight, trains will run regular Night Owl schedules. Wednesday, trains run on a modified rush hour schedule: from 6-7 a.m., they leave every 15 minutes. From 7-9 a.m., they leave every ten minutes. Those trains will run at reduced speeds. Beginning at 9 a.m., trips between the east and west terminals will take 37 minutes, about 11 minutes longer than normal.

Amtrak will operate Keystone Service trains between Harrisburg and Philadelphia on Wednesday. Modified Northeast Regional service will run between Newark, N.J., and points south on Wednesday, NOT INTO MANHATTAN. No Acela Express service for the length of the Northeast Corridor on Wednesday. All services in the Northeast Corridor were suspended Tuesday.

 


Contact Inquirer staff writer Troy Graham at tgraham@phillynews.com