The rail story: Crowded platforms, frustrating delays, jam-packed cars


The surprise discovery of a structural crack in many of SEPTA’s regional rail cars made for a rough commute for many in the area Tuesday.

Some riders stood puzzled on the platforms wondering what was going on.

Manayunk’s Daniel Warner said he spent his Fourth of July weekend in the tradition of many Americans.

“I was mostly wondering how many hot dogs and hamburgers I could eat,” he said Tuesday morning.

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So he wasn’t exactly on top of mass transit news;  if he were, he’d have known that on Friday night SEPTA found defects in most of its newer-line train cars and pulled them from the rails for safety concerns.

Across the region, that meant a revised schedule offering fewer seats.

“I’m a little upset that there wasn’t more of a heads up about his, but I guess it just kinda happened over the weekend. There’s not much more they could do,” said Drew Middleton as he stood at the Wissahickon stop on the Manayunk/Norristown.

“I did not hear this,” said the internet technology salesman. “So right now I’m in a state of shock.”

When the train arrived 15 minutes later than the revised schedule, riders filled it to capacity, so it blew by frustrated commuters at the next three stops.

SEPTA officials said this could be the new reality for the next two months.

Middleton said he has a plan to avoid becoming one of those daily sardines, but now he has to go begging into the boss’s office.

“This is definitely going to be a headache,” he said. “I hope I’m going to be able to work from home soon.”

WHYY’s Laura Benshoff joined Newsworks Tonight from Suburban Station in Center City Philadelphia to give host Dave Heller a look at the afternoon commute and the latest from SEPTA.

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