Rider rejoice! PATCO returns to regular schedule as track work winds down

 (Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

(Nathaniel Hamilton/for NewsWorks)

As a bulk of the PATCO work along the Ben Franklin Bridge comes to an end, the speedline connecting South Jersey and Philadelphia will return to a regular schedule Saturday.

It will bring to an end the rush-hour delays that had frustrated PATCO riders for the past 18 months.

“We appreciate all of our customers’ patience and cooperation during the project,” said John Rink, general manager of PATCO, which runs from Lindenwold, Camden County to Center City Philadelphia. “We had a lot of schedule changes and put them through a lot.”

Trains will start running as frequently as every four minutes during weekday rush periods and as often as every 15 minutes during the midday stretch.

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Some residual work on the project could still cause minor delays on weekends, when trains will run every 25 minutes.

The $103 million project to replace tracks and upgrade electrical signal and communication equipment on the Ben Franklin Bridge was one of the most extensive rehabilitation jobs in the history of the train line, operated by the Delaware River Port Authority.

“This is perhaps the largest of the several years of capital projects that DRPA and PATCO have committed to overhaul and refurbish the PATCO system,” said Ben Cornelius, assistant general manager of PATCO.

Next up for PATCO is a project to replace original rail and rail fasteners on the Westmont viaduct, which will be done on weekday overnights and weekends.

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