SEPTA commuter rail catches fire

    A Septa commuter rail train burst into flames Wednesday stranding 1,000 passengers. SEPTA officials say there were no injuries and the cause of the blaze is – in – no way related to the current labor strike.

    A Septa commuter rail train burst into flames Wednesday stranding 1,000 passengers. SEPTA officials say there were no injuries and the cause of the blaze is – in – no way related to the current labor strike.

    Tuesday, union workers representing SEPTA’s bus, trolley and subway division walked off the job. The train is part of SEPTA’s Regional Rail lines – which are represented by a different union.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091104spfire.mp3]

    Flames and smoke could be seen shooting from the R5 Paoli train shortly after 7 o’clock this morning – about a mile from the Overbrook station. Passengers had to kick out the removable emergency windows and help one another evacuate the train.

    Jim Jordan heads up SEPTA’s public safety division. He says this is the first time a regional rail car burst into flames.

    Jordan: We’re very grateful that no one was injured and I dont mean in any way, and I very much regret that our passengers were subject to what I’m sure was an extremely frightening episode. And I’m glad our cars are designed so that people can get out of them.

    Jordan says that particular train is 45-years-old, and plans are in place to replace those cars. He says the cause is most likely the heating or electrical system.

    Meanwhile, no new talks are scheduled between Septa management and the union that has halted bus, subway and trolley service. Union president Willie Brown says the main issue is an underfunded pension

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