SEPTA expects three more Silverliner V railcars to roll off the assembly line Dec. 20, according to an update project head Dave Casper gave to the Citizen Advisory Committee Tuesday night.
The cars were originally scheduled for completion earlier this month but missed that deadline because workers had to repair damage done to wiring harnesses.
Static testing of the three cars at the South Philadelphia plant is complete, and workers are addressing items that SEPTA inspectors have flagged for further attention, Casper said.
Once they’re delivered, the authority is planning on six weeks of road testing before they enter revenue service.
When those three cars come online, they will allow SEPTA to make a six-car-long Silverliner V train able to serve the busy rush-hour routes that the current three-car train, composed of pilot cars assembled in South Korea, can’t handle.
When finished, SEPTA will have 120 new Silverliner V cars to replace the aging Silverliner II and III fleets.
Construction has been repeatedly delayed because of workforce and quality-control problems at the assembly plant.
The next six cars in the order are all at least 90 percent assembled and should be delivered in January, Casper said.
And the next batch of six cars are at least 80 percent assembled, and the six cars following that are at least 70 percent assembled.
Casper said that once the three slated for December completion are delivered, workers would focus on accelerating car assembly in an attempt to get nine cars delivered in February.
He also gave more information on heating and communication problems that have been noticed on the pilot cars.
The heating problems ― which cropped up during climate testing in Canada ― may require a retrofit of the cars in assembly, and the designers are looking at redistributing airflow in the cars so that more heat comes from the ceiling of the car and less comes from the floor.
Most communication problems have been resolved, though the wayside communication system still isn’t up and running. When in place, trains will automatically download a status report when they reach five points along the system, helping SEPTA better track the condition of its regional rail fleet.
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