SEPTA wants customers to “test ride” the new Silverliner V

Marking roughly the halfway point in the delivery of its new Silverliner V regional rail fleet, SEPTA has rolled out an advertising campaign to pump riders up about the new train cars.

The campaign, modest in scope, was timed last week to coincide with the Philadelphia Auto Show, where SEPTA had a booth, according to director of marketing Richard DiLullo.

The $56,000 campaign consisted of brochures at the Auto Show, banner ads on and three billboards on Roosevelt Boulevard, Interstate 95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The ads and billboards feature a picture of the new railcars with tell customers to “test ride one today.”

“We wanted to launch this campaign in time for the auto show,” DilLullo explained, noting that SEPTA does a brisk business tied to the show.

Though the banner ads were only set to run for a week, DiLullo is looking to keep the billboards up “for another month at least.”

He added that SEPTA wanted to time the campaign ― which will also feature brochures at the Philadelphia Flower Show in March ―  to launch at the halfway mark of Silverliner deliveries to maximize excitement over the new train cars.

As of last week, 71 cars out of 120 ordered had been shipped to SEPTA, with 60 of those having been accepted by the authority. Between 48 and 50 were actually in service, with the rest being used for testing or undergoing routine maintenance.

In-service cars are being taken out of service and retrofitted with “over 100 design updates and improvements” caused by changes in the railcar production process, according to SEPTA’s January project report on the Silverliner.

Plagued by delays that have cost builder United Transit Systems more than $8 million in late fees, SEPTA now expects the last car to roll off the South Philadelphia production line in September, with six or seven cars ready every month.

The new fleet will replace aging Silverliner IIs and IIIs.

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