Spring cleaning: SEPTA starts weekend station closures for deep clean, repairs

A transit security officer works on the platform of the Girard stop

File photo: A transit security officer works on the platform of the Girard stop of the Market-Frankford El train on July 15, 2021. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

A vigorous cleaning program starts this weekend on SEPTA’s Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines through the beginning of August.

SEPTA’s Andrew Busch said workers will repeat the ritual started as a pilot program last year. A different station will be closed on different weekends, a rotation of closures that will allow crews to do work they couldn’t get to when there are riders on the platforms.

“On Friday night at 8 p.m., you shut the station down, crews move in and then they’re intensively working around the clock over the weekend. And then we get the station back open at 5 a.m. on Monday,” Busch said.

The cleaning effort will include everything from power washing the platforms to replacing structural steel if necessary.

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Busch said the biggest challenge is ongoing damage to stations where people at times take up residence on the platforms. “Some places we are continuing to see some damage, unfortunately, from things like urination and issues that we are having at stations. Some of that stemming from the vulnerable population who seek shelter on the system so that, you know, that is difficult on our infrastructure.”

When the stations are closed, SEPTA will offer shuttle bus service to get riders to the next open station.

The North Philadelphia station on the Broad Street Line will be the first to undergo the cleaning this weekend, and then the crews will move on to the Somerset stop on the Market-Frankford Line. During a City Council meeting with SEPTA head Leslie Richards, she said that the station needs a lot of work even though they did a deep cleaning on it last year.

The station closed in March of 2021 for two weeks as it underwent $1 million dollars in repairs concentrating on the elevators that were damaged by urine and discarded needles.

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