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Old 07-20-2012, 12:18 AM
 
1,956 posts, read 2,571,138 times
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Philly's SEPTA regional rail has so much potential to be a true metro/S-Bahn-type system -- it's totally electrified with a center city tunnel and through routing; plus the system interfaces pretty well with the city rail transit modes (like the Fern Rock Transp. Center connection btw the Broad Street Subway and the northern Reg. Rail lines... Unfortunately, SEPTA has held the system back from quality development. The ancient signal systems, from the Pennsy and Reading RRs, hold back the frequency and train speed. For example, trains creep along through Center City, as slow as 5-10 mph between 30th St. and Suburban Station, which is close to 1 mile. Also, train stations, though there's been some upgrading, are in hideous conditions in many cases, and low platforms should have been raised to level-car entry years ago (only a few non-downtown stations have this feature, and without it, boarding requires conductors and is very slow, and slows down train speeds considerably). Train frequency is generally only every 30 mins during rush hour; every hour for base/non-rush hour service... this includes lines that don't even leave the city, like the Fox Chase and Chestnut Hill lines (or barely leave it, like the Cynwyd line). This is inexcusable. Plus its ridiculously expensive... Bottom line is that SEPTA still runs the thing like a traditional American commuter train system where riders commute to downtown in the a.m. and go home in the evening. It's almost as if the Center City tunnel was a waste of time and money.

... compare Boston's T commuter rail -- even though it serves a smaller metro, is diesel powered and not through routed, it moves more people than SEPTA's electrified through-routed, bigger city system... go figure.
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:50 AM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,381 posts, read 22,636,067 times
Reputation: 4504
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post
Philly's SEPTA regional rail has so much potential to be a true metro/S-Bahn-type system -- it's totally electrified with a center city tunnel and through routing; plus the system interfaces pretty well with the city rail transit modes (like the Fern Rock Transp. Center connection btw the Broad Street Subway and the northern Reg. Rail lines... Unfortunately, SEPTA has held the system back from quality development. The ancient signal systems, from the Pennsy and Reading RRs, hold back the frequency and train speed. For example, trains creep along through Center City, as slow as 5-10 mph between 30th St. and Suburban Station, which is close to 1 mile. Also, train stations, though there's been some upgrading, are in hideous conditions in many cases, and low platforms should have been raised to level-car entry years ago (only a few non-downtown stations have this feature, and without it, boarding requires conductors and is very slow, and slows down train speeds considerably). Train frequency is generally only every 30 mins during rush hour; every hour for base/non-rush hour service... this includes lines that don't even leave the city, like the Fox Chase and Chestnut Hill lines (or barely leave it, like the Cynwyd line). This is inexcusable. Plus its ridiculously expensive... Bottom line is that SEPTA still runs the thing like a traditional American commuter train system where riders commute to downtown in the a.m. and go home in the evening. It's almost as if the Center City tunnel was a waste of time and money.

... compare Boston's T commuter rail -- even though it serves a smaller metro, is diesel powered and not through routed, it moves more people than SEPTA's electrified through-routed, bigger city system... go figure.
Not to mention cutting back half the Network from West Chester to Elywn , Newtown to Fox Chase , Reading to Norristown , Manayuk to Cynwyd , and Parkersburg to Thorndale....they need to restore those services which they've been promising since they first cut them. And yes they need to upgrade all there stations and service...
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Old 07-20-2012, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,023 posts, read 4,005,167 times
Reputation: 1373
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post
Philly's SEPTA regional rail has so much potential to be a true metro/S-Bahn-type system -- it's totally electrified with a center city tunnel and through routing; plus the system interfaces pretty well with the city rail transit modes (like the Fern Rock Transp. Center connection btw the Broad Street Subway and the northern Reg. Rail lines... Unfortunately, SEPTA has held the system back from quality development. The ancient signal systems, from the Pennsy and Reading RRs, hold back the frequency and train speed. For example, trains creep along through Center City, as slow as 5-10 mph between 30th St. and Suburban Station, which is close to 1 mile. Also, train stations, though there's been some upgrading, are in hideous conditions in many cases, and low platforms should have been raised to level-car entry years ago (only a few non-downtown stations have this feature, and without it, boarding requires conductors and is very slow, and slows down train speeds considerably). Train frequency is generally only every 30 mins during rush hour; every hour for base/non-rush hour service... this includes lines that don't even leave the city, like the Fox Chase and Chestnut Hill lines (or barely leave it, like the Cynwyd line). This is inexcusable. Plus its ridiculously expensive... Bottom line is that SEPTA still runs the thing like a traditional American commuter train system where riders commute to downtown in the a.m. and go home in the evening. It's almost as if the Center City tunnel was a waste of time and money.

... compare Boston's T commuter rail -- even though it serves a smaller metro, is diesel powered and not through routed, it moves more people than SEPTA's electrified through-routed, bigger city system... go figure.
It's hard to spend money on capital improvements when there's too many workers, all of whom have pensions and almost-free healthcare. The day Philadelphia is able to tell these pig unions what to go do with themselves, you'll instantly see improvements all over the city. The unions cripple the city, the school system, and the public transportation system.
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Old 07-20-2012, 07:05 AM
 
Location: On the Rails in Northern NJ
12,381 posts, read 22,636,067 times
Reputation: 4504
Quote:
Originally Posted by BPP1999 View Post
It's hard to spend money on capital improvements when there's too many workers, all of whom have pensions and almost-free healthcare. The day Philadelphia is able to tell these pig unions what to go do with themselves, you'll instantly see improvements all over the city. The unions cripple the city, the school system, and the public transportation system.
But the Unions didn't cause Septa to neglect and dismantle good working lines....it was management...
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:45 AM
 
11,016 posts, read 21,581,008 times
Reputation: 10641
Quote:
Originally Posted by HtownLove View Post
I can't understand all the bus hate on CD.

I love riding buses. Not as fancy as rail, but hey, it gets me to work a lot quicker than driving.
I've never noticed a huge hate for buses, but I guess I don't see them talked about much. Here the general concept is that people take buses if they're going somewhere local in their neighborhoods or east/west on the north side and south side of the city. People take trains if they're going across town or to work downtown in the morning/evening.

I enjoy the buses a lot, I take multiple every week going here and there around the north side. The buses are the backbone of everyday life here with over a million rides per day. Trains are the backbone of getting to work and back with about 725K rides a day. They're gonna have to do something about some of the lines though - the damn Red Line is so packed anymore I can barely get on in the morning or the evening.

I have to say people warmed up to the buses A LOT more after they put real-time trackers on all of them. Now I just pull my phone up and it tells me exactly where every bus in the city is right away. They also installed hundreds of electronic signs on bus shelters all over that tell you the next 5-6 buses that are arriving. Now I know if I should wait a few minutes to get a quick ride, wait it out if I'm going somewhere a mile or more away, or just forget the whole thing and walk/cab if the bus is going to be another 20 minutes for whatever reason (traffic delays, bunching, etc).

kinda funny sometimes to watch them crawl acros the city on the busy routes. Like the #8 or #9 on the map below:

http://www.ctabustracker.com/bustime/map/displaymap.jsp
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Old 07-20-2012, 08:58 AM
 
Location: In the heights
20,149 posts, read 21,752,589 times
Reputation: 10226
Quote:
Originally Posted by BPP1999 View Post
It's hard to spend money on capital improvements when there's too many workers, all of whom have pensions and almost-free healthcare. The day Philadelphia is able to tell these pig unions what to go do with themselves, you'll instantly see improvements all over the city. The unions cripple the city, the school system, and the public transportation system.
Maybe, but how do explain the ability of pig unions and the overall system of getting things done in France, Germany or Sweden?

I think the US is in-between the systems of Europe (lots of public funding for government works) and those of East Asia (lots of public-private partnerships with government-set baselines of service and inspection standards). The US kind of bungles in this middle ground fighting parts of one of the two systems and basically getting less done. The pig unions et al can do fine if there were actual available funding for these capital projects as well as funding for strong oversight. They can also be abolished if we made sure privatization wasn't as full of waste and cronyism. We can go either route--we just have to make sure we go with it rather than stomping on each other's heads to shift one direction or another.
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Old 07-20-2012, 09:08 AM
 
Location: In the heights
20,149 posts, read 21,752,589 times
Reputation: 10226
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheProf View Post
Philly's SEPTA regional rail has so much potential to be a true metro/S-Bahn-type system -- it's totally electrified with a center city tunnel and through routing; plus the system interfaces pretty well with the city rail transit modes (like the Fern Rock Transp. Center connection btw the Broad Street Subway and the northern Reg. Rail lines... Unfortunately, SEPTA has held the system back from quality development. The ancient signal systems, from the Pennsy and Reading RRs, hold back the frequency and train speed. For example, trains creep along through Center City, as slow as 5-10 mph between 30th St. and Suburban Station, which is close to 1 mile. Also, train stations, though there's been some upgrading, are in hideous conditions in many cases, and low platforms should have been raised to level-car entry years ago (only a few non-downtown stations have this feature, and without it, boarding requires conductors and is very slow, and slows down train speeds considerably). Train frequency is generally only every 30 mins during rush hour; every hour for base/non-rush hour service... this includes lines that don't even leave the city, like the Fox Chase and Chestnut Hill lines (or barely leave it, like the Cynwyd line). This is inexcusable. Plus its ridiculously expensive... Bottom line is that SEPTA still runs the thing like a traditional American commuter train system where riders commute to downtown in the a.m. and go home in the evening. It's almost as if the Center City tunnel was a waste of time and money.

... compare Boston's T commuter rail -- even though it serves a smaller metro, is diesel powered and not through routed, it moves more people than SEPTA's electrified through-routed, bigger city system... go figure.
Yea, I'm with you on the lost potential of the Regional Rail. I do think it's weird that the services don't go down to South Philly though--did they ever originally?

Also, I wonder how amazing Boston's lines would be if they were electrified and they actually made the through-routing happen between the North and South Station (with one or two stations in-between). Are there any vetted proposals out there for that?
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,023 posts, read 4,005,167 times
Reputation: 1373
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
But the Unions didn't cause Septa to neglect and dismantle good working lines....it was management...
You are right but maybe it's because management was too busy dealing with figuring out how to fund salaries, pensions, and healthcare for too many employees, and worrying about how to avert the next strike, and how to keep the union happy, etc, etc, etc.
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Old 07-21-2012, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,023 posts, read 4,005,167 times
Reputation: 1373
Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
Maybe, but how do explain the ability of pig unions and the overall system of getting things done in France, Germany or Sweden?

I think the US is in-between the systems of Europe (lots of public funding for government works) and those of East Asia (lots of public-private partnerships with government-set baselines of service and inspection standards). The US kind of bungles in this middle ground fighting parts of one of the two systems and basically getting less done. The pig unions et al can do fine if there were actual available funding for these capital projects as well as funding for strong oversight. They can also be abolished if we made sure privatization wasn't as full of waste and cronyism. We can go either route--we just have to make sure we go with it rather than stomping on each other's heads to shift one direction or another.
I can't really answer your question but from what I know there is tremendous labor strife in Europe.

You are probably right when you say the word "bungles" because that seems to be about all our political leaders (both sides) seem to have been able to do over the last quite a few years.
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Old 07-21-2012, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,271 posts, read 7,193,753 times
Reputation: 3965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey View Post
But the Unions didn't cause Septa to neglect and dismantle good working lines....it was management...
Unfortunately, you're right, and I think unions, while they can be unreasonable at times, are scapegoated way too much.

However, I think management has definitely turned the corner quite dramatically. Joseph Casey's recent efforts are a massive step in the right direction in terms of adding some desperately needed innovation and technological savvy. When the open fare system is fully implemented in a few years, I think that will galvanize many more people to utilize it.

Aside from local issues of mis-management, SEPTA has had a competitive disadvantage compared to other mass transit systems and "new starts." Unlike Chicago, New York, Boston, and DC; Philadelphia has had to contend with a state legislature that skews unfairly towards rural interests as well as competition from another sizable city (Pittsburgh). This has definitely led to a dearth of financial resources over the years.

Also, for a long time, the federal government has overwhelmingly favored "new start" systems over well-established systems, creating tons of deferred maintenance and a lack of ability to expand in older urban areas.

Eventually, once Congress has the gumption and smarts to actually invest more in viable public transportation systems, systems like SEPTA will benefit enormously in terms of being able to finally implement decades-old capital improvement projects that have thus far been pipe dreams.
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