SEPTA surging extra service to to West Trenton Line and other routes to accommodate displaced NEC riders

SEPTA announced Wednesday evening that it would be moving trains and buses to Northeast Philadelphia and Bucks County to meet increased demand on parallel routes, in the wake of service suspensions after the derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional 188.

The centerpiece of the new plan is a near-doubling of service on the West Trenton Line. Free NJT-operated bus shuttles will connect Trenton Transit Center and West Trenton Station throughout the day.. Additionally, Route 14 bus service has been augmented, bus shuttles are running from Cornwells Heights to Frankford TC, and auxiliary parking lots near some stations have been opened. Details of the emergency plan are available on SEPTA’s website.

Most of the new West Trenton trains are expresses, running nonstop between Bethayres and Fern Rock TC, and running with D-stops between Bethayres and West Trenton. That is SEPTA-ese for “we don’t know how well these trains will hold a schedule, so show up a bit early and forgive us if we’re late.”

Amtrak riders can have their tickets cross-honored on the West Trenton Line, as well as the NJT bus shuttle, meaning both detour routes from New York to Philadelphia are fully cross-honoring Amtrak fares.

This comes after SEPTA ran longer trains and unscheduled extra trains on Wednesday to cope with the crowding. This new level of service is possible in part because the equipment normally assigned to the Trenton Line would otherwise be sitting idle, while SEPTA and Amtrak wait for the investigators to finish collecting evidence at Frankford Junction. Only in the off-peak hours does SEPTA have the equipment to run more trains under normal circumstances.

It is expected to be sometime next week before trains run can run on the Trenton Line again, and it is possible that the first hours or days after the reopening will only have one or two tracks available, in which case Amtrak may keep the limited operating slots for its own trains.

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  1. FYI: NJ Transit is cross honoring Amtrak and SEPTA Trenton tickets on the RiverLine. PATCO was honoring Amtrak and NJTransit ACL, and has now added SEPTA TRE. Only hitch there…Center City stations are rarely/never staffed, so I’m not sure how they plan to do the cross-honoring. I paid for PATCO this morning since I used to do PATCO–> RiverLine and am familiar with the stations. Planning to give the NJTransit (??? why does SEPTA not run this ??) shuttle from Trenton Transit Center to West Trenton a try this evening.

    1. I’m not sure of the exact mechanics of the PATCO cross-honoring either. I know that in much smaller-scale emergencies, the mechanism has been help phones inside fare control, but given the scale of this I hope there is at least one actual live human on-site at 8th/Market.

      NJT is running the Trenton-West Trenton shuttle because it’s their turf, not SEPTA’s. (SEPTA has a dedicated subsidiary/shell corporation to maintain the legal right to run buses across the border into NJ, but I don’t think that extends to a bus route that is entirely in NJ.) It’s not the greatest answer, but it is an answer. In fairness, NJT is probably in a better position to run the shuttles than SEPTA is.

      1. Ah, I see. I guess the jurisdiction thing makes sense since the buses are going point to point within NJ. I’m thinking the PATCO to RiverLine option is the best, but I’m going to try West Trenton anyway since the PATCO evening bridge work Westbound schedules are pretty bad. No one wants to spend half an hour hanging out in a dank subway station in Camden.

        1. Hey, Broadway in Camden isn’t dank! (But I can understand not wanting to spend half an hour hanging out in any station.)
          BTW, Michael, is that the Shore Interlocking curve in question, pictured as the header of your blog, above?

          1. With respect, I think most all subway stations are pretty dank, but PATCO indeed keeps their dank stations particularly clean.

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