Advanced tips for how to get in and out of Center City during the SEPTApocalypse: Media-Elwyn Line

After two days of travel woes due to the Silverliner V crisis, some patterns have been established in terms of where the worst delays are, and how best to avoid them.  This series will be a listing of the best strategies to avoid the worst.

These will all assume an origin or destination in or beyond Center City Philadelphia. Directions will be for inbound travel, and will be reversible unless noted.  There will be some assumption made that money is available to exchange for time and/or comfort.

Wallingford and west

Stations west of Swarthmore are already being bustituted for the Crum Creek Viaduct replacement project; the reduction in trains to Swarthmore is just heaping one tribulation on another.  If the prospect of a shuttle bus to an overcrowded train does not appeal, the 101 trolley is the best alternative. The trolley can be reached on foot on State Street from Media or Moylan-Rose Valley, or driven to at Springfield Mall, the most underrated park-and-ride in SEPTAland even in the best of times.

The 111 express bus is another underrated alternative for Elwyn riders, but the best place to park-and-ride for it was Granite Run Mall, and having not been there since the mall was closed and demolished, I cannot give good advice as to how to ride it.

Swarthmore

The 109 bus is a decent option in its own right for reaching 69th Street, or it can be used to connect to the 101 at Springfield Mall, or the 102 at Baltimore Avenue in Clifton Heights.  Be aware that the buses stop on the south side of the mall, and the trolleys stop at the northeast corner of the property.

Clifton-Aldan through Morton

Switching to the 102 at Clifton-Aldan is not the fastest strategy, but if your train is dangerously crowded, it’s not the worst idea.  From Clifton-Aldan itself, it might be a superior option just on wait time.

Inner stations

Lansdowne has three bus options (109 to 69th Street, 113 to 69th Street, 113 to Darby TC), one of which should be approaching at any given time.  Fernwood-Yeadon has the 108, again in both directions, and eastern parts of Yeadon borough may be walkable to subway-surface trolleys 34, 13, or 11.  If you are one of the few dozen non-reverse-commute riders from Angora and 49th Street, congratulations on finding my blog, it’s an honor to have such a rare visitor as yourself, now please take the 34 or 13 trolley, respectively.  Unless you need level-boarding for accessibility reasons from 49th, in which case, take the 64 bus to 46th Street Station MFL, which is inconvenient but will at least physically allow you on board.

Wednesday morning service disrupted on PATCO and SEPTA after storm

The violent thunderstorm that swept over Greater Philadelphia Tuesday evening, disrupting all modes of travel during the evening rush, has apparently let the magic smoke out of at least six area rail lines. The most serious outage is PATCO, which is entirely without electric power and does not expect restoration until after the morning rush.

New Jersey Transit buses will have three extra burdens this morning, since in addition to cross-honoring PATCO fares and contending with detours around storm-damaged roads, they will be carrying passengers from the Atlantic City line, which also remains suspended. NJT has, in its usual inimitable way, been less communicative about what is wrong with the ACRL and when they expect it to be fixed. The only statement that affirmatively said that service would remain bustituted through the morning was a tweeted @-reply:

And on the PA side of the river, SEPTA is reporting that the Media/Elwyn and Fox Chase Lines are out entirely, the Paoli/Thorndale Line is out west of Malvern, and the Norristown High Speed Line will be suspended between Norristown and Radnor. The NHSL outage is the only one that has been definitively stated that it will last through the morning. Also, bus routes may be on detour due to debris. As usual, the most up-to-date information can be found on SEPTA’s eye-bleedingly designed system status page.

Weekend Update, October 5-6

Happy weekend! With everybody’s attention riveted to the ongoing Federal Government Shutdown, here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to distract yourself with a day out this weekend.

  • Lansdale/Doylestown is bustituting between Lansdale and Doylestown for catenary work. Shuttle bus schedule here. This is third of seven planned work weekends.
  • Media/Elwyn is once again massively upgescrewed. On Saturday:
    • Trains will be operating on the inbound track only between 49th Street and Secane (inclusive), and will be operating on altered schedules, until 6:00pm. Evening service will be unaffected.
    • Inbound trains (before 6:00p) will run between 9 and 14 minutes later. Outbound trains (before 6:00p) will run between 21 and 14 minutes earlier. Consult SEPTA’s schedules for exact times.
    • Train #7303, the first outbound departure Saturday morning, is cancelled.

    On Sunday:

    • Due to emergency repairs to the Crum Creek Viaduct, instead of replicating the Saturday changes as planned, Sunday will instead feature bustitution west of Morton Station.
    • Inbound shuttle buses from Elwyn will run bewteen 25 and 13 minutes earlier than normal schedule, and inbound trains will leave Morton 5 minutes early before resuming normal schedules at Secane.
    • Outbound trains will arrive at Morton 5 minutes later than normal, and shuttle buses will leave 5 minutes after that. Outbound shuttle buses will run between 14 and 25 minutes later than scheduled times.
    • The repairs to Crum Creek Viaduct are spot repairs intended to forestall immediate closure of the bridge, and will not affect the scheduled 2015 closure of that bridge in the absence of subsequent major investment.
  • Chestnut Hill East, which runs through with Media/Elwyn on weekends, is getting follow-on disruption. On Saturday, inbound trains will run 21 minutes earlier, and outbound trains will run 14 minutes later, until about 6:30pm.
  • SEPTA City Bus routes 2, 5, 23, 26, 27, 32, 37, 38, 43, 47, 47M, 48, 53, 54, 55, 68, 77, G, K, H, and XH all have posted detours. SEPTA’s system alert page was malfunctioning when I tried to pull details of any of those detours.
  • SEPTA Suburban Bus routes 94, 95, 103, 113, 129, and 139 all have posted detours. Again, SEPTA’s system alert page was down and details were unavailable.
  • Trackwork on PATCO is resulting in adjusted schedules, but no closures, on Saturday and Sunday.

Weekend Update

Happy weekend! Pennsylvania’s SB1 Transportation funding bill may be back from the dead; I’ll have more by tomorrow morning, or you can look in on the Pittsburgh Comet or Keystone Politics for the fast update, or if you’ve forgotten what SB1 actually does, there’s the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from June.

Meanwhile, we have a big weekend of construction and disruption around the weekend to look forward to. Here’s the roundup:

  • Lansdale/Doylestown is bustituting between Lansdale and Doylestown for catenary work. Shuttle bus schedule here. This is second of seven planned work weekends.
  • Media/Elwyn is a hot mess. On Saturday:
    • Trains will be operating on the outbound track only between 49th Street and Secane (inclusive), and will be operating on altered schedules, until 6:00pm. Evening service will be unaffected.
    • Inbound trains (before 6:00p) will run between 9 and 14 minutes later. Outbound trains (before 6:00p) will run between 21 and 14 minutes earlier. Consult SEPTA’s schedules for exact times.
    • Train #7303, the first outbound departure Saturday morning, is cancelled.

    On Sunday:

    • Due to emergency repairs to the Crum Creek Viaduct, instead of replicating the Saturday changes as planned, Sunday will instead feature bustitution west of Morton Station.
    • Inbound shuttle buses from Elwyn will run bewteen 25 and 13 minutes earlier than normal schedule, and inbound trains will leave Morton 5 minutes early before resuming normal schedules at Secane.
    • Outbound trains will arrive at Morton 5 minutes later than normal, and shuttle buses will leave 5 minutes after that. Outbound shuttle buses will run between 14 and 25 minutes later than scheduled times.
    • The repairs to Crum Creek Viaduct are spot repairs intended to forestall immediate closure of the bridge, and will not affect the scheduled 2015 closure of that bridge in the absence of subsequent major investment.
  • Chestnut Hill East, which runs through with Media/Elwyn on weekends, is getting follow-on disruption. On Saturday, inbound trains will run 21 minutes earlier, and outbound trains will run 14 minutes later, until about 6:30pm.
  • SEPTA City Bus routes 7, 39, and 54 will return to their newly-reconstructed homes at 33rd and Dauphin Loop at 5:00a Sunday morning. This will conclude the 13-month reconstruction process for that facility.
  • SEPTA City Bus routes 39, 47, 54, 56, 57, 60, and 89 will be detoured for the Puerto Rican Day Parade on Sunday. This map gives the best summary of all the extensive changes.
  • Atlantic City Line will be bustituted between Philadelphia and Cherry Hill on Saturday, 7:00am to 3:00pm, for an emergency preparedness drill in Pennsauken. Tellingly, the shuttle bus operation is not expected to take any more time than is scheduled between Cherry Hill and 30th Street.
  • Trackwork on PATCO is resulting in adjusted schedules, but no closures, on Saturday and Sunday.
  • Eight NJT 400-series Bus Routes are disrupted by street repair in Camden near Walter Rand until Tuesday.
  • Amtrak service on the Northeast Corridor is thoroughly boned by ConEd’s mishap restricting electrical power to Metro North in Westchester County. Trains originating and terminating in New York ought to be unaffected, but trains running through the affected area to/from Boston will see either delays or cancellations. Acela Express service is not running between New York and Boston until at least Monday, maybe later; Northeast Regional service is being towed through the affected areas by diesel locomotives. We expect to hear more on Sunday, but the prognosis from ConEd has been grim.