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One of SEPTA's Silverliner V rail carsPhoto: SEPTA
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) plans to begin returning its fleet of Silverliner V commuter-rail cars to service in late August, the agency announced yesterday.The units will resume service following repairs to address a structural defect in their suspension systems.Starting Aug. 21, 10 cars will be put into service each week. All 120 Silverliner Vs are expected to be back in service by the week of Nov. 6, SEPTA officials said in a press release.During inspections last month, the agency found fatigue cracks — most "hairline-sized" — in the equalizer beams on 115 of the 120 units, agency officials said. The equalizer beams are part of the rail-car suspension system and distribute the weight of the vehicle to its axles.
Rail-car manufacturer Hyundai Rotem will work with SEPTA to replace all equalizer beams on the rail cars.All vehicles were taken out of service July 1.To determine the cause of the cracks, SEPTA staff carried out an "exhaustive investigation," including computer modeling and metallurgical testing. In addition, one Silverliner V was field tested using an intricate system of sensors to better understand the stress placed on equalizer beams.At a press conference yesterday, SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel said that the cracks formed as a result of a poorly designed weld that attached a plate to the main body of the beam, according to a philly.com report.Agency officials will decide by tomorrow the replacement equalizer beam's final design, SEPTA officials said.