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Rail News: Passenger Rail

SEPTA gears up for $100 million trolley improvement project

Next week, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will begin a $100 million modernization program for two trolley routes.

Construction along the Media and Sharon Hill trolley lines will begin June 12 and continue through September, SEPTA officials said in a press release.

Upgrades to the lines will include grade crossing renewals, track replacement, general bridge structure repairs, replacement of overhead trolley wire, vegetation clearing and installation of new trolley wire support structures.

SEPTA will temporarily shut down the routes for the renovations. During that time, the agency will begin the early action phase of installing a communications based train control (CBTC) system, which utilizes radio communications between vehicles and signal systems to improve safety, according to Jeff Kneuppel, the agency's deputy general manager.

The train control system is expected to be completed by summer 2018, and will include upgraded track crossovers for improved reliability and operational flexibility, SEPTA officials said. The early action phase will begin with the replacement of certain track crossovers at the Drexel Hill Junction on the Media line.

"CBTC automatically prevents collisions between trolleys by enforcing safe stopping distances," Kneuppel said. "The system also prevents trolleys from exceeding established speed limits."

Funded by Pennsylvania Act 89, the trolley modernization venture is one of many improvement projects SEPTA is undertaking for Delaware County, Pa, agency officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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