By Anthony Campisi
As shipments of Silverliner V regional rail car shells make it here from Korea next month, it will mark SEPTA’s first major rail procurement in nearly 30 years.
SEPTA is hoping that the new cars will herald a better rider experience and help meet its growing ridership needs, adding about 4,200 additional seats to the current regional rail capacity.
But rail advocates worry that SEPTA’s decision to sell off the older cars for scrap could put it in a bind if the Silverliner Vs have any manufacturing problems.
The authority has purchased 120 Silverliner Vs to replace 73 older Silverliner II and III cars, some of which date back to the 1960s. They point to brake problems that the Acela Express cars have experienced, which forced Amtrak to take them out of service in 2002 and 2005, and the fact that SEPTA has gone such a long time without designing and procuring a new class of rail cars.