PlanPhilly

Equipment failure and a “loud bang” cause SEPTA riders to flee stopped Regional Rail train, shutting down Center City service

During rush hour Wednesday evening, SEPTA stopped all Regional Rail trains through Center City after some passengers on a stopped train jumped from it after hearing a loud bang.

According to SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch, the train stopped for a few minutes due to a power outage shortly after departing 30th Street Station on its way to Suburban. When power was restored, there was a loud bang. Passengers on the train, assuming the worst, self-evacuated onto the elevated tracks.

With dozens of people on the tracks, SEPTA shut down all train traffic through the area. That shut down all Regional Rail service in Center City and led to large delays throughout the regional rail network. SEPTA resumed services about an hour after the incident, but delays ongoing delays are expected throughout the evening.

Busch said there were no injuries reported. Some passengers reportedly yelled “fire” after hearing the bang, but Busch said there was no actual fire. Reports from the scene estimated around 200 passengers were on the train at the time of the incident.

It appears that the riders may have assumed the worst after the loud booming sound. The incident comes just a few days after a train bombing in London injured 23 passengers. SEPTA has also suffered from a string of derailments and crashes in recent months, which may have also put riders on edge, even though no life-threatening injuries were sustained in those incidents.

SEPTAs Regional Rail trains usually travel through Center City — a train from the Airport, for example, may then continue onto West Trenton — so shutting down service between 30th Street and Suburban caused a ripple effect of delays throughout the network.

About the author

Jim Saksa, Interim Managing Editor

Jim Saksa is PlanPhilly's multi-modal transportation reporter and interim managing editor. As a reporter, he's focused on how Philly gets bikes, walks, drives, rolls, and rides around the region. 

Jim lives in Point Breeze and has also written for Slate, Philadelphia City Paper, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Technical.ly Philly. He tweets @Saksappeal and you can reach him at jsaksa@whyy.org.



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