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New PATCO Schedule Effective Friday, 5/30
Continuous 24/7 Ben Franklin Bridge Track Outage Begins
Beginning with the morning rush hour on Friday, May 30th. PATCO trains will be running a revised schedule as the PATCO South Track Outage phase of the $103 million rail rehabilitation project gets underway.
This new schedule will be in place for approximately two months during phase one of the Ben Franklin Bridge Rail Rehabilitation Project and is designed to minimize construction-related, rush-hour congestion. Phase two of construction will begin at the end of August and last for another two months.
During these two phases, there will be schedule changes, service delays, crowded trains and lane closures on the Ben Franklin Bridge.
Early on Friday, the PATCO tracks on the south side of the Ben Franklin Bridge will be continuously closed (24-hours a day, 7-days a week) for approximately two months. During these bridge rail track outages, PATCO passengers may face periodic, scheduled 30-minute gaps in train service, although some trains will continue to run every five minutes.
Passengers are advised to consult the updated PATCO schedule which is now available at all PATCO stations and online at www.ridepatco.org.
The gaps will result from "car stacking" at PATCO's terminal stations. In order to move passengers as quickly as possible during periods of peak demand, PATCO will accumulate - or "stack" - rail cars in Lindenwold to prepare for the morning rush hour and in Philadelphia to prepare for the evening rush hour. After trains reach the end of the line, some empty cars will be express-routed back to their starting points in order to complete rush-hour service.
PATCO will run alternating eastbound and westbound trains across the bridge on one track instead of two tracks. This will result in delays, extended gaps in service and increased time intervals between departures and arrivals at all stations. Additional trains will be available to move rush-hour passengers westbound toward Philadelphia in the morning and eastbound toward New Jersey in the evenings.
"We’re truly sorry for the inconvenience this construction will cause our transit and bridge customers. But we need to get this project done and get the PATCO tracks on the bridge replaced. They’re at the end of their useful life. It will definitely be challenging for our customers during the next few months,” says DRPA CEO and PATCO President John T. Hanson.
In addition to the gaps, PATCO passengers and DRPA bridge customers may notice other construction-related service irregularities:
The first one or two trains to leave station platforms after a rush-hour service gap are likely to be more crowded than usual, with the likelihood that passengers might need to stand. The crowding will increase as those trains pick up passengers at stations down the line. Passengers will find the 2nd or 3rd trains after a service gap to be less crowded.
- During these outages, a system-wide train delay caused by a malfunction could cause delays to last longer than when both tracks across the bridge are open.
- Reverse commuters may notice empty trains passing them. That’s because PATCO must return some empty trains to their starting points as quickly as possible in order to transport the largest number of rush-hour passengers.
- During gaps in service, rush-hour commuters may have to wait for as long as 26 minutes for the next train in the prevailing direction and 40 minutes in the reverse-commute direction.
Revised train schedules are available in stations and online at www.ridepatco.org.
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