SEPTA recently announced a plan to assume a regular Regional Train schedule this fall. This return to a full schedule is the culmination of an effort to replace cracked equalizer beams in nearly 120 rail cars. The cracks, discovered by a SEPTA inspector, are the result of design flaws in a specific part and could have posed serious risk of injury to riders. The cars in need of repair account for almost a third of SEPTA’s fleet. Philadelphia SEPTA accident lawyers report that SEPTA will lease cars from other companies while its damaged cars are being repaired.
The Importance of Fatigue Testing
Fatigue testing is used to simulate the pressure that years of repeated stress would apply to a particular part of equipment. Fatigue testing prior to use ensures that a part can withstand the potential pressure and is essentially safe for public use. The Federal Railroad Administration requires SEPTA to submit a plan to test all new vehicles before they hit the railway. Neither SEPTA nor the manufacturer of the cars, Hyundai Rotem, have explained why these parts were not adequately tested.
If the defective parts had undergone fatigue testing prior to use, they may never have been used. In that case, the revenue and ridership losses could have been avoided. More importantly, the danger to the public posed by the faulty parts would have been eliminated.
The process of determining whether Hyundai Rotem or its subcontractors are responsible for the defective automotive part is ongoing. SEPTA and Hyundai Rotem will also need to resolve who will incur the costs of leasing cars, refunding passengers who could not be accommodated due to the abbreviated schedule, replacing parts, and possibly supplementing railway transportation with busses. Estimates are that it will take SEPTA up to four years to regain the riders lost when the cars in question were eliminated from the schedule. Thankfully the defects were caught before any serious personal injuries occurred.
Philadelphia SEPTA Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Protect SEPTA Passengers When Equipment Fails
People who use public transportation trust that the equipment has been inspected, is safe, and routinely maintained. When that equipment is defective or fails for some reason, people can get hurt. Philadelphia SEPTA accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law represent those who have been injured through no fault of their own. Call our Cherry Hill offices at 856-414-0010 or our Philadelphia offices at 215-426-4493 to discuss you case. You can also utilize our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.