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SEPTA SAYS RAILWORKS WORKED WELL THIS MORNING

             SEPTA SAYS RAILWORKS WORKED WELL THIS MORNING
    PHILADELPHIA, April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- SEPTA made the following


report regarding the RailWorks operation for this morning (April 6):
    First, SEPTA said, every one of the regional railroad trains coming into Center City or into the new Fern Rock Transportation Center this morning operated on time.  In fact, of the morning's total of 135 inbound and outbound peak period trains 134 were on time.  Only one train, a Route R5 local from Fern Rock to Lansdale, was late arriving in Lansdale -- by six minutes.
    SEPTA said that the Broad Street Line also operated on time as expected, so there were no problems with making connections between railroad and subway trains at Fern Rock.  One minor difficulty noticed at Fern Rock was that many riders hurried from their railroad trains and anxiously boarded waiting subway trains by the first open doors they came to.  This filled the last two cars of the five-car trains while there was plenty of space up front.  Once commuters have done it a couple of times, SEPTA predicted, they will know how much time they have to board and will move farther up the trains.
    One statistic that was immediately available this morning was a passenger count at Fern Rock.  SEPTA said that 5,150 individual riders transferred between railroad and subway trains during the peak period, and that 450 went the other way ("reverse commuters") for a total of 5,600.  This is about 61 percent of the combined non-RailWorks ridership on Routes R2 Warminster, R3 West Trenton and R5 Lansdale-Doylestown on an average weekday.
    While passenger counts at Fern Rock were relatively easy to come by, statistics on other services -- particularly alternative railroad Routes R7 Trenton and R8 Chestnut Hill West, plus the various RailWorks express bus routes -- were not yet available, SEPTA said.
    SEPTA cautioned that the real test will come this afternoon when railroad commuters start their homebound trips from the end most of them are least familiar with.  Many riders will be entering the system for the first time ever at Center City Broad Street Line stations -- Walnut- Locust, City Hall and Race Vine -- and at the subway's Broad-Ridge Spur stations at 8th and Market streets and 8th and Race streets (Chinatown Station).  Other people will be looking for their express buses along Market Street, or boarding Market-Frankford Line trains headed toward 69th Street Terminal or Frankford Terminal.
    SEPTA said it will be compiling statistics as the days and weeks pass, looking for an indication of the impact on ridership and rider satisfaction.
    Leroy Howell, SEPTA's manager of RailWorks Communications, said he was encouraged by this morning's experience.  "The central fact of RailWorks," Howell said, "is that the construction must be done.  We think that most of our riders understand and accept that fact.  And because they do understand, they will be able to adjust in a positive way.  We think they're already discovering that the reality is a lot easier to handle than they had imagined.  Obviously, we're hoping that the wait-and-see riders will get the word and give our alternatives a try."
    /delval/
    -0-                       4/6/92
    /CONTACT:  SEPTA Press Relations, 215-580-7842/ C-Help-lending
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 6, 1992
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