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First Silverliner V cars land in South Philly

The first three completed Silverliner V Regional Rail Cars landed in Philadelphia this past Sunday, marking a major milestone in the project to replace SEPTA's oldest passenger rail cars currently in service, the Examiner reports.

The unloading of the cars at Packer Avenue Marine Terminal marked the end of a two-month-long journey from the Hyundai Rotem manufacturing plant in Korea to Philadelphia aboard the freighter Wladyslaw Orkan. After a brief ceremony with officials from SEPTA, Hyundai Rotem, and Holt Logistics Corp., which unloaded the cars, the three pilot cars were loaded onto flatbed trailers for a journey by truck to SEPTA's Roberts Yard.

There the cars will be inspected and tested to make sure their electrical, cab signaling, mechanical and other systems work properly. The first of the pilot cars made the road trip today; the other two will follow later in the week.

Motorists using Roosevelt Boulevard, the Schuylkill Expressway and other arteries along the route can expect delays while the cars are being transported.

Nine shells also made the trip along with the three pilot cars. The shells will be mounted on undercarriages for final assembly at Hyundai Rotem's new US assembly plant near the Packer Avenue terminal.

"So much effort, planning and design has gone into the production of these new Regional Rail cars," said SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey. "To see this project go from concept to delivery of the pilot cars is tremendous."

SEPTA has ordered a total of 120 Silverliner V cars to replace 90 Silverliner II and III cars, some of which have been in service for nearly 40 years.

The new cars are fully compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility requirements and boast larger windows, wider aisles, more comfortable seating, and the latest in climate control technology.

SEPTA expects the first cars to enter revenue service later this year.

(This item appeared in the Examiner March 4, 2010.)

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