Slideshow 01/23: SEPTA Broad St Subway northbound at City Hall. Photos: Ron Yee

SEPTA Fern Rock Shop Tour

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Slideshow 01/39: Additional highlights from this year’s tour of the SEPTA Fern Rock Maintenance Yard and Shop in Philadelphia. Photos: Dennis Furbush

On Saturday, April 16, 2016, the ERA conducted an excursion via chartered bus to visit Philadelphia where the group rode SEPTA’s Broad Street Subway (Orange Line) from City Hall to Fern Rock, then toured their Fern Rock Shops followed by a ride on New Jersey Transit’s River Line from the Pennsauken-Route 73 station northward to Trenton. On the way back to NYC, the group had dinner at a classic New Jersey diner, Mastori’s.

A great time was had by all and the weather was perfect. On behalf of the attendees, many thanks and appreciation to ERA treasurer and trip organizer Mike Glikin for running a great trip.

The group rode a chartered bus that brought them to the SEPTA headquarters at 1234 Market Street in downtown Philadelphia and was given a presentation on SEPTA’s history, present services and future plans. It was revealed that the agency has ordered 13 ACS-64 electric locomotives from Siemens (for $118 million) to replace their aging AEM-7 units and sole ALP-44 unit. Included in the contract with Siemens is an option for five additional units, potentially bringing the total purchase to 18 locomotives. SEPTA also has a request for proposal out for the purchase of 45 multi-level push-pull coaches, 11 cab control coaches and 34 coaches with an option for 10 additional coaches. No mention was made of replacing the Silverliner IV EMU’s.

Mention was also made of the progress with implementing their KEY Card and system, SEPTA’s future contactless fare collection system which will utilize “Tap and Go” technology for SEPTA issued farecards as well as with select credit cards, debit cards and smartphones to pay fares aboard all SEPTA transit vehicles ranging from buses, streetcars, light rail, subways and elevated trains, and regional rail. Plans are in place to introduce the KEY Card for weekly and monthly users as early as June 13, 2016.

Afterward, the group visited the SEPTA store in the lobby of 1234 Market Street and took a brief lunch break at the former Reading Terminal across the street. After lunch, the group was given a ride on the Broad Street (Orange Line) Subway from City Hall to its northern terminus at Fern Rock. In the City Hall station, the group saw one of the new ticket vending machines for the upcoming KEY Cards.

At Fern Rock, the group was given a comprehensive tour of the carbarn as well as the shop facilities where wheel truing, axle and wheel-set replacement, traction motor, wheel bearing and gearbox replacement and general servicing facilities including periodic inspections and car cleaning. Our hosts at SEPTA explained the technical features of the Kawasaki-built Orange Line cars that date back to 1981. SEPTA plans to put out a request for bid for a contractor to rebuild the cars with AC propulsion, replace major components and refurbish the carfleet. SEPTA feels that they will get more bang for the buck by not ordering a new generation of cars estimated to cost approximately $2.2 million per car, preferring to rebuild the fleet at an estimated cost of $800,000 per car, since the stainless steel car bodies appear to have plenty of structural life remaining in them.

After the shop tour concluded, a brief bus ride brought the group along Roosevelt Road and across the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge to the NJT River Line’s Pennsauken-Route 73 station where everyone rode aboard Stadler (Swiss)-built DMU #3510 northward to Trenton to conclude the rail portion of the trip.

Fern Rock Transportation Center. Google Maps

The ERA is pleased to announce a trip to the SEPTA system on April 16, 2016 for a guided tour of Fern Rock Maintenance Yard and Shop.

We will depart New York at 8:30 AM via chartered coach from 8th Avenue and 41st Street, across the street from Port Authority Bus Terminal and in front of the New York Times Building. We will make another pick-up stop at Metropark, New Jersey at approximately 9:00 AM and then continue to Philadelphia. Our expected arrival time at 1234 Market Street is 11:00 AM

Following our arrival, we will visit the SEPTA store along with the PCC car display, and then have ample time for a lunch break at the Reading Terminal Market. We’ll regroup at 1:00 PM and will then take the Broad Street subway (SEPTA) to Fern Rock station. A SEPTA representative will escort us to the yard for our tour.

The Fern Rock Yard is the main yard and shop for the Broad Street subway and is at the north end of the line. Maintenance functions include heavy overhauls, routine maintenance and repair to various subway rolling stock such as the Kawasaki B-VIs. There are two storage yards for trainsets as well as a maintenance-of-way yard.


Our chartered coach will take us to the Aquarium station in Camden after the tour. We will take the New Jersey Transit River Line light rail system to Trenton, all the while enjoying the scenery of the Delaware River running alongside the right-of-way. At Trenton, our chartered coach will pick us up for the return trip to New York City. Our dinner stop at 6:30 PM will be at Mastoris Diner in Bordentown, New Jersey. Our expected arrival time in New York City will be 10:00 PM.

Ticket Price: $69

The ticket price for the chartered bus, shop tour and River Line fare is $69. Meals are not included in this price. Please book your tickets ASAP! This tour will sell out fast. For further information, please contact Robert Colorafi.

Ticket Order Form

F Facebook

Created in 2011 by Philip Hom, our Facebook page is the place to go for the latest news from ERA members.

T Twitter

Our frequently updated Twitter feed is written by Alexander ‘Sasha’ Ivanoff, a contributing editor to the Bulletin.

Y YouTube

Fascinating member videos, including some of our monthly meetings, can be watched on our YouTube channel.

I Issuu

Every back issue since 2002 of the Bulletin and previews of Headlights since 1996 can be found on our Issuu page.

S Search