SEPTA unveils new tool to help keep Norristown High-Speed Line running after heavy snowfall

Mike DeNardo
February 10, 2019 - 4:00 am
SEPTA Prime Mover

Courtesy of SEPTA

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Heavy snow does more than make roads slippery. It can pile up on rail tracks. But SEPTA now has a new weapon to keep one of its lines moving.  

The Norristown High Speed Line is especially susceptible to drifting snow because its tracks are on higher ground in Delaware and Montgomery Counties. Anything over eight inches would cover the electrified third rail, says SEPTA spokeswoman Carla Showell-Lee.
    
"Our only alternative, once the snow accumulated to a certain height and covered that third rail, we had to suspend service," Showell-Lee said. "So that caused a lot of hardship on both our customers and our crew."
    
But now SEPTA has a new $1.5 million rail vehicle that doubles as a plow for use on the Norristown High-Speed Line. Plus, it has air compressors that can blow snow away from the rails. 

"I'm sure our riders are going to appreciate this type of equipment that we're now using," Showell-Lee said. "Because it's going to keep them moving and it's going to keep our lines open. We won't have to suspend service."

When it is not snowing, the vehicle, called a Prime Mover, can be used to pick up and deliver materials for rail maintenance.