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Reader Letters

R5 Update
I enjoyed “Where the Tracks Lie” [January 2008]. And since Jim Waltzer cited me as a source, I would like to offer some additional information.

While SEPTA maintains that it cannot design a bi-level (double-deck) commuter car because of restricted clearances in the Center City rail tunnel, New Jersey Transit now operates bi-level cars measuring 14 feet 6 inches above the rail, which is within the maximum 4-foot-8-inch clearance in the Amtrak tunnels to Penn Station in New York City. SEPTA’s overhead clearance leading to the Philadelphia commuter rail tunnel is 14 feet 9 inches, and clearance in the tunnel itself is 15 feet—both of which are more generous than in the New York tunnels.

Bi-level cars, therefore, are feasible here, but SEPTA instead signed up for 120 new Silverliner V single-level cars. SEPTA currently operates seven train sets with electric locomotives and unpowered coaches, which could be converted to bi-level equipment if necessary.

One minor correction to the article: The original Main Line of Public Works, opened in 1834, extended from Philadelphia to Columbia, not Harrisburg. Passen- gers and freight were handled in canal boats from Columbia to Hollidaysburg en route to Pittsburgh.

Frank G. Tatnall
Radnor

CORRECTION
Herb Engelsberg took the photos in April’s “Earth Friendly” Habitat feature.


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Send them to: Post, Main Line Today, 4699 West Chester Pike, Newtown Square, PA 19073
E-mail: hrowland@mainlinetoday.com

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