Home News SEPTA aims to buy new trolley barn, after Amazon outbid on first location

SEPTA aims to buy new trolley barn, after Amazon outbid on first location

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SEPTA is negotiating the purchase of a Southwest Philadelphia industrial lot worth $21.8 million for critical maintenance barns that will be moved to modernize Philadelphia’s trolley system.

The deal comes about 18 months after the program was derailed. Amazon Surpasses SEPTA As for the Elmwood Avenue site, the Department of Transportation believed it had secured the headquarters for a new fleet of large light rail vehicles to replace today’s 40-year-old Kawasaki minecarts.

The SEPTA board has approved the purchase of 13.52 acres of land and a former steel mill near Bertram’s Gardens at 5100 Grays Avenue. National Route 36 Torokko Lineruns from Center City to Eastwick.

“Everything seemed to be going well,” says Dennis Stefanski, Engineer and Senior Project Manager for Trolley Modernization. “It met many of our selection criteria.”

First, he said, unlike some facilities SEPTA has scouted further south of Eastwick, this location is not in a flood zone. Located in an industrial area, there are few residential properties nearby.

The existing building is also robust and has a vast interior, including a crane, says Stefanski. SEPTA plans to reclaim approximately 65% ​​of the building to form the core of the heavy maintenance facility.

“The skeleton of the building is wonderful,” he said.

Additional Benefits: This facility is centrally located and relatively close to the 40th Street portal to the trolley tunnel to Center City and can be used to deploy at least some of the fleet. Trolleys now depart from several stations in the city.

Stefanski said it would help “load the line and get the truck out during the morning commute.”

” read more: Amazon got the land SEPTA wanted. Will the much-needed dolly upgrade be delayed?

SEPTA officials negotiated with owners to purchase two nearby scrap yards for use as rail yards and employee parking. Stefanski said the main property will be screened from a compact residential neighborhood to the south.

estimated $2 billion SEPTA trolley plan It envisions fewer stops at fixed stations, along with new fast and accessible trams that can comfortably carry up to 100 people, compared to the current model’s capacity of 75.

The updated cars also eliminated steep stairs and narrow doors, making trolley rides nearly impossible for many people with disabilities, making it difficult to travel with children or carry luggage. increase.

For about ten years, SEPTA had plans to purchase 29 acres of abandoned industrial land at 6901 Elmwood Avenue. Once a General Electric factory site, it was used as the site of a trolley heavy maintenance facility. It offered $5.7 million.

The property owner rejected the SEPTA bid after Amazon showed interest and offered several times the price. The e-retail giant said it plans to build a “last mile” warehouse on the land.

The agency’s board has moved to obtain eminent domain, allowing government agencies to pay fair market prices for real estate needed for public projects. SEPTA management did not pursue that route. That’s because Amazon’s interest drove prices exponentially, and a court likely ordered them to pay more than his $5.7 million, CEO Leslie S. Richards said at the time.

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