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Rail News: Passenger Rail

SEPTA OKs sustainability projects


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s (SEPTA) board last week approved two sustainability projects aimed at reducing energy consumption.

The first project is an $18.2 million energy retrofit of some rail cars and five bus and rail facilities with high-efficiency technologies. The project calls for improvements such as LED lighting, building insulation, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) controls.

Rail cars to undergo improvements include the N-5 fleet on the Norristown High Speed Line, the B-IV fleet on the Broad Street Line, and the Silverliner and push-pull fleets on the agency's regional rail system.

In total, the upgrades are expected to generate more than $26 million in energy savings over 17 years, SEPTA officials said in a news release.

The second project calls for building a $26.8 million natural gas plant to power part of SEPTA's regional rail system, as well as the agency's largest bus garage. This project will be financed entirely through energy savings guaranteed to SEPTA under the Pennsylvania Guaranteed Energy Savings Act, SEPTA officials said.

The proposed combined heat and energy plant would use twin natural gas generators to power the wayne Junction Substation and the Midvale Bus Garage with clean and low-cost natural gas, SEPTA officials said.

Both projects will be designed and built by a certified energy savings company that specializes in energy efficient technologies. Noresco LLC has been selected to design the combined heat and energy (CHP) plant at SEPTA's Midvale Complex in North Philadelphia.

SEPTA officials did not say whether a company had been chosen for the first project in the news release.

Contractors working on these projects will be responsible for providing private capital and a savings guarantee, SEPTA officials said, adding that the agency will be able to use a self-funding approach to improve environmental performance without using its own capital resources.

"The sustainability projects approved [last week] leverage significant private sector investment that adds value for riders while at the same time saving taxpayer dollars," said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey Knueppel. "The self-funding strategy continues a business-like approach towards sustainability, and it will make our system stronger moving forward.”

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/28/2015