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SEPTA Market Frankford Line Trains Collide at 69th Street Terminal

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SEPTA Market Frankford Line Trains Collide at 69th Street Terminal

4 hurt as Market Frankford Line trains collide in turnaround loop


By Dan Stamm


An out-of-service SEPTA Market Frankford Line subway train crashed into two other trains at the 69th Street Terminal just outside Philadelphia Tuesday morning, critically injuring a train operator, injuring three others and knocking seven cars off the track during the busy rush hour. Upper Darby Police asked commuters in a tweet to avoid the busy terminal after the three-train wreck on looping turnaround tracks, where trains turn around at the end of the line, around 8:30 a.m. 
The wreck left the operator of the No. 57 train critically injured, SEPTA said. Another operator and two passengers suffered less serious injuries. Two suffered head injuries and two suffered leg injuries, police said. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority said the trains were out of service at the time of the crash. The No. 57 train slammed into the back of the No. 67 train on the same track and the wreck then sideswiped a No. 51 train moving in the other direction on the other track, SEPTA said.
SkyForce10 footage showed one car tipped over at a 45-degree angle -- its wheels dislodged from the body of the train -- and six other cars partially off the track as crews responded. A man who lives near the scene told NBC10 Philadelphia's Pamela Osborne he heard a loud noise and came outside to see the wrecked trains.
"I heard a big bang... I knew something big happened but I didn't know what until I got here and saw this mess," William Stamm (no relation to the author) said. The wreck left the 69th Street stop out of service and could impact the afternoon rush as state officials and NTSB investigators look into the wreck, SEPTA said. SEPTA used shuttle buses to get passengers from 69th Street to 63rd Street. Passengers could be seen boarding the buses around 9 a.m. the agency said to expect delays of up to 10 minutes on the line that runs from Upper Darby to the Frankford section of Northeast Philadelphia.
The crash impacted West Chester Pike, Market Street and Victory Avenue for EMS personnel, police said. Investigators could be seen going in and out of the cars midday Tuesday. SEPTA said seven total cars wound up derailed. The Market-Frankford Line is equipped with advanced signaling technology called Automatic Train Control, or ATC, which should prevent two moving trains from the same section of tracks, former SEPTA spokesman, and current NBC10 employee, Manny Smith said. A SEPTA headquarters dispatcher would also be controlling the line and giving permission to engineers to move into and out of the loop.
The systems in place ensure optimal turnaround times at the terminal since trains at peak hours arrive at least every four minutes, Smith said. The max speed on the curve is 10 mph, SEPTA said. The MFL Line has been operating with a bare minimum of cars due to under-body crack concerns. This crash comes nearly two years after a deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia's Frankford neighborhood.

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