Home Open Account Help 221 users online

Passenger Trains > Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms


Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


Date: 02/24/24 00:55
Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: GenePoon

Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Philadelphia Inquirer
by Michelle Myers
Published Feb. 23, 2024

If you need to go while riding a Regional Rail train, you’ll have to hold it for a bit longer because there are no bathrooms on board.

Tens of thousands of people ride the SEPTA trains daily between the suburbs and Center City. So, why don’t they have toilets?

That is what one reader asked Curious Philly, The Inquirer’s forum for questions about the city and region.

Simply put, it comes down to travel distance requirements and logistics, but it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Travel distance requirements

Regional Rail trains “do not meet the minimum distance requirement” that would obligate them to install restrooms on the trains, according to SEPTA’s communications department.

But per Federal Railroad Administration guidelines, the presence of bathrooms on regional trains is not strictly determined by a specific travel distance requirement. Instead, it depends on policies and standards set by the specific service provider or authority.
 
SEPTA couldn’t say what that distance requirement is, neither could other commuter rail lines, and the Federal Transit Administration didn’t reply to a request for information.

Of SEPTA’s 13 Regional Rail lines, the shortest trip is the Cynwyd Line, with 22 minutes from beginning to Suburban Station, according to timetables on SEPTA’s website. The longest trip is on the Wilmington/Newark Line, with a ride of an hour and 27 minutes to Suburban Station from the outermost stop.
 
Scientifically speaking, the average adult can go two to five hours without needing a bathroom. But, one doesn’t choose when nature calls, and not all riders are adults.
So, why not have bathrooms on the train even if they’re not required?

Logistics

“Plumbing has to be available, the electrical has to be available; they have to abide by existing regulations; they may not have the room to do that, and it costs money to do this,” said Eliezer Fich, a finance professor at Drexel University.
He is not off.
 
Since the current fleet of trains does not have restrooms installed, retrofitting them would be expensive, SEPTA says.
The agency doesn’t know exactly how costly it would be.

Onboard bathrooms would require additional cleaning and maintenance, which SEPTA says would be another added expense.
And, since septic tanks would need to be emptied frequently, train cars would need to be taken out of service, which could result in delays that could lead to loss of revenue — at a time when there are already talks of SEPTA cutting some Regional Rail service to make up for a lack of state funding.

Does this affect ridership?

Yes and no. Regional Rail average daily ridership per month ranged from 60,123 to 76,946 in the first 11 months of 2023, per SEPTA figures. According to Fich, most of those passengers are known as “captive riders.”

“They really don’t have any other choice. They have to take the train, which suggests the ridership is not going to be dramatically affected by whether bathrooms are offered or not,” said Fich. “What will be affected is rider satisfaction,” he added.
 
That can be seen in a Reddit thread from 2021 asking if there were any bathrooms on board.
“lol this isn’t Europe, or amtrak,” one user replied, as others recalled the many times they had needed to go while on the move. A user mentioned a time when they got stuck on the train for two hours while commuting home.

“I had to pee so badly I was going to cry,” they wrote.

Do other commuter rails have bathrooms on the train?

It depends on the region. Much like Philly, and with the longest train commute time being an hour, Pittsburgh Regional Transit does not have bathrooms on its trains.
However, New Jersey Transit commuter trains do, including the Atlantic City Rail Line that serves Philadelphia — and has an end-to-end travel time of about an hour and 34 minutes.
 
Each train has at least one bathroom, barring technical or mechanical issues, NJ Transit says.

Likewise, Maryland’s MARC trains have at least one loo on each train for its three lines going to and from Washington, D.C.
Where to go to the bathroom when you take Philly’s Regional Rail?

Since going on the train will not be possible for Philadelphians anytime soon, your best bet are stations’ restrooms.
There are 70 bathrooms across more than 150 stations, but most close before noon.

https://www.inquirer.com/transportation/septa-regional-rail-trains-bathrooms-20240223.html

If you run into the Philadelphia Inquirer's paywall:

https://archive.ph/8e0X7#selection-1093.0-1417.81
 



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/24 01:09 by GenePoon.



Date: 02/24/24 01:03
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: SanDiegan

Two to five hours ? More like two to five times per hour for elderly railfans with enlarged prostates ! lol

Posted from iPhone



Date: 02/24/24 01:04
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: GenePoon

What this basically means...ignoring the attempt by SEPTA to foist off the policy on some Federal standard that doesn't exist...is that SEPTA trains have no restrooms because SEPTA doesn't want them to.

Some SEPTA equipment was built with restrooms.  Their Bombardier cab cars were so constructed but SEPTA removed all the restroom fixtures and stored them away.  In years when SEPTA leased that equipment to Amtrak for the Thanksgiving travel rush, SEPTA reinstalled the restroom fixtures because Amtrak required the facilities to be available for passengers.  But as soon as the equipment was returned to SEPTA, the fixtures were removed and stored away again.

What about SEPTA crews?  At every location where the crews lay over or turn around, there are restroom facilities available, some of them locked and accessible only with keys held by the crews and other employees.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/24 01:07 by GenePoon.



Date: 02/24/24 02:53
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: joemvcnj

SEPTA thinks commuter trains are subways. No other commuter railroad thinks so. An hour can be a long time when one is over 40 and not on a solid-only diet.

50% of LIRR's MU and diesel fleet have bathrooms. Few trains and people are headed to Montauk.

Posted from Android



Date: 02/24/24 05:02
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: Englewood

Trains without bathhrooms sometimes turn into bathrooms that are trains...........



Date: 02/24/24 07:41
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: abyler

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What this basically means...ignoring the attempt
> by SEPTA to foist off the policy on some Federal
> standard that doesn't exist...is that SEPTA trains
> have no restrooms because SEPTA doesn't want them
> to.

SEPTA trains have no bathrooms and SEPTA has no toilet dumps or interior cleaning platforms at its 11 yards and 3 overnight layup terminals  or any real ability to retrofit toilet dumps in without a massive yard rebuilding program.  This decision dates back to 1962 with the purchase of the Silverliner II's by PRR and Reading, which was several years before SEPTA existed, so SEPTA doesn't deserve credit for it, but its a good policy they continued that allows them to focus on quickly transporting people instead of being a rolling toilet.

SEPTA trips are shorter than the NYCT Subway A Train, which is 1 hour 43 minutes.  You never hear complaints about the A Train.

Personally, I would rather have additional seats and more trips than have public bathrooms, but some people apparently prefer the option of standing, bathrooms, awful smells, additional staff focused on cleaning human waste, and less frequent service for commuter trains, which is what all the operators not called SEPTA offer in the US.



Date: 02/24/24 07:58
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: joemvcnj

Nobody takes the A train end-to-end except railfans, like nobody takes SEPTA from Warminster to Wilmington for over 2 hours.
Most MTA and NJT trains run half hourly, hourly, and bi-hourly service on most of their lines like SEPTA. I'll head to the restroom because I have to, not because I want to make a visit. 



Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/24 13:49 by joemvcnj.



Date: 02/24/24 09:19
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: Typhoon

abyler Wrote:
> and less
> frequent service for commuter trains, which is
> what all the operators not called SEPTA offer in
> the US.

Was Metra Electric forced to reduce service when they added the new cars around 10 years ago that finally had bathrooms?



Date: 02/24/24 10:44
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: Frank30

Speaking of Rest Rooms: Boston's MBTA  first group of newly built commuter rail cars were delivered in 1978,
they were single deck Pullman Standard Comet cars, no rest rooms.  Nine years later in 1987, the (T) placed
2 orders for single deck cars, 39 from Bombardier (PS sucessor) and 32 from MBB (Germany)
only the MBB had rest rooms.

So you would think that all future cars would have rest rooms.  Not so. When they ordered their first bi-level cars,
designed in house, 3 orders from 1990-2002 totaling 81 cars did not have rest rooms. It wasn't til only 3 years
later, when in 2005, the (T) ordered 32 900 series cars WITH rest rooms.

So in service of trains North of Boston, you will still see a lot of trains consisting of 4 or 5 single level cars
and a 900 or 800 series bi-level in the middle (for the rest room) and a bi-level cab car on the end to control
the train on the way inbound because they only have a few single level cab cars remaining.   Their policy now
is to have at least one car with a rest room in all trains, although it may take you a while to find that one car.

Frank30



Date: 02/24/24 10:56
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: joemvcnj

Always wondered why MBTA has smorgasbord consists. 



Date: 02/24/24 11:00
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: CPMorris

Of interest, The Inquirer article includes a photo of
ACS-64 #901 which is dedicated to "Pasquale Deon,

SEPTA Board Chairman, 1999-2024."
Yea, a dedication, but no restroom.



Date: 02/24/24 13:34
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: abyler

Typhoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> abyler Wrote:
> > and less
> > frequent service for commuter trains, which is
> > what all the operators not called SEPTA offer
> in
> > the US.
>
> Was Metra Electric forced to reduce service when
> they added the new cars around 10 years ago that
> finally had bathrooms?

How does the current schedule compare to those from 20, 40 or 60 or 80 years ago?  Seems like much less service to me.



Date: 02/24/24 13:39
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: Typhoon

abyler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Typhoon Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > abyler Wrote:
> > > and less
> > > frequent service for commuter trains, which
> is
> > > what all the operators not called SEPTA offer
> > in
> > > the US.
> >
> > Was Metra Electric forced to reduce service
> when
> > they added the new cars around 10 years ago
> that
> > finally had bathrooms?
>
> How does the current schedule compare to those
> from 20, 40 or 60 or 80 years ago?  Seems like
> much less service to me.


And you can show that a service reduction was the result of new cars with bathrooms?



Date: 02/24/24 16:45
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: raytc1944

I rode in LIRR "ping pong" cars.  The rest rooms had' dry hoppers" which was a pipe leading right to the track.  They never failed as there was nothing to fail.  



Date: 02/24/24 16:52
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: goneon66

seriously, how many people would avoid public rail transportation because there are no bathrooms?

i know i would...........

66



Date: 02/24/24 16:59
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: jgilmore

Englewood Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Trains without bathhrooms sometimes turn into
> bathrooms that are trains...........

Exactly, like most MTA trains I rode. And MTA stations, including ones with bathrooms...

JG



Date: 02/24/24 19:01
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: PHall

Didn't some of the commuter equipment that served Chicago not have toilets? 



Date: 02/24/24 20:22
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: ST214

You forgot the cab cars on the 1987 orders. There were enough cars for at least one restroom per train, although there were rare occasions a set would be put together without a MBB if one was not available.

Frank30 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Speaking of Rest Rooms: Boston's MBTA  first
> group of newly built commuter rail cars were
> delivered in 1978,
> they were single deck Pullman Standard Comet cars,
> no rest rooms.  Nine years later in 1987, the (T)
> placed
> 2 orders for single deck cars, 39 from Bombardier
> (PS sucessor) and 32 from MBB (Germany)
> only the MBB had rest rooms.
>
> So you would think that all future cars would have
> rest rooms.  Not so. When they ordered their
> first bi-level cars,
> designed in house, 3 orders from 1990-2002
> totaling 81 cars did not have rest rooms. It
> wasn't til only 3 years
> later, when in 2005, the (T) ordered 32 900 series
> cars WITH rest rooms.
>
> So in service of trains North of Boston, you will
> still see a lot of trains consisting of 4 or 5
> single level cars
> and a 900 or 800 series bi-level in the middle
> (for the rest room) and a bi-level cab car on the
> end to control
> the train on the way inbound because they only
> have a few single level cab cars remaining.  
> Their policy now
> is to have at least one car with a rest room in
> all trains, although it may take you a while to
> find that one car.
>
> Frank30



Date: 02/24/24 20:39
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: inCHI

-------------------------------------------------------
> Much like Philly, and
> with the longest train commute time being an hour,
> Pittsburgh Regional Transit does not have
> bathrooms on its trains.

Interesting that they couldn't distinguish light rail from heavy rail. I'm not aware of any light rail or subway that has bathrooms on board, so it doesn't seem like a valid comparison.



Date: 02/24/24 21:26
Re: Why SEPTA Regional Rail trains don’t have bathrooms
Author: Typhoon

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Didn't some of the commuter equipment that served
> Chicago not have toilets? 


The old IC highliners used on METRA electric did not.  They were replaced in the 2010s with new equipment that had them.  



Pages:  [ 1 ][ 2 ] [ Next ]
Current Page:1 of 2


[ Share Thread on Facebook ] [ Search ] [ Start a New Thread ] [ Back to Thread List ] [ <Newer ] [ Older> ] 
Page created in 0.1777 seconds