SEPTA Substation Replacement Project Nears Completion in Jenkintown, Pa.

An 80-year-old traction power substation in the Abington Township area of Glenside, Pa.

📅   Mon April 04, 2016 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero - CEG CORRESPONDENT


An 80-year-old traction power substation in the Abington Township area of Glenside, Pa., is currently being replaced by a new indoor modular style substation.
An 80-year-old traction power substation in the Abington Township area of Glenside, Pa., is currently being replaced by a new indoor modular style substation.
An 80-year-old traction power substation in the Abington Township area of Glenside, Pa., is currently being replaced by a new indoor modular style substation. The project will provide all new main traction power equipment and miscellaneous accessory components, and is currently on schedule. The project will provide all new main traction power equipment and miscellaneous accessory components, and is currently on schedule. Construction notice to proceed was given on Aug. 29, 2014, and the scheduled completion date is Aug. 29, 2016. The total contract value is $21.2M, with funding coming from Pennsylvania ACT 89. The existing Jenkintown electric power building was constructed in the early 1930s, and plays a key role in providing electricity to power the SEPTA trains that run on the Doylestown, West Trenton and Warminster lines. The general construction work includes installing retaining walls, site drainage retention ponds and a dedicated access driveway. The project is part of SEPTA’s overall plan to replace all of the power substations on the former Reading Railroad System as a result of its 1993 Regional Railroad Division Traction Power System Study. “The largest challenge for this project is working adjacent to active railroad tracks and the current substation,” said Kristin Geiger, SEPTA public information manager.

An 80-year-old traction power substation in the Abington Township area of Glenside, Pa., is currently being replaced by a new indoor modular style substation.

The Jenkintown Substation will be the first Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) traction power substation to utilize Gas Insulated Switchgear technology. The project will provide all new main traction power equipment and miscellaneous accessory components, and is currently on schedule. Construction notice to proceed was given on Aug. 29, 2014, and the scheduled completion date is Aug. 29, 2016. The total contract value is $21.2M, with funding coming from Pennsylvania ACT 89.

The project is part of SEPTA's overall plan to replace all of the power substations on the former Reading Railroad System as a result of its 1993 Regional Railroad Division Traction Power System Study. The existing Jenkintown electric power building was constructed in the early 1930s, and plays a key role in providing electricity to power the SEPTA trains that run on the Doylestown, West Trenton and Warminster lines.

The Jenkintown electrical contract, for $17 million, is being handled by Vanalt Electrical Construction Inc., under the direction of Richard Heller. The general contract was awarded to Anthony Biddle Contractors Inc., with Robert King in charge.

The electrical construction work includes, but is not limited to, providing new power and communication duct banks and manholes, traction power transformers, substation relay control panels and relaying, traction power circuit breakers, electrical connection busses and supports and components, providing a new SCADA RTU, and providing and installing new fencing and yard lighting including a new grounding system.

The general construction work includes installing retaining walls, site drainage retention ponds and a dedicated access driveway.

“The largest challenge for this project is working adjacent to active railroad tracks and the current substation,” said Kristin Geiger, SEPTA public information manager. “This requires careful planning for support as well as track and aerial wire outages necessary to perform the work safely and efficiently. The physical location of the project being between active tracks and the creek also provides difficulty for access to the site and a limited footprint for staging of construction equipment, storage of materials, and working room for multiple prime contractors and sub-contractors.”

Major equipment used on the project includes a Mait HR 130 drilling rig, a Kobelco SK210 backhoe, a Kobelco 35SR mini-backhoe, a Cat 953D front loader, a Cat D5C leveler, a Cat CS4330 roller compactor, a Dynapac CA150 roller compactor, an Ampac mini-roller compactor, a Square Shooter SS-1048 tractor forklift, a New Holland L135 skid steer/loader, a 15-ton (13.6 t) Terex Dino 1500 boom truck, 65-ft. (19.8 m) and 70-ft. (21.3 m) Elliott lift trucks, a Grove RT600E 40-ton (36.2 t) crane and an Altec D3060A line truck.

In addition, the project is utilizing traction power transformers from CG Power Systems USA; gas insulated 12kV and 24kV feeder and trolley switchgear from Siemens Sitras; traction power transformer “live tank” design circuit breakers; and traction and signal power cabling from Okonite Cabling.

Major subcontractors include CJ Drilling, drilling 10 caissons for catenary take-off structures; Bencardino Excavating, excavation and installation of new power and communication duct banks; and D'Andrea Brothers, installation of formed and poured concrete foundations for the prefabricated substation and other substation equipment.