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SEPTA Hopes To Avert Systemwide Shutdown; Says All Services Experiencing Major Delays

By Mike Dunn

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- SEPTA's command center is in storm mode, and officials say they're hoping to avoid any sort of systemwide shutdown such as occurred during blizzards in recent years.

SEPTA officials, right up to general manager Joe Casey, are monitoring reports from the field on equipment and vehicle problems as the snow accumulates.

"All of the chief officers and directors and assistant general managers are all in this room, watching the weather reports, looking at what's happening out on the street, and talking to people out in the field, and trying to get an understanding of what's happening: what's happening to our infrastructure, and what's happening to our vehicles.  It's a very important decision that we are following, hour by hour," says spokesperson Jeri Williams.

She says the first-ever systemwide shutdowns of SEPTA, in 2011 and 2012, occurred because of the certainty of the snow amounts, and the understanding that sending vehicles out would make it extremely difficult to get them back.

Williams says the first priority in that decision is safety, both of passengers and SEPTA employees.

She says no shutdown would occur until there is a very high accumulation, a foot of snow or more.

As of 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, SEPTA says all of its services are reporting delays of 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, Amtrak says it is currently operating on its normal Tuesday schedule. Service on Acela Express and Northeast Regional Service between Boston and Washington as well as all Corridor services including the Keystone Service (New York – Harrisburg, Pa.), Empire Service (New York – Albany, N.Y.), Amtrak Downeaster (Brunswick, Maine – Boston) and most of the Springfield Shuttle (New Haven, Conn. – Springfield, Mass.) is up and running, with some weather-related delays.

You can monitor the latest from SEPTA on the transit agency's Twitter feed, @SEPTA, and of course KYW Newsradio 1060 will have updates on mass transit from our storm center.

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