Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority Serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties

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Like many other companies, SEPTA has experienced a shift in its workforce as long time employees retire and new employees are hired. With changing technologies, new equipment purchases, and stringent federal regulations guiding Regional Rail operations, individuals hired to fill open positions must go through specialized training and orientation before being able to step into these roles. In recent years, SEPTA has added four Railroad training personnel and worked to optimize all available resources to increase our training efforts.


  • Training Department working to meet Authority goal to increase current Engineer headcount from 191 (as of January 2017) to 213 by adding training classes as well as introducing Railroad Simulator technology as part of the curriculum in 2017
    • Headcount fluctuations due to attrition/retirements/promotions to other positions within the Authority
    • 30 Engineer trainees currently in class (Highest number ever)
  • Recent labor contract now provides ability to have experienced engineers support on-the-job training for new hires

Training Program
# Trainees
Starting in Class
Scheduled Promotion
# Anticipated
Engineers Operating Trains
Actual #
April 2016
5 February 2017
195 194
May 2016
7 March 2017
199 199
June 2016
April 2017
203 204*
July 2016
6 June 2017
November 2016
6 September 2017
January 2017
6 November 2017
February 2017
6 January 2018
213 GOAL
March 2017
6 February 2018

*As of 05.24.17

The changes in the "Scheduled Promotion Dates" (noted in red above) reflect modifications in the actual promotion dates for the classes in Engineer training. The original dates were based on best case scenarios developed prior to the start of the training program. The number of anticipated Engineers Operating Trains has also been revised to better reflect new graduation rate predictions as well as changes to the existing roster of available Engineers.

Rail Simulators

  • Railroad Simulator technology being introduced as part of the Engineer Training program (2017)
    • Simulators are enhancement to actual "train seat" time
    • Provides ability to offer operating scenarios not otherwise possible, i.e. snow and other weather situations
  • Experienced Engineers are now also able to complete Recertification rides using simulators
  • SEPTA will be installing 7 Regional Rail Simulators:
    • 2 for Silverliner IV
    • 2 for Silverliner V
    • 2 for ACS-64 Locomotives
    • 1 for Generic Diesel Locomotive

PHOTOS: Rail Simulator Construction

Rail simulator construction Rail simulator construction

Rail simulator construction Rail simulator construction

Assistant Conductors

  • Training program graduated 44 Assistant Conductors to work on trains since December 2016
  • Additional 12 Assistant Conductors scheduled to graduate and start work in the beginning of May (2017)
  • 12 Assistant Conductors expected to begin training at the end of April (2017)


  • 4 Assistant Conductors promoted to Conductors in November and December (2016)
  • 2 Assistant Conductors promoted to Conductors in March (2017)
  • 11 Assistant Conductors currently in training to become Conductors between July and November of 2017


New Train Dispatcher Mentoring Program

  • New Dispatchers teamed with a Senior Dispatcher
  • 3rd party consultant, trained on NORAC (Northeast Operating Rules Advisory Committee) rules engaged to support Mentoring program
    • Weekly scenarios are created for testing Dispatchers on how to handle situations they will encounter
    • Dispatchers radio communication and day-to-day performance are monitored - feedback and additional training provided as appropriate