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
    • 1 Trainee promoted to Engineer in June 2017
    • 18 Currently in training
    • 6 Scheduled to promote in 2017
    • 12 Scheduled to promote by May 2018
  • 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
204 205
November 2016
6 October 2017
206 206
January 2017
6 November 2017
February 2017
6 January 2018
213 GOAL
March 2017
6 February 2018
July 2017
6 May 2018

The changes in the "Scheduled Promotion" dates 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 an enhancement to actual "train seat" time
    • Provides ability to offer operating scenarios not otherwise possible, i.e. snow and other weather situations
    • One person-one simulator set up allows Authority to run up to 10 different types of training scenarios, at one time, from the Instructor Work Station
  • 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
  • Equipment installation scheduled for week of November 6, 2017

PHOTOS: Rail Simulator Training Facility Construction

Rail simulator construction

Rail simulator construction

Sound proof Simulator Room

Rail simulator construction

Each Simulator Room will house one piece of equipment to offer an individualized training environment.

Rail simulator construction

Rail simulator construction


  • 3 promoted to conductor (July 6, 12, 17, 2017)
  • 12 Assistant Conductors currently in training to become Conductors
  • 8 scheduled to be promoted between August and November 2017
    • 4 Conductors promoted October 2017
  • 4 scheduled to be promoted in April 2018

Assistant Conductors

  • Training program graduated 44 Assistant Conductors to work on trains since December 2016
  • 12 new Assistant Conductors began training July 31, 2017 - completion of training September 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 develop Mentoring program
  • Program currently being managed by SEPTA Control Center Senior Train Dispatchers
    • 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