PATCO releases ‘leaf season’ schedule

Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce

As the leaves start to fall, so will the speed of some trains. 

Starting October 12, PATCO will be adjusting its transit schedule due to autumn leaves. PATCO shared in a press release the reason behind it, saying that, “… fallen leaves that are crushed on the rails by traveling trains create an oily residue on the surface of the track. The residue can cause train wheels to slide and results in trains taking a longer time to accelerate and decelerate.”

Additionally, they shared that “the loss of friction created by leaf residue causes slower acceleration and the need for more gentle braking, which lengthens overall train run times. The resulting friction from the slide can flatten parts of wheel surfaces, causing trains to roll unevenly, resulting in a thumping sound. When that happens, PATCO takes affected trains out of service to repair or replace the misshapen wheels. The repair process sometimes creates a temporary shortage of available trains, which could cause delays or cancellation.” 

The new scheduling will last through early December. 

According to the press release, here’s how trains will be impacted:

Weekday schedule adjustments:

Owl Service (12 a.m.-5 a.m.)

— Westbound: No changes
— Eastbound: Departure times have been adjusted by 1 minute to accommodate for extra running time

AM Rush Hour (5 a.m.-9 a.m.)

— Some departure times have been adjusted 1-4 minutes to accommodate for extra running time

Day Base (9 a.m.-3 p.m.)

— Trains will operate every 15-minutes instead of 12-minutes

PM Rush Hour (3 p.m.-7 p.m.)

— Eastbound: Some departure times have been adjusted by 1 minute to accommodate for extra running time
— Westbound: No changes

Evening Base (7 p.m.-11:59 p.m.)
No changes

Weekend schedule adjustments:


— Westbound: No Changes
— Eastbound: Departures between 7 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. have been adjusted by 1 minute to accommodate for extra running time


— No changes

For more updated information, be sure to check out the scheduling here

According to, SEPTA also considers falling leaves when it comes to the tracks. Spokesperson Andrew Busch shared with that, the regional rails changes have already gone into effect. Additionally, the changes for trolleys, buses, subway lines, and the Norristown High-Speed Line are also in effect. 

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