PennFab Puts Amtrak Back on Track

Inside PennFab's steel fabrication facility. 

This past spring, Amtrak's Northeast Regional train from Washington D.C. to New York City derailed on the Northeast Corridor in Philadelphia. The disaster left eight dead, 200 injured and millions of Americans without their daily Amtrak service.

Following the crash, the agency needed two new catenary portal structures, the tall steel structures that hold the overhead wires above rail lines, at Frankford Junction to get its Northeast Corridor service operational again. Each one requires about 15 tons of steel. Typically, they take at least six weeks to create. PennFab (an AISC Member and AISC Certified fabricator), based in Bensalem, Pa., just minutes away from the disaster, stepped up to build and erect the catenary structures in a mere 36 hours.

"We knew the corridor was down, [and] hundreds of thousands of people's livelihoods are on those trains," said Mike Mabin Sr., owner of PennFab. "We literally didn't have a second to spare."

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Bradley, Ill.-based Peddinghaus (also an AISC member) has also created a video illustrating how PennFab worked tirelessly and used Peddinghaus equipment to process the catenary structures needed for Amtrak to restore service. Watch the video here.