Winter hammers rail operations—Metra is a good example

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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Railroads that operate in northernmost regions in the U.S. face horrific winter conditions almost every year.

The toll taken on railroads and railroaders by cold temperatures, snow, and ice is enormous. While all railroads operating in the cold face these conditions, Metra and other commuter railroads feel a special urgency to keep trains moving to serve essential workers and others who must get to their jobs every day, and don’t have the luxury of working from home.

Metra posted an interesting story on social media outlets yesterday, and it’s a worthwhile reminder of the stressful conditions railroads face during what is, perhaps, the most demanding of all seasons. We posted it here for your edification. Photos are courtesy of Metra.

“When the weather dips into frigid temperatures, Metra crews put forth a tremendous effort to keep our system running, especially in our yards. Ice build-up between doors causes mechanical issues, so hours are spent each night de-icing with ethanol. Frozen fuel caps must be broken open before the engines can be re-fueled. Crews will be working 12-hour shifts overnight in the yard this week to keep up with the ice, refueling and the regular cleaning and inspections.”

Fuel caps must be broken open in order to fill the locomotive.
Without ice removal and de-icing solution, Metra doors would not open for passengers.
Frozen parts of a locomotive add hours to preparing the engine for the next day’s service.

Read a recent story on how Metra uses switch heaters to keep trains rolling during winter weather.

Categories: Commuter/Regional, Passenger, Rail News, Safety/Training
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