SEPTA working to combat seasonal slippery rail conditions

Written by Kyra Senese, managing editor
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SEPTA is addressing “Slippery Rail” season as changes in the weather cause leaves to fall from trees and onto tracks.

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) is addressing "Slippery Rail" season as changes in the weather cause leaves to fall from trees and onto rail tracks.


SEPTA officials said the falling leaves get crushed by trains passing through and leave a slippery residue, which can decrease necessary friction between train wheels and the rails.

The transportation authority said it will impose speed restrictions for trains when rails are too slick to maintain safe operations, particularly around areas with inclines and declines, as well as when vehicles approach the station platform.

Possible speed restrictions could cause delays, especially along the regional rail lines, trolleys and the Norristown High Speed Line.

SEPTA said its crews are actively working along the tracks with high-pressure washing equipment to remove leaves and residue found on the rails throughout the season. Crews use a combination of water, sand and gel to remove the oily deposits, SEPTA said.

The transportation authority also uses its communications resources to ensure customers are informed about slippery rail conditions and possible delays.

Notices explaining the slippery rail battle are posted on rail cars and at stations, in addition to posts on the transportation authority’s social media accounts.

“Until the weather turns frosty and all the leaves have fallen, SEPTA maintains a consistent program of cleaning and removal,” SEPTA said on its website.

Categories: Commuter/Regional, ON Track Maintenance, Safety/Training