Management & Operations

Keolis prepares for slippery rail season caused by fall foliage

Posted on October 28, 2014

Photo Rob Bulmahn via Flickr
Photo Rob Bulmahn via Flickr
While the colors of autumn make for picture postcard scenery, the leaves can create special hazards for railroads as they fall on the tracks, making them wet and slippery. Keolis announced a new initiative to reduce the impact of wet leaves on train departures and arrivals throughout the MBTA commuter rail system this fall season.

“It doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal, but falling leaves can have a serious impact on the operations of any railroad located in regions where trees shed their foliage,” said Keolis GM Tom Mulligan.

A video produced by Keolis illustrates the problem and solutions. http://vimeo.com/109820783



According to Keolis officials, leaves fall on rail tracks and then become wet from rain or dew. When train wheels run over them, the tremendous force crushes the leaves into a Teflon-like coating that can later cause train wheels to lose traction with the rail. When a train attempts to speed up or slow down, this slippery substance - called pectin – can cause the wheels to slip along the rails. As a result, engineers are sometimes forced to slow down or brake early to prevent this sliding in the name of safety.

Keolis began monitoring slippery rail hot spots throughout the system in early October and has assigned a dedicated team to focus on leaf removal. The company uses a variety of specialized equipment to keep the tracks clear.

They include:

High Pressure Rail Washer trains used for commuter rail routes out of North and South stations. These specialized trains contain a locomotive, a power washing car and a tank car to hold the water, which are used to reduce slippery rail hot spots by pressure washing the rails with 15,000 pounds per square inch of water, which hits the rails at 50 gallons per minute, leaving them free of leaf residue.

Sanding equipment attached to each locomotive, allowing engineers to apply the sand manually to slippery rails.

Specialized trucks that can apply a traction gel to problem areas, and is installing permanent trackside gel applicators in known trouble areas.

When slippery rail occurs on untreated rail, Keolis engineers are trained to adjust their speeds and braking for our passenger’s safety, sometimes causing delays.

“Fall is beautiful in New England, but slippery rails are not,” said Mulligan. “Unfortunately, leaf-slippage and related delays can’t be completely eradicated, but on-time performance is critical to us and our passengers, even when leaves get in our way. We are committed to making sure this yearly occurrence has as little impact on our passengers as possible by reducing the chance of delays so everyone in our region can enjoy the lovely fall season.”

Photo Rob Bulmahn

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

SacRT, TransLoc to expand microtransit pilot project

The agency implemented the first phase of SmaRT Ride in February and its resounding success was the catalyst for service expansion beginning sooner than anticipated on Monday, April 23.

Americans took 10.1 billion trips on public transportation in 2017

Compared to public transit ridership in 2016, there was a 2.9%  decrease in ridership as bus ridership declined by 4.3%.  

Peer review finds Chicago's transit system ranks high in coverage, efficiency

According to the report, CTA, Pace, and Metra ranked in the top half of their peer groups for 14 of the 16 measures reviewed and in the top three for seven of those measures.

Keolis to operate OCTA's on-demand microtransit pilot

The OC Flex will connect to the OC Bus network and Metrolink commuter rail stations. Passengers will have the ability to hail rides from their phones and track the status of their trips.

Sacramento RT looking to develop 'world class' transit system

The 'SacRT Forward' study will have variety of community involvement components, including two stakeholder meetings, SacRT Board workshops, and nearly a dozen community events where planners will solicit input from current riders and potential riders alike.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close