Winter on the railroad is hard. Here’s how to make it easier.
Oct 20th 2022
“I personally dreaded when winter hit and I knew I had to be out on the tracks,” said Rich Brawner, a retired 50-plus year, railroad industry maven.
“Trees can get so heavy with ice that it falls on the track and signal systems can’t tell that there’s an 80-foot tall tree, nine feet around laying across them.”
Winter is by far the most patience-testing season for maintenance-of-way workers, and unfortunately for many, it is the longest.
Rail shrinks and breaks. Critical components such as derails freeze and require immediate attention. Passenger walkways become dangerous and safety becomes a greater concern. Track maintenance takes on a whole new punishing life, and sometimes, winter wins and railroad operations halt.
Here are some winter struggles spoken by a maintenance-of-way expert, and here’s how to solve them.
“The track can open up a void anywhere from a quarter inch to fifteen inches. Just depends on how cold it gets,” said Brawner.
FireSnake is the quick solution to heating shrunken rail, or deicing critical components.
- Environmentally safe
- Burns clean to protect the safety of workers
- Requires zero cleanup
- Tidy - Unlike its predecessor, the diesel-and-rope method, which is wasteful, environmentally hazardous and time-consuming.
A 15-inch pull apart may require a rail puller such as Enerpac's Hydraulic 120 Ton Rail Puller though.
- 120 tons of pulling force
- Hydraulic retractable spreader beam allows for uncomplicated rail securement
- No need for separate jaws or wedges
- The more compact puller - self-containted design
- No disassembly required for transport or storage
“When there is too much snow accumulated, switches won’t throw unless you physically broom or shovel them out.”
This is a dual-purpose Switch Broom with a chisel end.
- Removes snow and debris from critical components and awkward areas
- Durable polypropylene bristles
- Chisel-end for heavy de-icing
Another portable solution to a heavily frozen switch or derail is a Switch Heater Can, which quickly thaws snow and ice using just kerosene and a wick.
“Ice can attach to everything, switches, derails, locks. It doesn’t care,” said Brawner.
RR Winterizer is an anti-icer and deicer in one.
- Spray before snowfall and it will prevent ice from bonding to the rail or other critical components such as switches, derails, locks, passenger walkways, running boards, flangeways, moveable bridges, and hundreds of other materials.
- Or use after snowfall as a deicer (ice melter)
- Low freezing point of -76 degrees F
- Non hazardous to all plant and animal life
- Non corrosive to any material
Using a ballast regulator to clear snow from the tracks may sound unconventional, but actually works well using Club-Style Broom Elements.
- Solid rubber core
- Wider, club-style design
- Club design lasts 15-20% longer than standards
This winter will be Industry-Railway Suppliers' 57th winter in business, which gives us the knowledge to forecast and stock proper inventory levels so that we can get you what you need quickly.
If you aren’t able to purchase our products online, please contact our customer service department or call them at (630) 766-5708 and they will be happy to place your order for you.