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Safety-First: Solutions for Winter Track Maintenance

Safety-First: Solutions for Winter Track Maintenance

Winter is approaching, bringing about the most demanding time for maintenance-of-way crews. It not only complicates track maintenance but also increases safety risks for maintenance crews and passengers alike. These winter challenges can even halt railroad operations. Below we offer solutions to tackle specific challenges faced by maintenance crews during a harsh winter on track.

Winter Railroad Challenges

Challenge 1: Hazardous Walkways and Frozen Safety Components

During freezing temperatures, railroad switches, locks and other vital components can freeze solid, and passenger and locomotive walkways become hazardous, greatly jeopardizing the safety of railway operations as a whole.

Challenge 2: Essential Track Components Become Snow-Bound

Heavy snow and ice accumulation jam safety necessities like derails and switches impeding both track maintenance and smooth train operations.

Challenge 3: Rail Breaks Requiring Urgent Repairs

Extreme cold leads to rail separations, demanding immediate action and quick repairs to restore track integrity.

Challenge 4: Snow and Debris Blockages Cause Operational Delays

Heavy snow can completely obstruct railway operations or cause debris to land on track requiring quick and efficient clearance methods.

Winter Railroad Solutions

Solution 1: RR Winterizer: Preemptive Ice Prevention

RR Winterizer is a versatile anti-icer and de-icer. Apply RR Winterizer before snowfall to prevent ice from bonding to critical components or after snowfall to melt ice and for less demanding snow removal. Its low freezing point of -76 degrees, biodegradability, and non-corrosive nature make it safe for all environments.

Solution 2: Switch Brooms and Switch Heaters: Swift De-Icing

Utilize the Switch Broom's sturdy polypropylene bristles and chisel-end to efficiently remove snow and debris from vital components like switches and derails. 

Switch Broom and Switch Heater Can Railroad Winter Tool

Additionally, the Switch Heater Can quickly thaws snow and ice with little effort using kerosene and a wick, offering a portable solution for heavily frozen switches.

Solution 3: FireSnake and Hydraulic Pullers: Rail Pull Apart Repairs

Swap out the messy and unsafe diesel-and-rope technique with FireSnake— a smokeless, eco-friendly, and non-toxic rail heating solution for expanding shrunken rail or rapidly thawing large rail components. 

Firesnake winter railroad tool

For substantial rail separations, maintain your track's integrity with the Enerpac 120-ton Hydraulic Rail Puller. It expedites large repairs due to its compact design (swing arm eliminates need for separate jaws or wedges) and requires zero disassembly or reassembly.

120 Hydraulic Rail Puller

Solution 4: Advanced Snow and Debris Clearance Equipment

Equip ballast regulators with high-performance Club-Style Broom Elements to optimize snow removal. These wider and more durable elements outlast standard broom elements by 15 to 20 percent, ideal for clearing extensive snow accumulations. 

Railroad Club Style Broom Elements

Use a powerful and compact excavator, like the Supertrak SK180RR plus Mulcher, to proactively clear potential winter track obstructions such as large trees and overhanging branches. 

Outfit your maintenance trucks with handy battery-powered tools like the Milwaukee M18 Blower for rapid snow blowing and the Milwaukee M18 Chainsaw to swiftly remove intrusive railway vegetation.

Consistent Support Throughout This Challenging Season

Industry-Railway Suppliers' customer service department and field sales team will provide steadfast support this winter our 58th winter serving the railroad industry. Our many years of experience have given us the knowledge to forecast and stock proper inventory levels so that we can get you what you need quickly this winter. 

View More Winter Maintenance Tools 

If you do not see what you're looking for online or have any questions, please call us at (630) 766-5708.


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