Slippery rail season is back, and SEPTA is taking steps to "maximize customer safety and minimize inconveniences."
Each autumn, when leaves fall and land on SEPTA's rails, they are crushed by passing trains and leave a slick residue. The residue can decrease the friction between train wheels and the rails. Normally that friction helps hold the trains on the tracks, so with less friction the result is, you guessed it, slippery rails.
To keep the the system safe, SEPTA pressure washes slippery rails with a mixture of water, gel and sand to clear leaves from the tracks and prevent residue from building up.
SEPTA also slows the speed of any at-risk trains, which can cause delays on regional rail, trolleys and the Norristown High Speed Line. SEPTA will make public announcements whenever service is impacted.
SEPTA will remain on slippery rail alert until it moves into its winter weather action plan.
Christine covers transportation and writes about everything from pedestrian concerns to bicycle infrastructure, bridges, trail networks, public transit and more. Her favorite assignments send her bushwhacking through Philadelphia’s yet-to-be-cleared bike trails, catching a glimpse of SEPTA’s inner workings or pounding the pavement to find out what pedestrians really think. Christine also covers community news for Eyes on the Street, where her coverage ranges from food sovereignty to public art and urban greening. She first joined PlanPhilly in fall 2011 as an intern through a partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website. During the internship her reporting on the Housing Authority’s surplus property auctions earned an award from the Society of Professional Journalists.