Coldwave Effect: Railway Tracks Set On Fire To Keep Trains Running

Railway operators in Chicago are resorting to rather medieval methods of beating the coldwave. It includes setting fire to the tracks. Temperatures in America have dropped and Chicago city is one of the worst affected.

Coldwave Effect: Railway Tracks Set On Fire

The highest temperature recorded in Chicago in recent times is around -13 degrees celsius. With temperatures dropping till -27 degrees, engineers are resorting to various methods including setting fire to railway tracks.

The United States of America has over 2,25,000 kilometres of privately owned and operated railways. Lakhs of people use it and thousands of tonnes of freight is transported using these railway lines.

Coldwave Effect: Railway Tracks Set On Fire

In such harsh weather, the railway lines freeze and deform, putting the trains at risk of derailment. Most of these railway lines are really old, and the metal reacts to increase or decrease in temperature.

Engineers usually leave a gap between the rails on either end to allow for expansion during hot summer days. In harsh cold winters though, the metal contracts, dangerously widening the gaps. It could contract to the extent where it could pull out the bolts that hold it in place.

This phenomena becomes even more dangerous at track switches. Forcefully switching a frozen track could fracture the metal. Railway crews in Chicago have found a solution to this in Kerosene fueled fires.

Coldwave Effect: Railway Tracks Set On Fire

Long pieces of rope are soaked in kerosene and laid on the tracks and then set on fire. This heats up the tracks, enabling them to function properly. Railways also have mechanisms to stop the cold from freezing the track at switching points, but there are way too many point across the country to cover them all.

Thoughts On Setting Fire To Frozen Railway Tracks

Technology can only take mankind to an extent. In a few situations though, one has to resort to tried and tested methods to get the job done. In this case, the tried and tested method being used is fire. Do you know any any such thing where basic methods are used to help machines function?

Image Source: ABC7Chicago

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Article Published On: Thursday, January 31, 2019, 15:15 [IST]
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