View Full Version : Ice storms, when is the ice too thick on rails?

01-13-2007, 03:38 PM
With the ice storms in the midwest going on and the massive frigid air mass moving in, I wonder when a bad ice storm hits the rails, freezes and accumulates, when is the thickness of the ice considered too much to risk running trains over it?

I ask this knowing derailments occur with just some snow packed intersections sometimes and have to figure ice would be more of an issue and on large areas it would seem like a daunting mess to let it melt to become safe again seeing how time constraints are an issue in good weather.

Any informative feedback would be appreciated.

Thanks, Rich

01-13-2007, 11:45 PM
Can't answer all your questions but from personal experience, the most vexing issues (aside from hazardous driving / walking conditions) are, in no particular order:
- wires / tree limbs down on the tracks
- crossing gates so encrusted with ice that they remain in the down position
- inoperative hot box detectors

Ice on top of the rail isn't much of a problem but might be in clogged flangeways.

01-14-2007, 07:32 PM
I have had to railroad a couple of really bad ice storms in my region. All I can say is if a train can move they will move it. If it can't the railroad will figure a way to make it move.

Stephen T.
01-15-2007, 09:59 AM
wouldn't the weight of the loco just crush any ice that is on the rails?

01-16-2007, 01:21 PM
wouldn't the weight of the loco just crush any ice that is on the rails?
It would, but sometimes a clogged flangeway at a crossing can cause the wheels of a car (even loaded) to lift off the rails and derail.

01-16-2007, 07:14 PM
One of the biggest problems is switches freezing up, or snow/ice getting in the points causing cars to go on the ground.