Fires Are Being Started To Keep Trains Working In The Cold

It is so cold in Chicago right now, railroad tracks are being set on fire to ensure the trains keep moving. It’s currently -16 degrees Fahrenheit in Chicago, which is equivalent to -26 degrees celsius, The Weather Channel reports.

 

 

Dangerously cold temperatures struck Chicago, forcing rail workers to light portions of the train tracks on fire in order to prevent damage. Sub-zero temperatures are expected to linger in the region, which can cause the metal on the tracks to shrink, resulting in the rails pulling away from each other.

 

It is so cold in Chicago right now, railroad tracks are being set on fire to ensure the trains keep moving.

 

Flames were seen sprouting from the tracks of Chicago’s Metra commuter rail system on Tuesday. Why? Tracks are affected by extreme cold in two ways.

In some cases the tracks experience what’s called “pull-aparts.” This kind of rail defect occurs when two rails separate at their connection. The extreme cold shrinks the metal and the rails literally pull apart from each other, Metra said in a recent Instagram post. Heating the tracks with fire expands the metal until the two rails can be put back together again.

 

Flames were seen sprouting from the tracks of Chicago's Metra commuter rail system

 

Metra isn’t literally setting the tracks ablaze, spokesman Michael Gillis told CNN. The flames actually come from gas-fed heaters that run alongside the rails and keep them warm. Metra also uses a tubular heating system and hot air blowers to heat up cold track.

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