Frequently Asked Questions About Midwest’s Patented Rail Switch Lubrication System

Frequently Asked Questions About Midwest’s Patented Rail Switch Lubrication System

In Glidex®, Rail & Mass Transit, Rail Lubrication by Eric Vantiegham

Learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Glidex®, our patented switch lubrication product.

If you’re in the passenger or freight rail business, you already know what can happen when a rail switch is left unlubricated: the resulting failure can cause severe delays or accidents, reducing efficiency and increasing maintenance costs. You might have also heard of Midwest’s patented rail switch lubricant Glidex®, a reliable and cost-effective solution to that problem. But beyond that, you might know very little at all about our product — specifically, what makes it different from any other rail lubrication solution?

Tested for durability, Glidex can keep switches lubricated in even the harshest conditions, ensuring reliability throughout the year while eliminating the need for costly repairs. As you search for a switch lubrication product, read through our list of frequently asked questions to learn what sets our solution apart from the rest.

What Is it Made of?

Glidex is a synthetic fluid, primarily made of an iso-alkane. Non-toxic, non-corrosive, and biodegradable, the solution will not endanger humans, wildlife, or the surrounding environment — the same can’t be said of vegetable oil-based lubricants. And since it isn’t water soluble, it can also withstand heavy precipitation for much longer than products made from petroleum or graphite.

How Will I Receive it?

Each application of Glidex uses eight to ten ounces of product. It can be ordered in one gallon, five gallon, 55 gallon, and 275 gallon containers, and large-scale operations can order bulk truckloads of 1,000 gallons or more. Glidex can be stored at any temperature so long as the container remains sealed, but we recommend using it within a year of purchasing.

How Should I Apply it?

Since Glidex is sold as a liquid, it can be easily brushed, poured, or sprayed onto your rails: no dilution is required. While it is compatible with standard bug or weed sprayers, the most effective applicator is an industrial grade sprayer with a fan spray nozzle like the Switch Treator Model 100, which we’ve specifically designed for the product. Glidex can be applied the same way at nearly any time of the year, retaining its liquid form in temperatures as low as -40 degrees Fahrenheit. You can apply Glidex as often as is necessary, but we suggest that you reapply it every two weeks to high-throw switches and every month to other rail equipment.

Where Should I Apply it?

Much of your rail infrastructure can benefit from the proper application of Glidex, but it’s primarily designed for switch plates, stands, throw rods, and other metal components of rail switches that regularly move. More specifically, it makes it easier for switches to throw by reducing the required torque and decreasing throw time. That being said, Glidex can also be used to reduce friction on lift bridges, car couplers, flop gate mechanisms, or any other metal-to-metal surface. 

What Are Its Other Strengths?

Even as seasons change, Glidex stays the same. Regardless of the time of year, it results in long-lasting lubrication, superior ride quality, and lower operating expenses. It’s also easy to clean off if it ever falls onto your skin or clothes — just quickly scrub the area off with soap and water or standard laundry detergent.

Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has been developing industry-leading solutions for the rail sector since 1975. Over the ensuing 40-plus years, Glidex became a necessity for mass transit authorities, Class I railroads, and short line railroads throughout the United States, and we’ll only continue to improve and refine it over the coming years. If you’re searching for a switch lubrication agent, Midwest can offer you a reliable and cost-effective solution to all of your railroad’s needs.

Eric Vantiegham is Midwest’s Rail & Transit Specialist. Skilled in product development, new business development, and strategic planning, he enjoys playing ice hockey and coaching his boys' youth teams.