Winter preparedness has become a pressing issue for rail and transit operators. As winters have worsened to historical degrees, some transit authorities have been forced into a series of closures and delays due to frozen third rails and iced-over switches. Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has been providing innovative tools for operators to prepare their systems for harsh conditions, keep their citizens safe, and their trains running smoothly.
Last winter, stalled systems made headlines – some of the largest transit systems in the U.S. were forced into total transit shutdown. When trains go down, freezing passengers can be subjected to the elements for hours, and a small army of technical repairmen must be deployed to physically deice the rails — who must all avoid potentially fatal shocks from electrified rails.
Authorities are taking steps to adequately plan for winter, and there are a number of innovative approaches to winterizing rail systems that can help them function normally in the worst weather.
For example, prior to a huge storm last year, Boston proactively contacted Midwest for a solution — within 14 hours, they had our innovative Zero Gravity Third Rail® deicing solution at their door, ready for deployment. We retrofitted our Cobra Winter Spray Systems® for an immediate, custom application of our Smart Fluid co-developed with NASA – keeping rails ice-free and transit systems moving throughout the storm.
Likewise, Chicago’s Metra has contracted Midwest for the use of our Ice Free Switch®, which also uses a NASA Smart Fluid Technology to keep their switches clear and functioning. The Long Island Railroad and Washington Metro are also well prepared customers with Midwest rail solutions at the ready.
The genius of our Smart Fluid is in its non-Newtonian capabilities — it defies gravity by bonding with rails, and activates only when the snow and ice hits. Moreover, it’s biodegradable and non-corrosive. It’s the only such product in its class, and vastly outperforms all alternatives.
This winter, news headlines will discuss the now exceptional preparedness of city transit authorities, and the ways residents were kept safe and delivered on time. Midwest is dedicated to being a part of that solution.
(Image credit: Wikimedia)