We often talk about winter and the detrimental effects it can have on your locomotives and passenger cars if left unprotected against the season’s unrelenting wrath. ThermOmegaTech urges railroad operators to protect their rolling stock with the GURU freeze protection valve. However, there are many other freeze protection factors to consider during your winter prep.
Here are some pro tips on making it through winter while avoiding frozen equipment, malfunctioning cars, and interrupted schedules and delays.
1. Monitor Weather
Cold water can descend suddenly and unexpectedly, which is why it is often advantageous to include weather forecasting in your winter operations. According to a Railway Age article, the industry suffers from hundreds of millions of dollars due to weather-related damages each year, many of which occur throughout December – March due to snow and ice.
Railroad operators should consider implementing a weather intelligence platform that provides weather data and insights across various locations to be prepared for unexpected weather extremes.
2. Winterize Your Railroad Tracks
Just like frozen roads can be a hazard to cars, busses, and trucks, railroad tracks can have the same dangerous effect on rail cars. Implementing a snow and ice removal system is crucial for safe and on-time rail service throughout the winter season. Here are the basics for implementing a system:
- Inspect your grounds early on – clean switches, derails, frogs, and flangeways
- Clear switch handles of any debris or potential snow build-up
- Clear drains and gutters from any blockage
- Ensure railroad ties are visible
- Keep a minimum depth of 1.5-inch clearance under flangeways
Many different methods can be implemented to keep your tracks winterized throughout the season, including switch heaters, hot air blowers, and glycerin-based anti-freeze. Keeping your tracks free of snow and ice will ensure timely switches and safe operation.
3. Implement Freeze Protection Valves on Your Locomotives and Passenger Trains
ThermOmegaTech recommends preventing fleet freeze-ups with the thermostatic GURU freeze protection valve.
Self-operating and compact, the GURU valve for locomotives and the GURU PC valve for passenger cars are designed to continuously monitor water or air temperatures to automatically drain cold water before it can freeze and cause damage.
100% mechanically operated, these valves require no source of electricity to operate and are trusted by all the Class 1’s in North American and other major railroad operators to protect their equipment each winter season.
Implementing ThermOmegaTech’s reliable thermostatic freeze protection valve technology into your annual winter prep procedures will ensure your equipment is protected from freeze damage, lengthy repairs, and interrupted schedules all winter long.
4. Have a Plan: Act Fast
Winter can be a challenging time for railroad operators; however, with a well-structured, comprehensive winterization plan, you can have a stress-free season knowing your equipment is protected from freezing.
Dana Logue, Rail Division Product Manager at ThermOmegaTech, suggests starting winter prep early before cold winds start blowing, as temperatures often dip sooner than people anticipate, leaving their equipment unprotected and open to freeze damage. Having a plan already in place while it’s still beach weather will mitigate the winter risks often seen in the railroad industry.