SEPTA on “slippery rail season” high alert

Slippery rail season is back, and SEPTA is taking steps to “maximize customer safety and minimize inconveniences.”

Each autumn, when leaves fall and land on SEPTA’s rails, they are crushed by passing trains and leave a slick residue. The residue can decrease the friction between train wheels and the rails. Normally that friction helps hold the trains on the tracks, so with less friction the result is, you guessed it, slippery rails. 

To keep the the system safe, SEPTA pressure washes slippery rails with a mixture of water, gel and sand to clear leaves from the tracks and prevent residue from building up. 

SEPTA also slows the speed of any at-risk trains, which can cause delays on regional rail, trolleys and the Norristown High Speed Line. SEPTA will make public announcements whenever service is impacted. 

SEPTA will remain on slippery rail alert until it moves into its winter weather action plan. 

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