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Video: It’s So Cold in Chicago That Train Tracks Are Being Set On Fire | Here’s Why
In such extreme weather, transport operator Metra uses fire to keep switches working and help with track repairs. Crews use controlled burns and set train tracks on fire in order to keep them operational in the Windy City.
Viral Video: Just like every year, images of train tracks on fire in US’ Chicago have gone viral on social media. On Monday, Metra, a commuter rail system, posted a video showing flames coming from train tracks in Chicago on Monday. But why? Well, it isn’t some stunt. It’s perfectly safe and rather a necessary action to combat the severe cold and winter weather that hits Chicago’s metropolitan area this time of year. Extreme cold weather can cause steel to contract, causing breaks on train tracks. More so, ice accumulates and freezes even more quickly on metal tracks because of the way metal holds cold temperatures.
In such extreme weather, transport operator Metra uses fire to keep switches working and help with track repairs. Crews use controlled burns and set train tracks on fire in order to keep them operational in the Windy City. Heating the tracks with fire expands the metal until the two rails can be put back together again.
Many people on social media shared pictures and videos of the phenomenon:
When it’s very cold, #Chicago sets its train tracks on fire! This prevents train derailment caused by metal deformations!
A medieval solution to a modern problem? https://t.co/jHM0j2oJCG#physics #train #Railways #metals #Engineering #LNG pic.twitter.com/eoVldisG22
— Nemy Banthia (@nbanthia) January 28, 2022
There's nothing like checking the @railstream camera at A2 and seeing Metra running seamlessly through this snowy weather on a Monday morning!
Beat the traffic, no matter the weather, by hopping on Metra. 💯 pic.twitter.com/QzPfQx3bxW
— Metra (@Metra) January 24, 2022
Brrr! Chicago Train Tracks on Fire to beat Freezing Temperatures. Train Tracks have been set on fire to keep steel from contracting and ensure trains run smoothly#Chicago #TrainTracks #Tracks #Viral #Weather #ilwx #Winter #Climate #Viral #SnowStorm #WinterStorm #Illinois pic.twitter.com/IP625aXX5K
— Doregama Viral (@DoregamaViral) January 25, 2022
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According to Fox Weather, the switch heaters are located alongside the train tracks to keep them heated all winter long. ”There are actually gas burners right next to the switches. It’s like a kitchen stovetop, the gas stovetop. We have about 500 switches in our system, and you really want to keep them warm and keep moisture out of them because you don’t want them freezing up,” Michael Gillis, Director of Communications for Metra.
In the past, Metra also said it’s safe to run the trains over the flames because the diesel fuel in the trains “combusts only with pressure and heat, not open flames,” according to CNN.
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