SEPTA cautious as we slide into slippery rail season

Paul Kurtz
November 06, 2019 - 2:07 pm
FILE -- The first of SEPTA's new Regional Rail locomotives are going into service

Mike DeNardo / KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — SEPTA is cautioning some of its riders to prepare for delays as it enters the height of slippery rail season.

Falling leaves crushed by steel wheels create a slippery residue that forces conductors to slow down. That's the generic recipe for slippery rail season from now until mid-December. 

"The trains crush those leaves as they pass over them and that leaves an oily residue on the tracks that can reduce the friction of the trains wheels. And that creates a slippery rail condition," said SEPTA's Andrew Busch.

But Busch says the wait can drag out even longer when mother nature throws in some other elements. 

"The storm like we had last week, when we had a lot of wind, wet weather. That's blowing the wet leaves onto the rails and exacerbating the situation, creating delays," he said.

Busch says work crews are out there every night, clearing the tracks.

"The conductor can feel it, and also we have transportation managers out in the field looking for these conditions. So we have a pretty robust program of going out and pre-identifying areas where these types of conditions might be in place," he said.

But it's hard to keep up. 

His advice: "Check our website, check the SEPTA Twitter account and check local news, especially KYW Newsradio. Check for the latest updates and find out where we might have delays."