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Posted by TransitChuckG on Thu Oct 11 15:49:52 2018
PATCO Shifts to New Schedule
for Leaf Season on 10/13
PATCO announced today an enhanced, revised rail schedule to ensure reliable performance during the annual “leaf season.”
The schedule adjustment will take effect on Saturday, October 13th and will continue through early-December, or until all the leaves have fallen. During that period, trains between Lindenwold and Philadelphia will run at slightly reduced speeds adding additional travel time between stations.
From mid-October through early December, fallen leaves that are crushed on the rails by traveling trains create an oily residue on the surface of the track. The residue can cause train wheels to slide and results in trains taking a longer time to accelerate and decelerate.
“This is a common dilemma for rail lines in areas that are subject to seasonal leaf fall,” said PATCO General Manager John D. Rink. “The loss of friction created by leaf residue causes slower acceleration and the need for more gentle braking, which lengthens overall train run times.”
The resulting friction from the slide can flatten parts of wheel surfaces, causing trains to roll unevenly, resulting in a thumping sound. When that happens, PATCO takes affected trains out of service to repair or replace the misshapen wheels. The repair process sometimes creates a temporary shortage of available trains, which could cause delays or cancellations.
To minimize leaf oil accumulation on rails and its effects, PATCO utilizes a specialized Track Utility Vehicle (TUV) to high-pressure wash and scour the rails during off-peak and evening hours. The schedule adjustments also allow for this equipment to operate and clean the leaf oil off the rails between trains.