Train Tracks Burning in Chicago

Burning train tracks in Chicago 1 photo
Photo: CNN via Facebook
Setting steel train tracks on fire is not an easy thing. Yet someone’s got to do it, not because of some hidden agenda, but because of the freezing temperatures that have blanketed large parts of the United States.
Americans in northern states of the U.S., especially those who live in the area from the north of Wisconsin to the south of Illinois and from the west of Iowa to the east of Michigan, are facing temperatures well below freezing point and a new enemy the media calls the Polar Vortex.

Several cities in these states have been seriously hit by the cold, with temperatures as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius (equally cold on the Fahrenheit scale) expected in the coming days. Faced with the chilling onslaught, local authorities are scrambling to find ways to keep things going as close to normal as possible.

Anything that moves, from airplanes to cars and trains, has been affected by the low temperatures. In Chicago, one of the worst-hit cities by the blistering cold, temperatures were so low that they even caused train rails to shrink and disconnect rail connections.

As a temporary fix, rail workers have set fire to the tracks so that the metal could expand and allow for the connections to be repaired. This unlikely fix also helps defrost the switches and allows them to operate normally. Footage from Chicago even shows trains passing over the burning tracks.

These scenes are not likely to repeat themselves very often, as setting tracks on fire will not become a widespread practice. In Chicago, most of the railway network is equipped with electric heaters or hot air blowers to handle the task.

Despite all the best efforts made by railway workers, or electric heaters, all Amtrak trains connecting the city with the rest of the U.S. were canceled on Wednesday, as were all other long distance trains.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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