blades before operation is begun. The men must be warned to be careful around slippery locations. A fall on or
near a "live" track where trains are expected can result in serious injuries or death. Since hearing and visibility
may be severely restricted by snow, watchmen and flagmen must be especially alert to warn the maintenance
crew of approaching trains. Never allow anyone to work alone on or near the tracks in severe winter weather.
The extreme changes between the summer and winter seasons vary the kind and amount of railway track
maintenance required. During the summer, plants grow more rapidly on the roadbed. If this growth is not
retarded, the roadbed becomes spongy because of lack of drainage. Rail joints also "freeze," restricting the
expansion of the rails and thereby causing the track to buckle.
In the winter, a large percentage of the increase in track maintenance is caused by snow and ice. The
first problem in keeping the track open. The best way to keep it open is to prevent snow and ice from
accumulating. Snow fences can be constructed to prevent snow from drifting over the track, and snow sheds can
be built in cuts or against the sides of hills to keep the snow from sliding down on the track. If in spite of these
extra precautions the track is covered with snow, snowplows must be used to remove it. All movable parts of the
track, such as switches, movable point frogs, and car retarders, must also be cleared when the track has been
covered with snow or ice. The second problem is protecting the track maintenance men from severe winter
weather. Shelters should be built in suitable locations along the track to permit them to get in out of the cold, and
they should not be permitted to work alone near the track in severe weather.
Other than the standard maintenance procedures discussed so far, some adaptations of them are necessary
when special or unusual situations occur. Chapter 5 explains some of the possible variations as well as the
management of maintenance-of-way activities.