subparagraphs that follow but before that discussion begins, it should be pointed out that a distinction must be
made between good and bad plant growth along the right of way. Plant life which protects against slope erosion
must be preserved. That which interferes with drainage and creates a poor appearance should be destroyed,
including weeds that foul ditches, interfere with drainage, and serve no useful purpose.
a. Eliminating weeds from the track is generally done with chemical sprayers or weed burners, although
hand mowing is necessary if other equipment is not available. The sprayers or burners are often mounted on a car
and the whole unit moved by a locomotive, so that the work progresses quickly and is done thoroughly. When
burners are used, firefighting equipment should be carried with the unit to extinguish any fires which might start
in the ties or in the vegetation beside the right of way.
b. To eliminate weeds from the test of the right of way, scythes and brush hooks are most often used.
However, mechanical mowers and sickles of both the on-and off-track types are frequently used because they
save time and labor. One type of rail-mounted mowing machine is shown in figure 4.6. It is being moved by a
railway motor car.
RAIL JOINTS IN SUMMER
Rail joints are designed and assembled to provide freedom for rail expansion during hot weather.
Occasionally, however, a joint becomes "frozen"; that is, the rail cannot expand within the joint. If this happens,
the rail may buckle under the great stress of restricted expansion. If a joint is working, that is, is not frozen, an
area of shiny metal is visible under the head of the rail where it has worn against the joint bar. If track inspection
shows gaps between rails that should have closed because of high temperature, it is wise to see if the joint is
working. If not, the joint bars should be loosened or removed, slushed with oil, and replaced with proper bolt
tension. Special attention should be given insulated joints in the summer to insure they are separating track
circuits as is their purpose.
SNOW AND ICE
During a severe winter, snow and ice increase the maintenance workload, may disrupt service, and may
endanger lives and equipment. Large snowdrifts can completely obstruct service. Ice in flangeways of frogs,
crossings, or station areas can derail trains. Snow and ice on station and loading platforms endanger passengers