Montana Rail Link decreases grinding following wildland fire - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Montana Rail Link decreases grinding following wildland fire

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Following the wildland fire sparked by a train, the Montana Rail Link is addressing its safety procedures.

Each year Montana Rail Link contracts with a third party to provide rail grinding maintenance across their network. The grinder profiles the rail and removes any hardened material on the rail. 

MRL says that rail grinding is an important track maintenance process that is commonly performed in the railroad industry. 

This maintenance process improves rail safety and ensures the railroad can provide reliable rail service to the Montana communities. Additionally, the train is equipped with water cannons on the front and back of the train to pre-soak and after-soak the right-of-way while the train is operating.  

The train is also equipped with water spray nozzles to wet the rail ties continuously. MRL adds that they also have spotters following the train equipped with water tanks. 

In their press release, MRL said, "We are thankful for the Frenchtown Fire Department’s assistance and quick response on Sunday and Tuesday in addressing the issues that arose near Frenchtown and Evaro Hill."

MRL has invested over a billion dollars in their network in the past 30 years to improve safety. In 2017 their $40 Million annual maintenance program includes:

  •          Installing 135,000 new ties
  •          Installing over 23 miles of new rail
  •          Resurfacing 245 miles of track
  •          Investing nearly $4 Million in bridges and tunnels
  •          Investing nearly $3 Million in rail signal equipment and upgrades
  •          Investing $4.5 Million in new work equipment

Due to elevated fire danger, MRL has made the decision to significantly decrease the grinding schedule across the network for the remainder of the summer from an estimated 30 days of activity down to 9 days.

In addition, they'll be presoaking the work area with additional water when grinding is occurring. 

Rail grinding will resume later this year when fire danger subsides.

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