Railroad operations, like other industries, need to be prepared with heating solutions from the effects of seasonal climate change. The diversified winter patterns that include snow, ice, wind, storms, and temperature fluctuation can all influence effective operations.
For this reason, preparations need to be made that take the following issues into consideration:
- Snow and Ice Melting or Thawing
- Signal and Instrument Freeze Protection
- Sustainable Equipment Operation
- Propane Tank Maintenance
- Temperature-Sensitive Product Storage
While other applications need to be addressed, these are a few of the more obvious.
It goes without saying that railway safety and the achievement of economic efficiencies are priorities for the entire industry. There are several areas of concern but few are more important in realizing these objectives than:
- Maintenance of Way
- Signals and Communications
- Hot Box Detectors (HBD)
- Dragging Equipment Detectors (DED)
- Wayside Detectors Systems
Each of these areas has their own specialized equipment needs, but both take heating solutions into account when addressing the challenges of winter weather. For example, products such as greases, lubricants, and chemicals used in day-to-day maintenance can pose an application problem. These products are usually stored in drums, pails, totes, or large tank. The viscosity due to cold climate may restrict their use, thus delaying the maintenance process. Heating these products prior to application prevents downtime. Prevention of downtime in turn saves money and keeps operations on schedule.
At first glance some of these matters may seem less than critical in nature. When you consider the impact of railroad transport on the overall economy, the equation changes. According to the American Association of Railroads, six commodities account for over 75% of the shipping Tons Originated and 69% of the Gross Revenue for railroad transport.
These commodity categories are:
- Chemicals & Applied Products
- Farm Products
- Non-Metallic Minerals
- Miscellaneous Mixed Shipments
- Food & Kindred Products
Perhaps you ask what purpose or significance these statistics serve. The costs associated with impeding on-time delivery of goods and services can have an effect both economically and environmentally. What this points out is the significance of advanced planning in anticipation of seasonal and climatic changes. This includes cold-weather heating solutions, which can impact some geographic areas for six months to an entire year.
Benefits of an effective heating solution:
- Prevents snow and ice buildup from impeding service levels
- Provides freeze protection for continuous operation
- Keeps signals, communication equipment and instrumentation operational
- Insures accurate transmittal of incident data
- Reduces transportation slowdowns, delays, and stoppages
- Maintain schedules and on-time delivery of goods
Do railway operations benefit from effective heating solutions? I think so, and trust you agree!