Chicago train tracks have to be literally set on fire to keep the trains running amid record-breaking cold

January 30, 2019 in News by RBN Staff


Source: The Week

As historically-low temperatures sweep through much of the country, Chicago train tracks are literally being set on fire to keep the trains operating.

ABC News on Tuesday night posted a stunning video of commuter rail tracks in the city set aflame so the trains can keep running while the temperature dropped well below zero.



Jalopnik explains that when temperatures are below zero, “the metal of the train tracks can contract to the point that it will pull up the bolts holding it in place,” and so crews will actually burn the tracks using kerosene to warm them up. Once they’ve been heated, the tracks will “be re-bolted, or welding repairs can be affected on the broken tracks.”

Parts of Chicago are being hit with wind chills as low as 49 degrees below zero, per The Chicago Tribune. The temperature is likely to dip below 27 degrees below zero, which would make Jan. 30 the coldest day ever recorded in Chicago’s history.

— Brendan Morrow