Monday, October 31, 2011

Meanwhile, You're Scraping Your Windshield Again

Last year, Scotland had a particularly snowy winter. Some of this snow, as snow will do, fell on train tracks. What that does is, it gets under the train and, with enough snow and even ice, it messes with the undercarriage. There's also the matter of de-icing the train once it pulls into a depot. Scotland saw 70 trains damaged last year from ice falling from the train. Two trains even got stopped in snow, and you know how much it takes to stop a train. To add insult to injury, the second train was a rescue train sent out as a response to the first. (Passengers ended up having to walk, in howling wind and snow in the middle of the night, all the way back to a third train.)

Scotland is ready for that if it happens again. They've borrowed some technology from Finland- and the local farm. They'll be using 75-meter polytunnels- usually used for protecting crops- which are heated and contain powerwashers. Skirts have also been added to the trains, which project to be de-iced in a third of the normal time- a cut from six hours to two.

And, of course, workers at the depots have plows and shovels on hand. You would hope.

Am I bitter that we were going to get high-speed rail in Watertown and it got ripped right out of our hands by idiots? No. Why do you ask?

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