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Other MaintenanceIn addition to weekly maintenance, Caltrain also does other work to maintain the rail line.
Three times a week, crews use a “hyrail” vehicle to perform a visual inspection of the tracks. This is a specially equipped pick-up truck that can be used either on roads or rails, changing from rubber tires to steel wheels according to the need.
Twice a year Caltrain uses a track geometry car to measure deviations in the tracks. This on-track vehicle uses a sophisticated computer system to measure and record the alignment of the track.
Three times a year Caltrain uses a “detector” car to find flaws in the rails. This on-track car uses ultrasonic equipment to detect minute flaws in the rails that are not visible to the naked eye. These flaws may the result of manufacturing defects or simply develop over time. If a critical flaw is found, it must be repaired immediately.
Switches “switch” a train from one track to another. Each switch is checked during regular weekly inspections. In addition, every switch is examined once a month by an inspector on foot.
All crossing gates are tested once a month. The gates must be activated to conduct this test and they may remain down longer than normal.
Once a year, Caltrain uses an on-track truck to spray weed killer along the right of way. Weed abatement is necessary to prevent brush fires on and around the train tracks.
Annually, a rail-mounted grinder smoothes out defects and restores the shape of the rail. This reduces noise for neighbors next to the right of way and provides a safer, smoother ride for passengers.
06.26.2009 - eeg