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Getting There: The ISEPTAPHILLY Blog

The Height of Slippery Rail Season is Here

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The height of slippery rail season is here, and we urge our Regional Rail customers to plan ahead for delays and stay up-to-date on travel alerts online and through local news media outlets.

Slippery rail season typically runs from late October through mid-December.

Slippery rail is a condition that occurs when falling leaves, crushed by passing rail vehicles, deposit a residue on the tracks. This coating decreases the friction of a train's wheels, creating slippery rails.

When this happens, travel speeds are reduced to maintain safe operations, especially on inclines and declines and when vehicles approach station platform areas.

SEPTA takes a proactive approach to battling slippery rails, deploying personnel during overnight hours to clear and clean tracks. A combination of water and gel is used to remove oily deposits from the tracks, and crews use high-pressure washing equipment to blast away leaves and their residue. In addition, sand is spread on the tracks to help increase traction.

Always, the safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority. Despite our best efforts, there are times when we will have to reduce travel speeds to ensure that we maintain safe operations. We will continue to use all options available to minimize the impact to customers. Delays are most likely during wet and windy weather. Best thing you can do is plan ahead and check for service updates.

Check for real-time travel updates at, on Twitter @SEPTA, and on the news - we provide travel alerts to all local news media outlets including local television and KYW Newsradio.

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