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Ryan

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Would the money be better spent on protecting the electrical system, though? For example on ROW maintenance to cut back trees that might fall on the tracks in a hurricane or ice storm? Or protecting the towers that hold up the wires from adjacent roads by installing jersey barriers or concrete bolsters on the road side of them?
Not really.
 
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Would the money be better spent on protecting the electrical system, though? For example on ROW maintenance to cut back trees that might fall on the tracks in a hurricane or ice storm? Or protecting the towers that hold up the wires from adjacent roads by installing jersey barriers or concrete bolsters on the road side of them?
Last time Metra Electric had damage to the catenary it was caused by a derailing freight train (during a polar vortex when service had been temporarily discontinued due to the wires were too brittle for service luckily). So add moving freight faaar away.
 

jis

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Experience in Russia, China and Northern and Alpine Europe suggests that the concerns about damage to catenary by snow and ice is vastly over-rated. There are many other things that in reality cause service disruptions before catenary failure comes into play. A catenary system properly designed for the environment that it operates in can be remarkably resilient to weather related failures.
 
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Experience in Russia, China and Northern and Alpine Europe suggests that the concerns about damage to catenary by snow and ice is vastly over-rated. There are many other things that in reality cause service disruptions before catenary failure comes into play. A catenary system properly designed for the environment that it operates in can be remarkably resilient to weather related failures.
Agreed - having lived in artic/sub-arctic areas with electric trains (and electric everything else except cars and a few older oil heating systems) it was a total non-issue.

Why it's an issue with Metra (other than money and aging infrastructure) I don't know - one would have thought that the system was engineered for our climate, which is sub-tropical in summer and can be sub-arctic in winter. In this case it was the masts being knocked down (I think just one, but the wire came down and tangled) by the derailment. I give Metra kudos for getting it back up quickly in brutal conditions.
 
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