Maintaining the Railroad

Continuous Inspection

Railroad infrastructure is continually affected by weather and time, and as such, must be constantly inspected and improved. You’ll often see our specialized hi-rail pickups driving atop the rails as we perform routine track inspections, the schedule for which is determined by federal standards.

Continuous Improvement

Our maintenance cycles are the result of a system-wide, comprehensive evaluation of the most important maintenance needs. Such needs are driven by time and condition, yes, but also by traffic levels, track speeds, topography, historical wear and tear, future operating plans, hazardous materials shipments, passenger operations and a host of other factors.

Improving our railroad physically makes it safer, more efficient, and more reliable. While rails were originally as light as 85 lbs.—by railroad lingo, that means the rails weigh 85 lbs. per three-foot section—our new rail installations are 136 lb. rail, which is a 60% improvement from previous standards. We are also replacing standard wooden crossties with steel or composite crossties, where practical, as a more long-term look at infrastructure safety and investment.

In addition to investing in our own network, we work with federal, state and local agencies to administer grant funding that helps preserve our country’s transportation infrastructure, most of which was constructed in the 1800s and has been in continuous use ever since. One of the primary locations for these types of projects is at highway-rail grade crossings, where we partner to make the ride of the motoring public as smooth as possible, and their encounters with our trains as safe, and uneventful, as possible.

Maintenance Equipment

Much of our maintenance work is performance by specialized orange and yellow machines, which make for a unique sight as you see them working along the highway or within towns. There is also, however, a large amount of railroad work that must be done by hand, as it has been done for over 150 years. We aspire to provide our employees the latest, lightest, most effective tools for every task, and frequently participate in experimental evaluations of new products to further improve our processes and minimize employee exposure to hazardous tasks.

Beyond Rails and Ties

Does it seem like maintaining a railroad is all about rails and crossties? Other areas of our continuous railroad maintenance work include track line and surface corrections, turnout (track switch) inspection and repair, public and private grade crossing maintenance, highway-rail grade crossing line of sight maintenance for motorists, automatic grade crossing warning system maintenance and improvements, vegetation control, brush removal, ditching and drainage work, building maintenance and repairs, washout and disaster response, snow removal, as well as bridge inspection, bridge realignment and bridge repairs. It takes the successful performance of all of these types of work to keep a railroad operating smoothly, efficiently and safely.


Safety Contacts

All Emergencies (24-7)

855-854-6333 (Toll-free)

Sam Pate

General Manager

410-754-5735 Ext. 101

Email Sam