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February 9, 2012

MetroLink Rail Grinding Operation: Protecting the investment in the track system

Dianne Williams
Director of Communications     

Starting at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 10, an important maintenance project will begin on MetroLink rails. “This work hasn’t been done on the MetroLink alignment since the late 1990’s and we are overdue,” says Ray Friem, Metro’s Chief Operating Officer. “Periodic grinding of rails is necessary to extend the life of the tracks and improve track quality.”

The work will be performed at night after peak commute times to minimize transit delays. The project, which will cover the entire 46 miles of the MetroLink alignment, will begin in Illinois. The grinding operation will move to Missouri in March and is expected to be completed in early April.

The special equipment used for the rail grinding will produce sparks, so a fire suppression crew will always follow the grinder, and Metro will alert fire departments and other emergency responders in advance when the grinder is in their jurisdiction.

The grinding equipment Metro will use is designed for use urban environments. It uses industry leading technology to reduce noise levels and has the most advanced dust control system available.

MetroLink trains will operate on a single track in areas where grinding is in progress. Below is the rail grinding schedule for Friday, February 10 through Sunday, February 12:

Beginning Friday at 8 p.m., MetroLink will implement single track operations at the Memorial MetroLink Station until the end of service each night so rail grinding crews can work on the tracks between the Fairview Heights and Memorial MetroLink Stations. Red Line customers may experience delays of between 5 to 10 minutes. Blue Line service will not be affected by the work.

Metro will update customers weekly on where on the alignment the rail grinding work is scheduled to occur and how operations and customers will be affected. Updates on MetroLink operations can also be found at www.metrostlouis.org in the Rider Alert section or by calling Customer Service at 314-231-2345 or 618-271-2345 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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