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Chicago Has Set Its Train Tracks On Fire For This Reason

Published on 31 January, 2019 at 5:00 pm By

The Midwestern United States is reeling under extreme cold conditions where forecasters have even warned of “life-threatening extreme cold.” During this people are feeling temperatures in the range of -40s, -50s, and even -60s (Fahrenheit). Millions of Americans living across the Midwest (comprising much of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and Dakotas) experienced a freeze normally reserved for the Arctic Circle.


The nearly unthinkable temperatures has led to the collapse of electrical grids and caused airline gas lines to freeze. The dry and frigid air has also led to spontaneous nosebleeds, and made even brief forays outdoors extremely hazardous.



The region’s largest city, Chicago, also witnessed a record low temperature. Given that temperatures are in the range of -50s, getting around got a lot tougher. To tackle this, people who keep the commuter trains running have come up with a hot idea.



They have set the train tracks on fire. The system is used by Chicago commuter railroad Metra that runs along rail tracks to generate flames and heat to prevent rail and switch defects from the extreme cold that could halt train service.

Here is the Instagram post by Metra:



As per Metra, once the metal is warmed up and expands, crews can then reconnect the separated rails.

To those looking from a distance it may appear that the rails are on fire, but it’s not actually the case. “Despite popular belief, the tracks themselves are not on fire,” the agency said.

The process has given rise to pictures and videos that are now going viral on social media. Check out them:



The practice isn’t just used during extreme arctic weather events, but anytime the temperature dips near zero.

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