Fall has finally arrived, and slippery rail season is soon to follow.
Schedule changes prompted by “leaf season” will impact PATCO High-Speed Line riders beginning Saturday. Trains will run a bit slower, as falling foliage leaves an oily excess on rails that “can cause train wheels to slide” and require a “longer time to accelerate and decelerate.”
Riders should expect slight adjustments until around the beginning of December. Changes to weekend and weekday service can be found on PATCO’s website.
SEPTA also considers falling leaves’ effect on tracks when putting together fall schedules, said spokesperson Andrew Busch. Regional Rail schedule changes went into effect on the last weekend of September, while changes on most buses, trolleys, and subway lines, and the Norristown High Speed Line, went into effect earlier last month.
The transportation authority has an “aggressive maintenance program” that includes using water and gel to remove residue and high-pressure washing equipment, as well as sand to ease slippery conditions, Busch said.
NJ Transit has announced that starting Sunday, it will begin using a high-pressure power washing system to remove leaves and oily residue from tracks in hilly North Jersey areas to try to prevent train delays. NJ Transit trains also are equipped to spray sand on the rails in front of their wheels to increase traction.
And the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is warning of the potential dangers of wet leaves in bike lanes. In a blog post, the coalition shared tips such as to avoid braking and speeding up when riding on wet leaves is unavoidable.