'Leaf Season' Forces PATCO to Slow Trains, Change Schedule - NBC 10 Philadelphia

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'Leaf Season' Forces PATCO to Slow Trains, Change Schedule



    Falling Leaves Slow Down PATCO Trains

    Fall leaves are causing some PATCO trains to run at reduced speeds. Delaware River Port Authority officials say leaves create an “oily residue” on the tracks that can damage wheels and make it harder for a train to speed up or slow down. (Published Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015)

    Something unexpected could slow your travel plans this fall: leaves. PATCO announced their revised schedule for October through December, the time deemed “leaf season.”

    "This is a common dilemma for rail lines in areas which are subject to seasonal leaf fall,” said PATCO GM John D. Rink in a news release. “The loss of friction created by leaf residue can require that we take affected trains out of service for repairs, which can result in temporary equipment shortages, and can also lengthen the running times because of slower acceleration and more gentle braking.”

    According to PATCO, from mid-October through early December fallen leaves crushed by trains create an oily surface on the tracks. This can cause sliding, slower acceleration and deceleration, and can eventually lead to trains rolling unevenly.

    The schedule adjustment begins Thursday and will continue through early December. During this time, trains between Lindenwold and Philadelphia will run at slightly reduced speeds. Track work on the Benjamin Franklin Bridge will continue on weekends and is still on track to be completed by the end of this year.

    PATCO schedules can be seen here.