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Metro prepping for a black-ice Christmas

With forecasters expecting freezing rain on Friday morning (shifting to normal rain and possibly localized flooding later in the day), Metro is staging de-icing equipment and personnel ahead of time.

From the WMATA press release:

Starting at 10 p.m. tonight, Thursday, December 24, Metro will have de-icer trains operating on the above ground portions of track and will continue to run those trains throughout the night to help keep the electrified third rail free of ice. The third rail must be ice-free to allow the flow of electricity from the electrified rail to transfer to the train to keep the train powered.

Ice-fighting equipment and supplies are on hand and being staged throughout the rail system to treat station entrances, parking lots, walkways and station platforms.

"We will continue to monitor the weather conditions closely and deploy our resources to allow us to continue to provide safe service. Our employees will continue ice removal throughout Christmas day as necessary," Metro General Manager John Catoe said.

Metro also is using "heater tape," which has been installed on sections of track with significant grades/inclines and in critical areas in the rail yards. The heater tape is a cable clipped onto the electrified third rail that is turned on when temperatures dip below the freezing mark. It helps keep the third rail warm enough to prevent ice from forming.

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  December 24, 2009; 4:07 PM ET
Categories:  Metro , Weather , holiday travel  
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Next: Metro to stay open late for Redskins game


"Ice-fighting equipment" sounds a little overwrought. How about "ice-melting equipment?"

Posted by: fusillijerry | December 24, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

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