During the recent polar vortex that brought temperatures as low as -60 F through the upper Midwest of North America, there were many news stories highlighting the extreme measures railways take to keep tracks clear of snow and ice buildup. Switches are one of the most critical aspects of rail infrastructure, which is why switch heating solutions are often the focus when describing how railways operate in extreme cold, snow and ice. There are, however, other areas of track infrastructure that equally critical to safety and reliability that railways account for as part of a winter operational plan.
Third rail (also called contact rail), for example, provides electrical traction power that propels rail
vehicles in many types of passenger rail networks throughout the world. Third rail could be susceptible to loss of traction due to snow and ice-buildup, leading to major service disruptions that could leave passenger stranded. In addition to rail switch heating, nVent offers heating solutions for other critical rail infrastructure, including an innovative line of heating systems specifically designed for third rail electrification.