Like many railroads, the Amtrak Downeaster experiences slippery rail conditions in the fall when leaves and other debris drop on the railroad tracks and are crushed by passing trains. This creates an oily residue on the tracks that can result in train delays.
For the past three years, the Amtrak Downeaster has borrowed the MBTA Rail Washer that is specifically designed to clean the track along heavily wooded areas. The train operates at 10mph along the Downeaster route and consists of a 26,000 gallon tank car filled with water and a flat car that carries the power washer mechanicals that produce 10,000 PSI strength to clean the tracks. The rail washer has been very effective at reducing slippery rail conditions along the Downeaster route.
Check out the rail washer train in action below.