The first major snowstorm of 2014 is about to hit the Northeast, and New York City’s mass transit system is getting ready to fight back.
When it comes to clearing snow off above ground subway and train tracks, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has an impressive arsenal.
The chief tool is a fleet of four jet-powered snow throwers — huge machines that use plows, spinning brushes, and dangerous-looking blowers to keep subways moving.
Each can throw snow as far as 200 feet, and remove 3,000 tons of snow in an hour:
When it comes to clearing subways platforms of snow, however, the job falls to MTA workers with shovels. Platforms are being “heavily salted,” the MTA says.
This snow blower will be put to work on the Metro-North commuter railroad:
And this rail-mounted plow will be working on the Long Island Rail Road:
The MTA also takes care to prepare the trains themselves for snowy conditions:
In advance of the storm, employees begin prepping the fleet: door panels are sprayed with an anti-freeze agent; air brake lines are purged of moisture to prevent them from freezing; electric trains are fitted with special third rail shoes with holes in them to prevent snow from sticking, exposed shoes are treated with de-icers and exposed couplers are covered to keep snow out.
Chains have been put on bus tires, and some longer articulated buses are being taken out of service:
When it comes to clearing rails of ice, there are de-icer cars. Here’s one in action:
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