BNSF banks on campaign to turn up the heat on track buckle prevention (2/23/2004)


Although winter still has a month's worth of cold and snow to unleash, and summer is four months away, Burlington Northern Santa Fe is launching a campaign to prevent track buckles caused by excessive heat.

"The Heat is On" campaign is designed to promote and reinforce work habits to help prevent track buckles. Last year, BNSF experienced seven derailments caused by track buckles; this year, the railroad has set a goal of zero such derailments.

"The recent cold weather in many locations across our railroad has resulted in a focus on repairing pull-aparts, broken rails, clearing snow and staying warm," said Mike Armstrong, BNSF assistant vice president and chief engineer, north, in a prepared statement. "However, we shouldn't be fooled by the current conditions. Warmer temperatures are just around the corner."

During the next few months, BNSF engineering officials plan to send supervisors a series of emails and voicemail messages describing ways to encourage employees to follow proper procedures. The messages would review engineering policies for installing ties, renewing rail, replacing temporary rail plugs with field welds, monitoring rail stress, inspecting track and communicating concerns about rail condition. Supervisors also will emphasize buckle prevention during training sessions and field audits.

"Every one of us in the field can play a role in preventing track buckles," said Armstrong. "By eliminating track buckle derailments, we will not only improve safety on our railroad, we will also help ensure that we're equipped to consistently meet customer expectations for service."

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News