Metro-North: 'Slime' On Tracks To Blame For Autumn Delays


A slimey substance that results from crushed wet leaves on train tracks has caused hazardous conditions for Metro-North this week.

The "slip-slide" conditions have resulted in delays for commuters this fall season, the transit agency says.

It is likely such conditions will cause issues for commuters this weekend, with rain in the forecast for Friday night and Saturday.

“In severe cases, the train will automatically make an emergency stop, because the on-board computer system perceives ‘slip-sliding’ as the train not slowing down when it should. And this slip-sliding during braking also creates flat spots on the train's wheels, forcing us to take much-needed equipment out of service for repairs.”

Metro-North says it deploys rail washes and scrubbers to remove the slime. Some trains will sprinkle sand on the tracks to reduce slippage and improve traction. Train-tracking systems have also allowed maintenance to be alerted of the hazards.

But incidents of slippery rails cannot be wholly eliminated, adds the agency.

Photo: Getty Images