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MetroLink Completes First Phase of Wood Rail Tie Replacement

MetroLink Completes First Phase of Wood Rail Tie Replacement
December 23, 2015 Jerry Vallely

MetroLink has completed Phase 1 of the wood rail tie replacement project, the first part of a long-term initiative to replace the wood rail ties along 17 miles of the MetroLink alignment between Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and the 5th & Missouri MetroLink Station.

“MetroLink has done a tremendous job of ensuring the safety and reliability of a light rail system that thousands of passengers depend on every day,” said Ray Friem, Executive Director of Metro Transit. “Their hard work and dedication throughout this entire project – often working late in the evening, early in the morning and during the weekend to minimize the impact to our passengers – will protect this investment and keep this critical piece of our region’s transportation infrastructure strong for generations to come.”

The MetroLink Maintenance of Way team and Musselman & Hall Contractors LLC installed nearly 10,000 wood rail ties over the course of 14 weeks, which are the most ties MetroLink has replaced in the shortest amount of time. In all, Maintenance of Way and contractor crews have replaced 36,000 wood rail ties over the four-year span of Phase 1 of the rail tie replacement project. Musselman & Hall Contractors LLC employed about 15 workers for Phase 1 of the project.

This procedure keeps rails secured and properly spaced, and transfer the load from the rail to the track bed. The normal lifespan of a wood rail tie is between 20 to 30 years, and some sections of the original alignment are more than 22 years old.

The replacement of railroad ties is just one part of the overall MetroLink maintenance program that actively maintains and modernizes critical components of the light rail system. In the past year, MetroLink crews have updated safety infrastructure at MetroLink stations and platforms, and upgraded key components of MetroLink’s power system.

Metro is currently seeking additional funding to complete Phase 2 of the rail tie replacement program.

Video: Watch how wood rail ties are replaced in the video below.