SEPTA Enters Height of Slippery Rail Season

SEPTA Enters Height of Slippery Rail Season

Customers Urged to Plan Ahead for Possible Delays on Regional Rail

SEPTA is entering the height of slippery rail season, and is urging Regional Rail customers to plan ahead for delays and stay up-to-date on travel alerts online and through local news media outlets.

Slippery rail is a condition that occurs when falling leaves, crushed by passing rail vehicles, deposit a residue on the tracks. This coating decreases the friction of a train’s wheels, creating slippery rails. When this happens, travel speeds are reduced to maintain safe operations, especially on inclines and declines and when vehicles approach station platform areas.

SEPTA takes a proactive approach to battling slippery rails, deploying personnel during overnight hours to clear and clean tracks. A combination of water and gel is used to remove oily deposits from the tracks, and crews use high-pressure washing equipment to blast away leaves and their residue. In addition, sand is spread on the tracks to help increase traction.

“The safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority,” said SEPTA General Manager Jeffrey D. Knueppel. “During slippery rail season, there are times when we will have to reduce travel speeds to ensure that we maintain safe operations. We will continue to use all options available to minimize the impact to our customers, and we urge them to plan ahead and check for service updates.”

Slippery rail season typically runs from late October through mid-December. Customers are most likely to experience delays during wet and windy weather.

SEPTA posts real-time travel updates to, on Twitter @SEPTA, and travel alerts are sent to all local news media outlets. Customers can also get the latest travel details from the Official SEPTA App, which is available as a free download for Apple and Android devices.

Download in PDF Format