4. Snow Removal Cars

Photo via Flickr by the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Although the majority of NYC’s subway is underground, 40% of tracks are on the ground or elevated overhead. In the winter, the MTA needs to clear snow from the tracks. When a storm hits, subway doors are sprayed with antifreeze, moisture is removed from brake lines to prevent freezing, and special rail shoes are attached to trains.

The MTA also maintains a fleet of snow removal machines to clear subway tracks. This special fleet is made up of Snow Throwers, De-Icer Cars, Jet Blower rail cleaners, and R156 diesel locomotives. The Snow Thrower machines can throw snow up to 200 feet and move 3,300 tons an hour. The Jet Blower, a snow blower with a jet engine mounted on it, reaches 315 degrees Fahrenheit. This powerful car can evaporate and blow snow off of everything in its path. The Rotary Snow Thrower removes snow lying on the tracks while cleaning the contact rail with brushes. De-icer cars scrape the rails with anti-icing fluid.