Whether it deals with a shipper of interstate cargo or a daily commuter, train activity is vital to the success of the U.S. economy. With this reliance on trains for transportation, there is an expectation of safety and assurances that the train will reach the desired destination without incident. The use of compressed air and railroad yard air systems are important to the safety functions of all train activities.

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The Dangers of Failed Brakes

There are many components of a train that rely on compressed air for operations, such as the doors, brakes, and suspension system. When there is no compressed air, a train is unable to stop when needed, the doors would not open and close properly, and passengers find themselves taking a bumpy and uncomfortable ride. The dangers associated with failing or inoperable brakes and doors are numerous. The Hollywood film The Runaway Train is a dramatic example of the dangers of train without brakes, which was loosely based on the real Crazy Eights incident with train out of Ohio. Air brakes that are disconnected or fail to engage can jeopardize the passengers on board a train, but also communities and towns that are situated along a railway line.

Keep Compressors Clean

If impurities enter the compressed air system, it can damage the braking system. When moisture or dirt particles mix with compressor lubricant, it can change the composition of the oil into something pasty and white. The new texture lacks lubricating qualities, and over time the compressor can lock and jam, as it needs lubrication in order to maintain proper function. Proper maintenance is one way to keep a compressor system in good working condition, but knowing where contaminants come from helps yard workers reduce the threat of buildup.

The dangers associated with rail yards and trains are monitored by the Federal Railroad Administration. All railroad companies are bound by certain laws and regulations designed to keep passenger safe and prevent accidents or incidents related to goods transportation.