Rail joints cause the clickety clack sound familiar to train riders. Eliminating rail joints makes the train quieter for passengers and for neighbors living near the tracks. Welded rail also is stronger and therefore safer than jointed rail.

Thanks to extensive track rehabilitation work completed in recent years, the Caltrain tracks have very few joints and the railroad is working to eliminate the remaining rail joints. In addition, rail joints may need to be repaired. Crews are able to weld about two joints in one night.

The welding crew uses air compressors, gas-powered generators, small power tools, electric-arc welders and propane heaters, which can make “howling” noises. Neighbors also may hear a grinder, which is used to prepare the rail surface before it is welded and to smooth the completed welds.

06.26.2009 - eeg