Oil on the tracks

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ryan125hst

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I hope this is the right place for this thread- please move it if not.

I have noticed that at many stations, the platform lines are covered in a black liquid, which I presume is oil.

The question is, why is there do much oil on the track? It isn't just terminus stations. I have seen it at stations where trains only stop for a few minutes. The roads aren't like this- you don't see the areas around traffic lights covered in oil! But cars and buses also have engines with oil in them, so why do they leak less of it?

What causes so much oil to be lost?

Are certain train classes worse than others (I'm guessing diesels are worse than electrics, but can anyone be more specific?)

How is it cleaned up?
 
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miikey

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You might be seeing the result of rail lubrication systems. On the transition to a curve we put rail flange lubricators on the gauge face of the rail to prevent the wheel flange from rubbing against the gauge face of the rail. Sometimes these become over active and can spew out grease. This then turns black from all the muck and can carry quite a way down the track.
I don't know if this is what you are seeing?
 

John55

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I hope this is the right place for this thread- please move it if not.

I have noticed that at many stations, the platform lines are covered in a black liquid, which I presume is oil.

The question is, why is there do much oil on the track? It isn't just terminus stations. I have seen it at stations where trains only stop for a few minutes. The roads aren't like this- you don't see the areas around traffic lights covered in oil! But cars and buses also have engines with oil in them, so why do they leak less of it?

What causes so much oil to be lost?

Are certain train classes worse than others (I'm guessing diesels are worse than electrics, but can anyone be more specific?)

How is it cleaned up?
Roads surfaced with bitumen/tar etc are black so the oil does not show up. Roads surfaced with concrete are light coloured and the oil does show up.

Railway ballast is generally light coloured so the oil shows up.

The road surface outside my house is disintegrating under the concentrated attack of the oil from my previous next door neighbours leaky sump.
 

ole man

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At Paddington and most stations there is a membrane put down between the rails, this is i assume because trains stable and sit there for a while.
It is black and quite thick and every night at Paddington there is a gang who walk the four foots sweeping the oil and soaking it up.It looks like most of the platforms at PAD are concrete slab, so oil would just sit there and not seep through like it would on Ballast
 

jopsuk

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It's very much a diesel thing- this can be seen clearly at a station such as Cambridge, which is served by short (2-3 car) diesels and long (4-12 car) electrics. The mucky ballast is only where the Turbostars stop. Indeed, this can even be seen just to the south of the station- there are signals controlling entry on the down main and a loop alongside it. Disels only ever use the mian- and there's black marks showing where they come to a stand at the signal. The loop, used only by electrics, is relatively clean (barring the waste from the loos on the 317s, but that's a different matter). I'm not sure why railways diesels seem to deposit so much oil- it's celarly something that even modern units and locos do.
 

michael769

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At busy town and city center bus stops where buses tend to sit and wait you will often see this as well. I suspect in the case of buses it is down to a lack of adequate maintenance - but on the railways it does seem to be quite systematic for diesels to leak when standing.
 

Grantham

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Railway diesels are more prone to leaks because the motors are large. As the big parts expand and contract some fluids will be lost, even in the best maintained locomotives.

Dare I add that most English motors seem to leak worse than anyone else's, the old joke about English built machines is that if there is no oil under it, then there is no oil in it. ;)
 
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