I came across a new one the other day. Conrail ran a "grinder" train through the area this week. It travels along grinding the rail smooth. They say they do it 4 times a year. I never paid any attention to it until the other day. This spring has been especially dry. The grinder has shields which drop down on the side to protect from starting brush fire along the sides of the tracks, but what these same shields funneled the sparks from grinding directly to the center of the ties. When we were called to the scene we had 10 - 15 ties burning, on a high speed commuter rail. I meet up with a Conrail official who was putting out fires with a water can. He had already put out fires on 200 ties when he got to our scene, all in a 2-3 mile area. First time we have encountered this problem that I can recall.

Be Safe.