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METROLINK PROJECT WILL BE REAL GRIND FOR TRACK CREWS AND SOME PASSENGERS.

Byline: Don Holland Daily News Staff Writer

Rail maintenance along Santa Clarita's Metrolink line will mean a lot of noise next week and bus trips for some commuters.

On Sunday and Monday, Metrolink maintenance crews will grind their way along the track, smoothing and refinishing the top of the rails.

Also, beginning today, workers will begin replacing some track through Santa Clarita, and for midday service only, buses will replace the commuter trains. The buses will run Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays through March 5 for buses passing through Santa Clarita from 12:30 p.m. to 2:26 p.m.

Regionwide, the $350,000 maintenance project will recontour just over 300 miles of Metrolink railroad tracks throughout the greater Los Angeles area to maintain the strength of the rails and eliminate wear patterns that can weaken both rails and train wheels.

``Imagine a very large version of your knife sharpener or scissors sharpener,'' said Metrolink spokesman Francisco Oaxaca. ``It's a very loud sound of grinding stones on metal.''

The grinding also removes surface corrosion that can interfere with railroad signals. The rails were last refinished about a year ago.

The maintenance train, which began refinishing rails in the San Bernardino area Monday, travels at about 700 feet per minute and will cover an average of about 25 miles per night.

``The grinding train is constantly moving, so it won't be creating all that commotion in any one spot for a very long time,'' Oaxaca said. ``And nobody gets to hear us a second time. We just appreciate the public's patience in letting us get this work done.''

The 800-foot-long grinding train is equipped with 80 spinning grinding stones that can produce a cascade of sparks. A tank car containing 40,000 gallons of water will bring up the rear to prevent sparks from touching off a fire.

The work will take place between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Because the grinding train moves relatively slowly, Metrolink officials had to arrange for freight trains that use the same lines to adjust their schedules.

Metrolink operates 128 daily trains, serving 46 train stations in six counties, with an average daily ridership of 27,000 passengers.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 3, 1999
Words:365
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