We're setting our train tracks on fire, too

No, not the subways - they catch on fire easily enough all on their own. But the Globe reports that as the temperature plunged, Keolis turned on switch heaters, some of which blow hot air, but others of which consist of flaming jets designed to keep the switches operable in the cold.

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Seeing this and pics from Chicago

Having spent years watching every last Thomas the Tank Engine episode, I could only imagine Sir Topham Hat dispatching James and Percy, and Percy fuming about having to pass through a flaming corridor.

This isn't a new practice ...or it might be a throwback

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I remember riding the Commuter Rail into town in the 1990s and regularly seeing blue gas flames licking the switches in the yards as the train approached North Station on cold nights. I think they had gas heaters installed on them. I don't know if they were removed or replaced (with electric heaters) at a later date, or if I just missed them (I don't ride the CR as much today as I did then).

The North Station yard still

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The North Station yard still has gas switch heaters installed. They get used on average at least once a year.

Pretty much every year there's news coverage as if it's something unusual though. It's not.

What happened to the plans to

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What happened to the plans to repair and add electric heaters to the third rail where the subway is above ground?