Big Yellow Visitor
The City of Merrill had a large yellow visitor on Friday afternoon as a contracted railroad track grinder made its way south. The 400,000 pound machine is manufactured and operated by Loram Inc., which is based in Hamel, MN.
The lead vehicle grinds crossings and switches to improve rail safety while the second vehicle is a support vehicle and the actual engine itself.
The vehicle has 4,500 gallons of water onboard which is used to moisten the tracks and put out any spot fires that may be caused by the grinding. Two water cannons on each end and two side cannons along with 800 feet of hose is used to suppress any fires. Working in snow-filled Wisconsin, fire is not a main concern but as the crew travels south fire suppression and safety is a chief concern.
The crew which passed through Merrill was operating Lomar’s specialty grinder known as RGS-8. It is contracted by Canadian National to clean its tracks and is one of 10 units Lomar has operating in the United States. The local crew passed through Merrill with a final destination of New Orleans, a destination that will take nine more months to reach.