A rail-grinding project under way on the MAX tracks from Northeast 82nd Avenue through the end of the Blue Line in Gresham should deliver a better ride and lower maintenance costs, TriMet officials said.

The rail grinding needs to be done overnight when the MAX trains are not running, so the work is scheduled from 11:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays for the next four weeks.

Residents along the tracks from Gateway east through Gresham might hear the equipment during the work, said Roberta Alstadt, a TriMet spokeswoman. The grinding does generate sparks, but the contract crews are following the necessary fire watch precautions to suppress any sparks that might ignite, she added.

The grinding is needed to restore the rail’s curved top, which regular wear and tear from the trains flattens over time. It also creates bumps on the rail.

Every year or so, a rail grinder equipped with stones underneath is run back and forth over a section of the track to grind away the bumps, but it doesn’t restore the curved top of the tracks.

The work, known as profile grinding, will create a better fit between the steel wheels of the MAX trains and the rails, resulting in less sway for the trains and a quieter, smoother ride. The grinding also extends the life of the rails, reducing maintenance costs for the system.

— Mara Stine

Contract Publishing

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