Maintenance work will mean a better ride on MAX between northeast Portland and Gresham


Work being done overnight Sundays-Thursdays for about 4 weeks

A rail-grinding project is underway on the MAX tracks from NE 82nd Avenue in Portland through Gresham. The result will be a better ride and lowered maintenance costs.

The rail grinding needs to be done in the overnight hours when MAX trains are not running. The work is scheduled for 11:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays for the next four weeks or so. Residents along the tracks from Gateway to Gresham may hear the equipment during the work. The grinding does generate sparks. Contract crews are following necessary fire watch precautions to suppress any sparks that may ignite.

Grinding restores rail’s curved top

Wear and tear from regular train activity creates bumps on the rails and flattens out the profile or curve on top of the rail. Every year or so, TriMet brings in a piece of machinery called a rail grinder that looks similar to a small freight train. The grinder is equipped with stones underneath. It is run back and forth over a section of the track to grind away the bumps. For the current project, TriMet is bringing in a specific type of grinder that not only smooths away the bumps, it also restores the curve on the top of the rail.

End result? A better ride

This work, known as profile grinding, will result in a better fit between the steel wheels of the MAX trains and the rails. This will mean trains will sway less; the ride will be smoother and quieter. The grinding also reduces maintenance costs for the MAX system by extending the life of the rails.