Contractors lend railroads a hand in derailment recovery efforts

The train accident rate per million train miles has dropped 50 percent since 2004 and derailments have declined significantly over the past few decades.

Railroads have made strides in preventing derailments caused by broken rails and hot journals or bearings because they’ve employed better detection methods. However, derailments caused by human factors — such as improper braking applications, train handling procedures or switch alignments — have been increasing the past several years.

So despite prevention efforts that have been paying off for some time, about 1,000 derailments still occur every year in the United States. After one happens, railroads seek help from contractors to quickly restore operations, prevent or control any hazmat spills, repair infrastructure and rolling stock, and investigate and determine the cause.

To learn more about the services these contractors provide, read my article that now appears in our June issue. If you have any thoughts on or stories about derailments, please share them.

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