"Train derailments in the United States aren’t exactly common, but they happen much more often than you might think. According to the Federal Railroad Administration, more than 300 derailments happened in 2012 alone. Nearly all derailments are traced back not to negligence or a mechanical problem on the train, but to an issue with the tracks."

Crude Oil Cars and Train Derailments, Explained

A satellite navigation system now in its design phase, SafeRail, from the European Space Agency, will allow train operators to track their location in real time and send a signal that triggers a stoplight or lowers a traffic gate at a train crossing. Existing systems “have very complex risk models” but tend to discount human error, says project manager Rob Postema. The data can even be linked to in-car GPS units to alert drivers. 

4 Ways to Make Our Trains Safer

Railroads have seen a recent uptick in highway-rail crossing and trespassing fatalities. But the memories of the gruesome events don’t just haunt families and friends of victims, they stick with train engineers and conductors as well—sometimes for a lifetime.


Part of the Job: How Engineers Deal With Death on the Railroad

Railroads have seen a recent uptick in highway-rail crossing and trespassing fatalities. But the memories of the gruesome events don’t just haunt families and friends of victims, they stick with train engineers and conductors as well—sometimes for a lifetime.

Part of the Job: How Engineers Deal With Death on the Railroad

“Statistically, every 94 minutes something or someone is getting hit by a train in the United States,” says David Rangel, deputy director of Modoc Railroad, a training school for future train engineers. Now, most of those incidents don’t involve people—Rangel’s statistic also includes the occasional abandoned shopping cart, wayward livestock, and other objects that somehow find their way onto the tracks. But, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), 784 people were killed in train-related accidents in 2013, the highest total in the last four years.


How Trains Can Be Silent Killers
 

“Statistically, every 94 minutes something or someone is getting hit by a train in the United States,” says David Rangel, deputy director of Modoc Railroad, a training school for future train engineers. Now, most of those incidents don’t involve people—Rangel’s statistic also includes the occasional abandoned shopping cart, wayward livestock, and other objects that somehow find their way onto the tracks. But, according to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), 784 people were killed in train-related accidents in 2013, the highest total in the last four years.

How Trains Can Be Silent Killers

 

Amtrak will freely admit it has used a patchwork of locomotives to pull its trains over the last three or four decades, and those locomotives have racked up nearly four million hard-earned miles. Starting today, though, it hopes that one new workhorse will haul American trains in the future. 

Amtrak’s New 8600-Horsepower Locomotive Reports to Work

Amtrak will freely admit it has used a patchwork of locomotives to pull its trains over the last three or four decades, and those locomotives have racked up nearly four million hard-earned miles. Starting today, though, it hopes that one new workhorse will haul American trains in the future. 

Amtrak’s New 8600-Horsepower Locomotive Reports to Work

Earlier this month, a 100-year-old water main in Philadelphia burst, spewing 13 million gallons of water onto a parking lot, inundating several nearby stores, and causing an estimated $3 billion in damages. It’s far from the only example of major American cities relying on aging infrastructure—we found some of the oldest still in operation.

The Oldest Working Infrastructure in America

Soaring bridges, rising towers and stunning stadiums: 10 Engineering Feats of 2013 

The world’s largest, smallest, and strangest model trains.