What are some causes of train accidents?

Categorized: Train Accidents

What are some causes of train accidents?

There are dozens of causes of train accidents. From animals on the track to broken rails and malfunctioning signals, train accidents do happen. This is not a claim that the industry wants to announce, however when mass transit accidents happen like the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, then it bears consideration.

When a train accident occurs, finding the cause of the crash is a core part of filing a claim. Some of the most common causes of train accidents in the U.S. are below.

Broken Rails

According to a May 2015 article published in Scientific American, which cites data from the Federal Railroad Administration, broken rails and welds are a leading cause of train derailments, and therefore accidents.

In fact, broken rails account for more than 15 percent of train derailments in the U.S. The second and third most likely causes of train derailments are track geometry and bearing failure.

Train Drivers’ Dangerous Actions

A train conductor has little control over broken rails. What a train conductor does have control over, though, is the level of safety with which he or she operates a train.

A train conductor can be held liable for negligence if he or she partakes in any of these behaviors.

  • Drinking alcohol prior to running a train
  • Speeding
  • Taking a turn too quickly
  • Failing to adhere to the laws and posted stopping areas

Malfunctioning Signals, Lights, or Crossing Markers

Sometimes, a train accident occurs because something along the train’s path or tracks is broken.

  • Malfunctioning signals
  • Bearing failure (mentioned above)
  • Broken lights
  • Defective or ineffective crossing markers


The accident may involve another train, a vehicle, or a pedestrian. When a track isn’t properly maintained, the likelihood of a piece of equipment malfunctioning and an accident occurring is higher. 

Objects and Debris on Tracks

Again, track maintenance is crucial for train accident prevent; if tracks are not maintained, the risk of an object on the track, leading to an accident, is increased. Objects may include anything from animals to people to garbage or pieces of equipment.

After a Mass Transit Accident, what’s next?

When a mass transit accident does happen, victims need to act quickly. Things you can do right after a train accident include hiring a lawyer as soon as possible and seeking medical attention for related injuries immediately.

If you’re a victim of a train accident, you can find more resources on the website of Cordisco & Saile LLC, attorneys at law. You can also call us today for a free case consultation at 215-642-2335. We’re ready to help you!

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