Train derailment recovery and how the right rail recycler can help

Train derailment recovery can be a massive challenge for any railroad company. The process demands heavy attention and a lightning-fast response to get things running smoothly again. A railroad company has to be ready to contain the situation, clean up the area, and recover any and all damaged materials at a moment’s notice.

Derailed train

It’s easy for smaller rail companies, like short line and regional railroads, to become overwhelmed with the amount of work involved after a derailment happens. Even large Class I companies that have many resources at their disposal may still need a hand to help increase their effectiveness and efficiency. In situations like these, having a railroad services contractor who can provide assistance is key.

As a rail company manager or owner, you probably already have a plan in place in the event of an accident on your line. However, how long has it been since you’ve reviewed that plan? It’s possible that, with a few adjustments and a little research, you may have better control over the chaos resulting from a train derailment when it happens.

Do your research beforehand

Planning for the inevitable is always a good idea, especially when it comes to train derailment recovery. No one wants to frantically search for and choose a contractor to assist in the cleanup process after an accident. You could find yourself in a bad partnership with a company that hinders, rather than helps, recovery.

Use your knowledge of your line, its geography and what goods are transported to find contractors with the services you might need in the future. Then, contact those companies with specific questions in mind and compare their answers. Keep their contact numbers handy, too. You never know when you’ll need them.

Things to consider when choosing a railroad services contractor

It is essential to the successful completion of train derailment cleanup to work as efficiently as possible. The longer it takes for your rail company to clear and repair that section of track, the more money, not to mention community goodwill, you’ll lose.

Whether you’re relying on a contractor to run the entire operation or just pitch in, you need to know some basic things about their company. For instance:

- How quickly can the contractor mobilize? You don’t want to be left waiting, especially when the track needs immediate attention.

- How well do they operate as part of a team? Do they communicate well with each other and the management on-site? You certainly don’t want to be left in the dark about what’s going on with the rail crews that are supposed to be assisting you.

- What kind of equipment does the contractor have access to for clearing track debris and wreck hauling? They’ll need the right tools to clean up quickly.

Finding the right contractor with the right set of skills for your rail company is going to take time. However, it’s better to choose the best people for the job before a train derailment happens rather than pull your hair out when you’ve chosen poorly due to a rushed decision.

Recycling your damaged rail cars and track

The high cost of train derailment recovery cleanup can certainly deal a blow on your yearly budget. Selling and shipping damaged cars or rail shipped as scrap can offset those costs. Trouble is, the longer you have to wait for that to happen, the more strain it puts on your day-to-day operations.

Working with a contractor who has experience brokering and processing any scrap materials the derailment created can expedite the process. In addition to quick rail-car dismantling and steel rail bundling, you’ll receive the funds from your scrap faster, helping ease your financial burden.

You’ll want to get a fair price for your materials, too, so research how the contractor brokers those goods and goes about pricing them. Is their process transparent and easy to understand? If a contractor slaps a small check in your hand without showing their work, you may want to rethink giving them your business.

Ready to help, whether you’re big or small

Now is a great time to review how you tackle a train derailment situation and the companies that provide you assistance when that time comes. Even if you have a contractor you’ve worked with in the past, consider how another company may be able to strengthen and streamline your process. After all, the last thing you want happening after a train derailment is for your response to go off-track.

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photo credit: Bob Elderberry via photopin cc