It’s the thing no train operator wants to face. But it happens every day. It’s the inevitable.
Train derailments can cause millions of dollars in property damage and take up railroad owners’ valuable time. With improved safety measures, railroads have cut down the number of derailments over the years, but train accidents and derailments can still affect every line. We can’t tell you how to avoid derailments entirely, but we can give you some advice on using derailment services to recover value for your damaged property.
Some relevant train derailment statistics
For a little background on the inevitability of derailments and why railroad owners should have a derailment recovery plan in place, here’s a little data from the American Railroad Association (ARA).
In the last 10 years (2003 – 2012), there’s been an average of 2,368 train accidents each year, including an average of 1,697 train derailments per year — that means there’s one derailment every 5 hours and 10 minutes.
Even if humans were perfect train operators, accidents would still happen every day. Over those 10 years, human error has caused an average of 893 accidents per year — about 38 percent of all incidents. Derailments are also expensive. Train accidents caused more than $112 million in damage in 2012 — and those are just the ones the ARA reported. They only keep publicly available statistics on the 20 percent of accidents that reported $100,000 or more in damage.
If you’ve been able to avoid big derailments, it still pays to have a solid plan in place. And part of that plan should include recovering as much value as possible from inevitable train derailments.
Recovering value from a train derailment
Railroad companies can recover some of their losses from train derailments by properly managing derailment cleanup and selling the scrap metal generated by accidents. That includes setting up a management plan, creating a safety plan, and sorting the different types of metals in a train. It’s important, in many cases, to wisely choose a competent contractor to handle the process.
By properly sorting your rail scrap, you’ll be able to raise its scrap metal value. Often, railroad owners will simply bundle all of their railroad scrap together and shortchange themselves by selling it as one package. But different metals earn different prices, and some types of rail scrap carry particularly high value, such as scrap railroad wheels.
To learn more about recovering value from a derailment, click below and request our rail scrap management guide or set up a free rail scrap assessment for your line.