Train derailment leads to serious issues and has the potential to be deadly. When a train derails, it holds up train traffic, damages the tracks and causes a snowball effect on the immediate area that leads to everything shutting down.
Railsystem.net explains a derailment occurs when the train goes off of the rails, but it does not require the train to leave the track completely, which is a common misunderstanding. There are a variety of things that could cause a derailment.
Changes in the track
A train may easily go off the track if it is damaged or changed in a way that prevents the train wheels from maintaining contact. For example, a bent rail or rail that has sunk into the ground can easily send the train off the track. If the rails widen because of a broken or worn tie, this also will lead to the train coming off the track. Trains require tracks to be in good condition and up to specification to allow a smooth traveling situation.
A derailment may also happen if the operator does something to cause issues. For example, going too fast for the conditions or not observing signage could lead to the train going off the track. In addition, situations, such as collisions, can also lead to a train derailment. An inexperienced operator may also have an accident due to not being able to handle the train properly.
Finally, a failure of something with the train could lead to a derailment. Mechanical failure might include a broken wheel.
While it may seem simple to keep a train on the track, there are a variety of factors that can lead to a train derailment. Many times, though, the factors leading to a train going off the tracks are something proper maintenance and operation can avoid.