How common are train derailments - 96.9 WINK FM

How common are train derailments


Two weeks ago, a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in eastern Ohio. Investigators believe the incident was likely due to mechanical issues. In the days since, the safety of America’s railways has become a hot topic.

The derailment in Ohio has led many people to voice their concerns about the incident, including Florida Senator Marco Rubio. He’s pushing for accountability.

On Wednesday, he sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Transportation regarding its oversight of the U.S. freight train system.

Rubio wants to know what steps the department is taking to prevent something like this from happening again.

It begs the question, how common are train derailments, and how often are they catastrophic?

The most recent and available numbers from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics say from 1990 to 2021, there were an average of 1,705 train derailments per year. In 2021, there were 1,087 train derailments. That amounts to an average of about 90 per month..

It’s not necessarily suspicious to have three within a couple of weeks. Although they are common, they are not commonly catastrophic.

Out of the approximately 1,000 train derailments in 2021, there were three deaths.

According to one railway & engineering safety expert, derailments that result in the release of hazardous materials are “extremely rare.”

There are close to 3,000 miles of freight railroad in Florida. WINK News is digging into how many derailments we’ve seen in our state over the past few years.

If you have a question or topic you’d like us to dig into, email


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