Derailment Investigations

Prevent Costly Disruptions with our Derailment Investigations

Derailments are costly, cause service disruptions, create customer dissatisfaction and affect company reputation. A derailment investigation is the first step in recovering from an accident and getting your rail operations back on track. TÜV Rheinland is the Leading Independent Consulting Firm specializing in Derailment Investigation. Our experts can help determine the cause of the accident and recommend implementations necessary to reduce future risk. TÜV Rheinland uses a three-pronged approach to deal with derailments:

  • Simulation Modeling
  • On-Site Investigation
  • Training

Today's derailments tend to involve complex interactions between the rail car vehicle, the track and the train operation. In addition, inter-departmental strife, lack of investigative skills and time pressures are all detrimental to accurate derailment cause finding. Contact TÜV Rheinland for more information about derailment investigations.

For 24 hour accident or derailment hotline, please call +1 404-294-5300

Benefits at a Glance

With Derailment Investigation Services from TÜV Rheinland, you can:

  • Eliminate future accidents or derailments by determining the root cause of the derailment,
  • Avoid service disruptions, and increase customer confidence
  • Work with a team of highly qualified inspectors with years of experience and expertise
  • Ensure compliance with the required legal, safety and quality specifications
  • Benefit from our state of the art methodology to analyze derailment cause and effect

Our Services for Derailment Investigation

Simulation Modeling

Simulation models are a quick and accurate way to determine possible derailment cause. In a standard derailment analysis, TÜV Rheinland starts with the entire train and calculates the in-train coupler forces on the first derailed car. We then model the performance of that first derailed car, subjected to those in-train forces, over the section of track where the derailment occurred. TÜV Rheinland uses several longitudinal coupler force analysis programs to determine the in-train forces. We also use VAMPIRE™ to analyze the forces on the derailed vehicle.

On-Site Investigation

TÜV Rheinland is available to perform on-site investigations. We have a rapid response go-team that can be at the derailment site as quickly as travel arrangements can be made. We also have a complete inventory of the tools and gauges necessary to perform track and car measurements. Our tools include surveying equipment, mechanical gauges and photographic equipment.

Derailment Investigation Training

In addition to derailment investigations, TÜV Rheinland is actively involved in preventing derailments. One key to derailment prevention is understanding the mechanics of derailment and determining the root cause. TÜV Rheinland has been educating the railroad industry for over 16 years on how to perform effective derailment investigation and how to prevent derailments. TÜV Rheinland periodically schedules seminars for public attendance. However, we will consider providing sponsored seminars to interested parties

On-Site Investigation Projects

TÜV Rheinland has investigated over 1500 individual derailments for many domestic and international railroads. Over 400 investigations have been performed on site with simulations and consultations provided for the remainder. A partial list of our projects include:

  • Lead Project Consultant to the Doublestack Dynamics Task Force (DDTF) which was designated to determine the cause(s) of 125 ton doublestack derailments. TÜV Rheinland directed and supervised a research budget over $300K during project consultation. DDTF developed viable solutions that were implemented and have since resulted in dramatic reductions in doublestack incidents
  • Participated on an independent team requested to analyze the cause of gage spreading derailments on the FAST loop at the Transportation Test Center in Pueblo, Colorado
  • Developed a complete Derailment Prevention Program for a Class I Railroad including setting up database system, collecting and analyzing data on a daily basis, performing derailment analysis, presenting over 20 derailment cause finding seminars, developing division quality teams and organizing and facilitating monthly management review meetings
  • TÜV Rheinland has trained personnel for the following railroads: UP, SPTC, BN, BNSF, CP, CN, CSX, MRL, BC Rail, FEC, Roberval & Saguenay, Quebec Cartier Mining (QCM), SNIM (Mauritania, Africa), BRC, HBT, EJE Ontario Northland, Indian Railways, FRA, NTSB, Transport Canada, IHB, Intercor (Colombia), Long Island Railway, Dequeen & Eastern, METRA, MTA, Illinois Central, Wisconsin Central, Genessee & Wyoming
  • Lead Consultant for several high profile derailments including:
    • Cantara Loop - SPTC
    • Cajon Pass Runaway - BNSF
    • Weyewauga WI
    • Freeland, MI
    • Tennessee Pass Runaway, UP
    • Batavia, NY - Amtrak
  • Lead consultant to industry task force studying dynamic stability of single axle intermodal cars, including simulation modeling and testing of car in derailment regimes
  • Lead consultant to TTX in studying dynamic curving performance after derailments of drawbar-connected intermodal platform cars