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Posted at 3:23 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Examining rail safety

By Luke Rosiak

Yesterday, we wrote that the Government Accountability Office faulted the Federal Transit Administration for its record-keeping of dangerous incidents on subway, passenger and freight railways.

That got us thinking we'd take our own look at the 2,300 incidents reported on the rails in 2010. Among them are 1,400 derailments, 133 side collisions, 6 head-on collisions and 24 fires. 257 people were injured, and 29 were killed.

20 incidents occurred at 80 mph or higher. In total, the incidents caused some $280 million in damage, the data indicates. 627 cars carrying hazardous materials derailed or were damaged, while 37 hazmat cars spilled their contents.

Use the below map to find incidents near you, including a narrative description of the incident. The map colors represent the financial cost of damage, ranging from green on the low end to red at a million dollars or more.

Six incidents occurred in DC, 40 in Virginia and 32 in Maryland. Nationally, there were 24 fires/violent ruptures and 2 explosive-detonations. 900 occurred at night, compared to 1,200 in the day.

An August incident on the Indiana Harbor Belt railroad resulted in three failed alcohol and three failed drug tests: "ON AUGUST 10, 2010, AT APPROXIMATELY 7:20 PM, IHB RUN 528 WAS ATTEMPTING TO MOVE CARS IN BLUE ISLAND WEST YARD IN RIVERDALE, IL. CREW SHOVED CARS INTO TRACK #21 OVER A DERAIL STATIONED TO PROTECT TRACK EQUIPMENT LEFT UNATTENDED. THIS RESULTED IN THE DERAILMENT OF FOUR RAIL CARS AND DAMAGE TO VARIOUS PIECES OF TRACK EQUIPMENT."

Problems on the rails can quickly cascade, as the Post's analysis of Virginia Rail Express delays showed--and riders know all too well.

We looked at the Federal Railroad Administration's Rail Equipment Accident/Incident database. Here, you can delve in a little more.

(This post has been updated.)

By Luke Rosiak  | February 1, 2011; 3:23 PM ET
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Passenger Rail, Traffic Safety, Transportation News  | Tags:  Online tools  
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Comments

Above agency in hyperlink should be Federal **Transit** Agency.

Posted by: transportguy | February 1, 2011 5:00 PM | Report abuse

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