FRA refutes index ranking regarding train derailments

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
short line railroad
Oklahoma’s Kiamichi Railroad has received a $10 million federal grant for rail improvements.

24/7 Wall Street, using numbers from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the Association of American Railroads, has created an index ranking the best and worst states when it comes to rail infrastructure. The index shows the number of train derailments between 2015 and 2019 per 100 miles of track. In the U.S., there have been 4.8 derailments per 100 miles of track over the last five years.

Train derailments happen the most frequently in New Jersey, with 10.9 derailments per 100 miles of track. Coincidentally, the state also is the worst in the country when you combine highway, bridge and rail infrastructure.

The FRA, however, is claiming the index is bogus. Several other factors go into derailments, including traffic density and train speeds. New Jersey also has a large number of rail yards, where derailments can happen at very low speeds.

New Hampshire has recorded zero train derailments since 2015.

The index has the following states with the highest train derailments per 100 miles of track: California (7.6 derailments per 100 miles of track); Illinois (7.7 derailments per 100); Texas (7.8 derailments per 100); Nebraska (7.9 derailments per 100); and New Jersey.

The fewest derailments are in Vermont (1.7 derailments per 100); Rhode Island (1.7 derailments per 100); Maine (1 derailment per 100); Alaska (0.6 derailments per 100); and New Hampshire.

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