The Educational Railroading Conference Leader Since 1994


2019 Heavy Haul Session


Derailment Prevention: From Causes to Cures

Brad Kerchof

Brad Kerchof
Norfolk Southern

Gary Wolf

Gary Wolf
Wolf Railway Consulting, LLC

Gary Wolf will provide an historical perspective over the past 50 years on trends in derailment causes and derailment prevention. Wolf will review the progress made in reducing derailments from the 1970’s thru the present. Wolf will highlight the various research initiatives that have contributed to our understanding of derailment causes, and the corrective actions needed to prevent recurrences. In particular, Wolf will emphasize derailments dealing with wheel/Rail interaction. Finally, Wolf will present in summary form 10 key initiatives and technologies that all rail systems, large and small, freight and passenger, need to implement to continue to drive derailment incidents and cost down.

Brad Kerchof will follow Gary Wolf’s presentation with a lesson on switch point inspection and wheel climb derailment prevention, and descriptions of three actual derailment investigations:

  1. Rail rollover due to adverse high rail profile
  2. Rail rollover due to tread-hollow wheels
  3. Broken rail due to a TD that developed under RCF