Saturday, January 31, 2015
Davis Motor Sales banner ad
Posted on 2/2/14

HOPKINS COUNTY, KY—The occurrence of several CSX train derailments in our region over the last few months has peaked local people’s interest. Mainly, people want to know why the mishaps have occurred so close together.

While CSX has been unable to provide a public explanation for the recent derailments, iSurf News would like to present a few railway facts and a possible theory that can be related to local derailments, which include recent occurrences in Madisonville, Slaughters, and Hanson.

According to the Federal Railroad Administration’s (FRA) Office of Safety Analysis, there have been 596 train accidents from January until April of this year, 2010.

On their official website, the FRA defines the phrase, “train accidents,” as “an event involving ontrack rail equipment that results in monetary damage to the equipment and track above a certain threshold. Lading, clearing costs, [and] environmental damage is not included.”  Of these accidents, the FRA states that derailments account for 71.98%, which translates to 429 derailment type occurrences. The FRA also lists the rates/occurrences of 5 primary causes for these accidents overall, as well as the percentage rates respective to each of the primary causes in total, which are as follows: Human Factors—190 (31.88%); Track Defects—198 (33.22%); Equipment Defects—84 (14.09%); Signal Defects—17 (2.85%); Miscellaneous Causes—107 (17.95%).     

From this data, and in conjunction with safety reports from previous years, “Human Factors” and “Track Defects” are clearly the two main causes for national train accidents. While it is quite difficult to theorize on reasons and/or actual accidents resulting from human errors, there are several track defections which show up somewhat regularly across the nation that could account for what we’ve seen locally.

A theory for local accidents and a relatively common cause for train derailments in general, can originate from excessive heat. This problem is referred to as “heat kinking.”

Basically, during multiple days of extreme heat, the temperature of steel tracks can rise sharply, causing them to expand into wavelike shapes known as "heat kinks." Sometimes, the tracks expand so far out of their normal gauge that cross ties and ballasts, which normally shore up the rail and provide structural support, can no longer do their job. Though iSurf News cannot say for certain, it is entirely possible that the recent accidents in our local area may be directly related to this type of track defect. What’s more, is that these types of track warps are somewhat common to the East Coast and its adjacent inland areas, as over 100 accounts of heat kink related incidents can be found in reports stretching from Maine to Florida this year alone. In addition, the harsh climate shifts that the East Coast and neighboring areas sees during seasonal changes—going from very cold to very hot—does nothing more than intensify the conditions a continuous rail track needs to warp.

Though it’s possible that there are impurities in the metallurgical workings of our local railways, which can also cause an increase in heat kinks (as rails with weaker heat tolerances give way to “buckling” or “flipping” much easier), there is no way to know for sure without an official statements from CSX. In addition, recent railway maintenance errors and construction techniques may have also played a part in the accidents, yet as stated above, making any kind of theory in relation to human error or improper procedure is redundant as there is know direct way of knowing as of this time.
 
Luke Short
iSurf News
Data Provided by the Federal Railroad Administration
 

© Copyright 2015 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16
2/6/2014 - posted
3/13 - 16

Most Read This Week

January 28, 2015 17364

UPDATED: Several Involved in Two-Vehicle Accident

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 26, 2015 7757

KSP Arrests Two on Child Porn Charges; MPD…

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Trooper Stu Recke
January 25, 2015 7532

Dean’s List Announced

in Top News For All Sites Touching Hopkins by Joyce Riggs
January 28, 2015 6662

Nortonville Man Accused of Meth Possession,…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 26, 2015 5449

School Board Votes 3-2 for Utility Tax

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 5398

Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of Child

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 25, 2015 5057

Juvenile Hit by Vehicle at McDonald's

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by GPD Officer Wes Miller
January 28, 2015 5006

Tax Recall Committee Formed Day After School…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News

Most Read This Month

January 08, 2015 22529

Woman Claiming to be 'Lady Gaga' Tours Town in…

in Top News For All Sites by Madisonville Police Department
January 15, 2015 22143

UPDATE: Fatality Victim's Name Officially Released

in Top News For All Sites by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News

Stories Trending Today

January 29, 2015 5398

Man Charged with Sexual Abuse of Child

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 3448

UPDATE - Students Have until Jan. 31 to Enter…

in General News For All Sites by James R. Comer
January 30, 2015 2335

Woman Arrested for Allegedly Attacking Police…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department/Hopkins County Detention Center
January 29, 2015 2135

Kentucky Highway Crews Prepare for Possible…

in Top News For All Sites by Keith Todd
January 29, 2015 1961

Hopkins County Health Department Food Scores Thru…

in Hopkins News by Barry Franklin
January 29, 2015 1927

Group Organizing Prayer Circle for Youth

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Doreen Dennis, SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 1801

Hopkins County Sheriff's Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Hopkins County Sheriff's Office
January 29, 2015 1787

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Jan. 29, 2015

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
January 29, 2015 1616

Keystone Approval Will Boost the Economy, Support…

in General News For All Sites by Robert Steurer
January 29, 2015 1558

Protect Your Sensitive Information from Hackers

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News
January 29, 2015 1407

Whitfield Meets with Fort Campbell Soldiers

in General News For All Sites by Marty Irby
January 29, 2015 1369

Revive the Art of Letter-Writing

in General News For All Sites by SurfKY News