Runaway train

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This article is about uncontrolled train movements. For various amusements, cinema and music using this term as a title, see Runaway Train.

A runaway train is one of various types of incident in which unattended rolling stock is allowed to accidentally roll onto the main line, a moving train loses enough braking power to be unable to stop in safety or a train operates at unsafe speeds due to loss of operator control. If the uncontrolled rolling stock derails or hits another train, a train wreck may result.

A railway air brake can fail if valves on the pipe between each wagon are accidentally closed; the 1953 Pennsylvania Railroad train wreck and the 1988 Gare de Lyon train accident were results of a valve accidentally closed by the crew, reducing braking power.

A parked train or cut of cars may also run away if not properly tied down with a sufficient number of hand brakes.


Accidents and incidents involving defective or improperly-set railway brakes include:


  1. ^ Huffstutter, P.J. (8 July 2013). "Insight: How a train ran away and devastated a Canadian town". Reuters. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "DR Congo crash toll 'passes 100'". BBC News. August 2, 2007. Retrieved May 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ David Patch (November 12, 2010). "At times, 'Unstoppable' goes off track from reality". Toledo Blade. 

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