Train wreck

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Versailles rail accident in 1842, 57 people were killed including the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville.
Montparnasse derailment with one fatality at Gare Montparnasse in Paris, 1895
Wheels from Engine Tender#013 which was destroyed in a wreck in 1907 on a bridge over Village Creek between Silsbee and Beaumont, Texas. The wheels are on display in the Arizona Railway Museum.

A train wreck, train collision, train accident or train crash is a type of disaster involving one or more trains. Train wrecks often occur as a result of miscommunication, as when a moving train meets another train on the same track; or an accident, such as when train wheels come off a track in a derailment; or when a boiler explosion occurs. Train wrecks have often been widely covered in popular media and in folklore.[citation needed]

A head-on collision between two trains is colloquially called a "cornfield meet" in the United States.[1]


Train accidents can occur due to a range of factors, including one or more of the following:

  • Human error – One of the leading causes of train accidents is human error.[2] This can involve train operators failing to adhere to safety protocols, distraction, fatigue, impaired judgment, or inadequate training.
  • Mechanical failures[3] – Equipment malfunctions or failures, such as faulty brakes, defective signaling systems, or problems with locomotives or railcars, can contribute to train accidents.
  • Track and infrastructure issues – Poorly maintained tracks, inadequate inspection procedures, or infrastructure deficiencies like weakened bridges or faulty switches can lead to accidents.
  • Weather conditions – Severe weather conditions, including heavy rain, snowstorms, or extreme heat, can impact track conditions, visibility, and the overall safety of train operations.
  • Sabotage - People who break, place something, or destroy tracks, this is called rail sabotage.[4]
  • Attack - Anyone such as terrorists or shooters disrupted rail traffic such as bombing or shooting on a train.[5]

Train wreck gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Definition of CORNFIELD MEET". Retrieved 2021-07-19.
  2. ^ "There are about 3 U.S. train derailments per day. They aren't usually major disasters". March 9, 2023. Retrieved June 7, 2023.
  3. ^ Shiner, Attorney David (2021-03-02). "Top 10 Causes of Train Accidents". Shiner Law Group Personal Injury Lawyers & Accident Attorneys. Retrieved 2023-06-07.
  4. ^ "Are the railroads being sabotaged causing derailments?". 19 February 2023.
  5. ^ "Train Wrecks and Track Attacks: An Analysis of Attempts by Terrorists and Other Extremists to Derail Trains or Disrupt Rail Transportation". 20 July 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Aldrich, Mark. Death Rode the Rails: American Railroad Accidents and Safety, 1828–1965 (2006) excerpt
  • Vaughan, Adrian. Obstruction Danger: Significant British Railway Accidents, 1890–1986 (Motorbooks International, 1989). online

External links[edit]