What Happens When A Train Goes Off Track? Here’s How Rerailing Works

Thanks to modern technology, the heaviest trains can be moved back into place.

Image: Pexels / Gije Cho

Trains are the lifeline of a country’s transportation system. From passengers to valuable goods, they take everyone and everything to their destination and connect distant places. Due to such wide array of applications, numerous trains commute all across the country every day. As a consequence, the railways crew needs to stay on its toes for responding to unusual incidents such as train derailment.

In case you don’t know, derailment refers to the situation where a train accidentally comes off the railroads. This can happen because of a number of reasons, such as broken tracks, faulty wheels, collision with another object, etc. A derailed train can cause obstruction on the route and delay or suspend another train’s movement.

Fortunately, the railways crew can get a derailed train back on track using either a rerailer or a hydraulic jack. The specific method opted for a given derailment incident depends on certain factors. Here’s a video that gives you some glimpses of how the rerailing process works.

Train rerailing methods


Image: aldonco.com

Rerailer is an ad-hoc equipment meant for guiding a train back onto the railroad. It is appropriate for when the train has only been slightly displaced from its designated path and there has been no damage to the wheels or tracks. These rerailers are used in a pair, out of which one is placed on the inside of the track and the other on the outside. Repairmen can manually change the orientation of the rerailers for achieving the best results.

During the rerailment process, the repair crew first checks the amount of displacement and identifies the right spot for placing the rerailers. Once that’s done, a suitable pair of this equipment is fixed to the ground using its clamps. Finally, another vehicle carefully pulls the train back to the tracks.

Hydraulic jack

hydraulic jack
Image: railway-technology.com

A hydraulic jack is a powerful alternative for rerailing train carriages. It suits the occasions where derailment leads the train a reasonable distance away from the tracks. Also, these sturdy jacks come in handy for trains that are carrying a heavy payload. Built from a high strength metal base, this equipment can lift tons conveniently.

For moving derailed trains using this equipment, the crew starts by assembling and placing a metal platform underneath the displaced train. The repairmen then slide the hydraulic jack components on the platform and adjust it into the right position. After this, they connect the jack to the motor which powers it. Once the jack comes into play and lifts the train, a crew member uses the console interface to cautiously move it in place.

As easy as it sounds, rerailing is instead a challenging and meticulous work that demands precision. Besides this, there are other laborious tasks that a railways maintenance team performs. These include railroad replacement, crosstie replacement, and train wheel replacement.

Priye Rai

Priye Rai

Priye is a tech writer who writes about anything remotely related to tech, including gaming, smartphones, social media, etc. He prefers to be called a "video game journalist" and grimaces when he doesn't get to be "Player 1." If you want to share feedback or talk about games, reach out to @priyeakapj on Twitter.
More From Fossbytes

Latest On Fossbytes

Find your dream job