This book recounts the most serious railroad accidents worldwide from 1853 to the present time. Relevant specifics of these disasters have been researched and summary narratives written. The central purpose of this volume is to record the horrendous details surrounding railroad calamities and, more importantly, to investigate, analyze, and derive beneficial knowledge about wreck causes and deduce corrective courses of action, setting forth successful principles of accident prevention that might be useful and applicable in rail operations everywhere. The ultimate purpose therefore has been to determine universal railroad safety doctrines, the application of which will lessen the frequency and severity of future rail accidents and thereby reduce death tolls, passenger and employee injuries, and the attendant financial and material losses.
Covered herein in concise form are the accounts of 70 major rail disasters in the United States and 111 train catastrophes in various foreign countries. Included for quick reference are two tabulations showing pertinent particulars for all the railroad disasters treated in this volume. The reader, if he peruses this long list of wreck narratives, will acquire a unique understanding of the widespread incident of rail accidents and, perhaps, arrive at a personal judgment on how to best further the noble cause of accident prevention. Certainly, he will gain an eye-opening view of the dreadful scope of the long-term operational misfortunes that have plagued the mighty "Iron Horse."
More than one hundred photographs taken at the scenes of the accidents illustrate this volume.
A substantial introduction elucidates the history of railroading in relation to death-dealing mishaps, operating safeguards, railroad personnel, the human factor, the grade crossing dilemma, rail unions and worker discipline, safety research efforts, code of railroad working rules, alcohol and drug problems, the Harriman safety awards, the legendary rail cabooses, and accident prevention guidelines.
The eleven-part appendix includes a historical/statistical review of safety on the United States railroads and reports on the horrendous Louisville & Nashville Railroad hazardous materials spillage at Crestview, Florida, on 8 April 1970. Also summarized are the rail accident prevention philosophies practiced on four foreign railway systems.
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Some of the facts in this book are wrong... I was there when the two trains collided in Wiggins, Colorado. It happened less than a mile from my home. The wreck happened on April 13, 1984, not April 13, 1983. You can find the dates also in law suites filed.
I came across this book by accident whilst searching for shipwreck information.
I read the peice about the Tangiwai rail disaster in New Zealand and was disappointed to see that the details regarding the location of this incident were incorrect.
Tangiwai is located on the Whangaehu River 100's of kilometres from the Wanganui River. The site is marked by a memorial to those that perished there and it's a shame that this small but significant detail is incoreect.
Hope that this book is a better read than this entry.