Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Performance Measures

Home

Train Derailments

About the measures

MnDOT tracks the number of rail derailments each year. Train derailments occur when one or more wheels of a rail car or locomotive come off steel railroad tracks. Derailments are an indicator of relative safety of the railroad system, as they can cause death, serious injury, hazardous materials release, and property damage. Derailments can be caused by issues with track, equipment, signals, human error, and track obstructions.

Recent trends

Following the lowest point in the previous 10 years in 2020, train derailments increased for the second consecutive year to 26 in 2022. Overall, train derailments have been trending downwards from the peak in 2014.

Where we want to go

MnDOT rail inspectors ensure that railroad track and equipment are following federal safety regulations, which are designed to reduce equipment and track related derailments. Additionally, MnDOT invests in improvements at grade crossings to prevent train-vehicle collisions at crossings which can lead to derailments. MnDOT also maintains and updates a State Rail Plan to advance railway planning and investment.

Learn more