The On-Line Magazine of Rideable Model Railroading


© May 1, 2005 

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"We're On The Ground!"

"On The Ground" is a railroading term for a derailment.

Written by Mark C. Gregor  

When the cry is heard "we're on the ground" the adrenalin flows quickly thru the bloodstream of railroad employees.

The first concern is the safety of people who may be in the area of the derailment danger. The conductor verifies his manifest to determine what if any hazardous materials are being transported and the location of those cars in his consist. A visual check of aerial utilities and the possibility of buried gas, and petroleum pipe lines being disturbed that could result in a catastrophic conflagration are being scanned.

A chain fall is being used to keep tension of the derailed truck as the locomotives are pulling the car onto the re-railing frogs.
The railroad dispatcher is contacting local emergency responders who may not yet be aware of the derailment. Information between the head end crew, railroad dispatcher, train master, division superintendent, and maintenance of way personnel is traveling at the speed of light!
Resources could vary from local authorities to CHEMTREC, HULCHER, perhaps even a local news helicopter to assist in the emergency.

The curiosity of the general public is also a major safety issue to the railroads. People do not realize what the potential danger is in "stored energy". Twisted rails could break sending spikes and debris thru a crowd of onlookers with fatal results. The bolts that connect the fish plates or joiner bars on rail can fail under stress and discharge with killing velocity.

The installation of re-railing "frogs" being attached to both rails.

This week, a derailment on an industrial spur did not reach the national media in part due to the professionalism of the head end crew. A five mile per hour speed limit was observed and that also was a factor in keeping two derailed cars upright.

These photographs show the successful re-railing efforts by a co-ordinate team of professional railroad personnel.


Written by Mark C. Gregor  

The re-railing of equipment onto the rails using the re-railing frogs.



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