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Accident Data & Reporting, Investigations

To keep the railroads safe, FRA collects and analyzes data from the railroads and converts this information into meaningful statistical tables, charts, and reports that you can find on the FRA Safety Data site .

In addition to Railroad reported accidents and incidents, FRA continuously monitors the occurrence of train accidents and incidents and investigates serious events to determine their cause and compliance with existing safety laws and regulations. Detailed information on FRA investgations is available here.

Railroad Reportable Accidents and Incidents

(see CFR Title 49 Part 225 for specific details)

(1) Certain deaths or injuries.

  • Death of a rail passenger or a railroad employee;
  • Death of an employee of a contractor to a railroad performing work for the railroad on property owned, leased, or maintained by the contracting railroad; or
  • Death or injury of five or more persons.

(2) Certain train accidents or train incidents.

  • A train accident that results in serious injury to two or more train crewmembers or passengers requiring their admission to a hospital;
  • A train accident resulting in evacuation of a passenger train;
  • A fatality resulting from a train accident or train incident at a highway-rail grade crossing when death occurs within 24 hours of the accident/incident;
  • A train accident resulting in damage (based on a preliminary gross estimate) of $150,000 or more to railroad and non-railroad property; or
  • A train accident resulting in damage of $25,000 or more to a passenger train, including railroad and non-railroad property.

(3) Train accidents on or fouling passenger service main lines.

  • That involves a collision or derailment on a main line that is used for scheduled passenger service; or
  • That fouls a main line used for scheduled passenger service.

FRA Investigations (general criteria)

  • Any collision, derailment, or passenger train incident resulting in at least one fatality or serious injury to railroad passengers or crew members
  • Any railroad related accident resulting in death to an on-duty railroad employee including an employee of a contractor to a railroad, regardless of craft
  • Any highway-rail grade crossing accident resulting in
    • Death to one or more persons being transported in a commercial vehicle or school bus:
    • Serious injury to several persons being transported in a commercial vehicle or school bus:
    • Death to three or more persons in a private highway vehicle; or
    • No fatality, but involving a malfunction or failure of an active warning device that allegedly contributed to or caused the accident
  • Most Amtrak related accidents/incidents
  • Any train accident/incident with damages exceeding $1 million
  • Any non-casualty train accident resulting in the derailment of a locomotive and/or a large number of cars, and extensive property damage
  • Any train accident/incident resulting in a fire, explosion, or release of a regulated hazardous material, especially if it exposed a community to these hazards or the threat of such exposure
  • Any accident/incident involving a train transporting nuclear materials
  • Any train incident involving runaway equipment, with or without locomotives
  • Any collision involving maintenance-of-way or hi-rail equipment
  • Any accident caused by failure of a locomotive or any part of a locomotive, or a person coming in contact with an electrically energized part that resulted in serious injury or death of one or more persons
  • Any other train incident/accident that is likely to arouse considerable public interest
  • Contact us
  • Federal Railroad Administration
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC 20590
  • Regional Offices