FACT: Incidents that occur within private industries, and do not involve hazardous material or do not involve injury, are not required to be reported to the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
FACT: Documentation from two Class 1 railroads testify to the fact that approximately 20% of their reported incidents occur while they are operating within private facilities that they service.
FACT: Class 1 railroads spend a disproportionally lower percentage of their time servicing industries than regional, short line or industrial railroads. A reasonable assumption would be that smaller railroads suffer an even higher rate of the incidents that occur on private property.
FACT: Railroads often require service agreements from their customers that require the customer to accept a disproportionate amount of the liability incurred from a rail incident, regardless of fault.
FACT: Most industries perform the majority of their rail switching needs themselves. A reasonable conclusion would be that they suffer a larger portion of rail incidents than any railroad that services them and that ratio may well be a multiple.
FACT: Private industries suffer at least hundreds of millions of dollars annually from rail incidents: equipment and infrastructure damage, environmental damage, facility down time, lost time injuries and fatalities.
SOLUTION: Proper operations training and regular track inspections can lower rail incident ratios substantially.