I work for a company who cleans up derailed trains. I spend a lot of time out of town.

Comments: 2193 • Responses: 40  • Date: 

Dandrift891287 karma

Bull shit. Amtrak's derail all the time.

richardkittennixon805 karma

What causes most trains to become derailed?

Dandrift891091 karma

Fluxuations in weather, poor maintenance on track, or broken rail car parts. Sometimes conductor error.

pseudolobster1346 karma

Never pennies?

Dandrift891284 karma


richardkittennixon222 karma

Ok last question, might not be incredibly relevant though. Ever find a body of someone who commited suicide on the tracks and if so, is that what caused a train to derail?

Dandrift89536 karma

Nope sure haven't. A human body won't derail a train. The wheels will just cut three what ever part of the body would be on the track. Train would just keep on rolling. Well unless the conductor seen it happen.

D3VO_Lution689 karma

How often do you play Train Simulator 2013?

Dandrift89770 karma

Never but I would try it.

CharlesKB618 karma

Have you ever seen this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fTC5MdcKLk

What are your thoughts on it?

Dandrift89745 karma

They are stupid. Plain and simple. But in my line of work its job security bitches!!!

HOH_SIS547 karma

Dandrift89437 karma

Oh my! Sorry I'm not helping

Roonerth413 karma

Have you ever railed twins?

Dandrift89436 karma

I'm pretty lucky I haven't had to personally yet. My day will come.

nickbead302 karma

as someone who worked railroad contracting, I am curious how many drug addicts you work with?

Dandrift89450 karma

With the company I'm in none. Random drug tests all the time and if Even the slightest issue happens say someone backs a vehicle into a tree or what have you even no damage.Next day your taking a drug test.

sarah_cate1284 karma

Do the engineers usually get badly hurt when a derailing happens? How often do trains derail?

Dandrift89517 karma

The locomotive is ussualy still on the tracks. Its the middle of the train or the rear that will usually derail. Engineers do get hurt from time to time , but mostly from deer or humans that fly threw the windshield.

Dandrift89433 karma

Forgot to get your other question. Derailments happen daily around the world. But a derailment can be anything from a 20 car pile up to a one axel falling off the rail.

c-wiz102 karma

...humans? that often??

Dandrift89194 karma

Not daily or anything but it happens.

SuedoNymph268 karma

What is your official job title? Is your company's slogan "We rail trains"?

Dandrift89245 karma

I'm just a laborer. The company I work for does more than retail trains. But for a slogan I font know of one. If it does it has something to do with safety I'm sure.

leftanantcolonel235 karma

What qualifications are required to get your job? Also,how frequently do derails happen?

Dandrift89488 karma

Two arms, two legs , two eyes , two ears , and a brain that can comprehend orders. That's about it. Daily

vulpes_occulta207 karma

So, you can officially say in a Scooby-Doo voice: "I'm a rerailer!"

Say it at the bar... maybe when you're a little drunk.

Dandrift89320 karma

I don't drink.

NigNogPoopy194 karma


Dandrift89358 karma

Hah funny question to me. I use to deliver Chinese food prior and always bitched how it was boring. My buddy who was a manager for the derailment company called me and said come fill out a app I got you a better job. So here I am.

Undercover_Infant346 karma

Skills in delivery AND rerailing? Sounds like a perfect OP!

Dandrift89275 karma

Three straight years of delivery. 72,000 miles worth

Milhouse99194 karma

have you ever failed to rerail a train and if so what do you do?

Dandrift89312 karma

If its not possible to get it back on track. The train will be sat next to the tracks or on a flatbed semi to be hauled away.then it becomes someone else's job.

Redneck187166 karma

How long does it take to rerail a engine and how do you get it back to the yard after

Dandrift89224 karma

Engines are the easiest all the parts underneath are bolted together so we just hook them up and lift them. Train cars axels, trucks ( what sits on top of the wheels) , and the box car or tanker car are just sitting on each other. Gravity is the only thing keeping it together. Getting back to your question. I would say about 30 minutes to a hour for a locomotive that's sitting up like it should. Maybe a hour and a half to 2 hours if its on its side.

bustedupbenz84 karma

Please clarify. I understand the wheels sit on the rails with no attachment. But are you saying the 'box' isn't bolted to the 'chassis'?

Forgive the technical jargon.

Dandrift89124 karma

The car is attached to the trucks by a 2 inch diameter metal pole that allows the car two stay connected and swivel on turns

Dandrift8998 karma


Its called a center pin its the pole in the middle

Dandrift89147 karma

I'm on mobile can't figure out how to edit my post to inform you all I'm getting off here to eat I'll be back later. Thanks for the interests in my ama.

typed_this_now122 karma

How much do you earn per year? If you dont mind me asking. And this is the in the U.S yeah?

Dandrift89179 karma

In the U.S. correct. Roughly 30-45k

sir-slonks-a-lot82 karma

What was your most difficult or favorite rerailing?

Dandrift89202 karma

They all suck! No favorite. We had to rerail 9 cars where the left side rail rolled over on its side and the train was still sitting on the rail. Each car had to be chained up and individually lifted and taken to a clean part of the track. Mind you the clean part of the track was a half mile way. So imagine two big tractors with a train car dangling in the air swinging all around for a half mile at a snails pace nine times.

Jim353544 karma

How often does the track get damaged?

Dandrift8983 karma

Its common. Trains are heavy and the tracks are mwnt to flex but like anything metal it can only flex so much before a problem will happen.

wpnw57 karma

Ever dealt with the aftermath of a Bleve?

Dandrift89149 karma

Not exactly. Had a tanker punctured full of syrup.

not_a_guinea_pig46 karma

What tools do you need to rerail a train? do you a crane to lift them up again? and do you need something to fasten it to the rails again?

Dandrift8971 karma

The trains are not connected to the rail what so ever. They are just sitting on the track by gravity. We use two side booms a cat 72 sideboom and a 83. Some pics on the web if your interested.

my_reptile_brain38 karma

Holy crap it's like a Caterpillar humongous tractor thing with a crane boom, I think. LINK

Dandrift8933 karma

Yeah they are pretty awesome!

thatphotoguy43 karma

What would you say is the most type of trains you re-rail, passenger or freight?

If a train has derailed to the point the body has buckled, but say the bogeys are still in-tact, do you re-rail, or has it got to be lifted away and put onto a low-loader?

Dandrift8954 karma

Freight for sure. Empty cars like to hop off rails. When the trains buckle they usually get hauled away on flat beds. If we were to be in a train yard we might throw them back on the rails and the yard will pull them somewhere to be fixed.

So_Many_Subs42 karma

Do you work for the train company like CSX, norfolk southern, pacific union or do those companies hire your company?

Dandrift8976 karma

They all hire us

jamiesonmundy39 karma

Any death involved?

Dandrift8985 karma

Deaths do happen. People getting hit by a train , a derailment with passengers , pretty much anything that would happen with a car can happen with a train.

PawnShop80435 karma

Ever had a really bad spill?

Dandrift8996 karma

Does thirteen cars full of coal count?

SuedoNymph53 karma

Better than 13 tankers full of oil I guess...

Dandrift89104 karma

I did a 4 car derailment full of spilled oil. Luckily I'm not a oil clean up guy.

not_long_enough24 karma

Do you also rerail threads?

Dandrift8973 karma

I don't get paid to do that.

Hakker14 karma

What qualifies you to rail derailed trains? Did you go to school for anything specific?

I'm completely fascinated by trains and a job in the rail industry is something I've been considering for a while.

Dandrift8929 karma

Trains are amazing! The train industry was nothing I ever considered for a job. Now I'm in it I completely love it!!! I didn't need anything to get hired on other than a good word and I have a machanical back ground.

fishlover7 karma

What kinds of mistakes does an engineer make that causes a train to derail? Too fast on a turn or a known bump or something? Edit: Oh yeah I think I remember being on the ski train from Denver to Winter Park that had to slow down or stop for a while because outside temperatures made the tracks too far apart or too close or something. Is that the kind of operator error you are referring too? Maybe driving on icy tracks too?

Dandrift8911 karma

Yes speeds are a huge factor to fast is a issue around corners. Track switches that are not full engaged cause lots of problems. Bumps cause problems. Track temps are a big thing since tracks are metal going from hot to cold causes the track to expand and contract.

JimFrog3 karma

Do you use Sidewinders or Cranes or both, or something new to move cars - can you lift a propane tank or do you need to pump it off even if it is not hurt... how do you handle HazMat - do you have your own personnel, or do you use an out side source, or do you use the Railroads HazMat team if they have one... have you ever had to patch or flare a gas car... or patch a HazMat tank car in order to move it to a safe location to off load... is your company throughout the USA, Canada or Mexico... Have you been to the Bureau of Explosives School on HazMat in Pueblo, Colorado for training...

Dandrift893 karma

We use cat side booms a cat 83 and a cat 72. We have special metal plates that keep tankers from getting damaged when lifting . If its under pressure we will get them decompressed.

cutthatshutter3 karma

How often do derailments happen? What are the more common freight cars that derail? How long does it take and how do you travel to the more remote areas that a derailment might happen at?

Dandrift896 karma

We drive as close to the derailment as possible and then walk if need be. Common trains that derail are empty box cars.

sokolske3 karma

Some kid once said you can derail trains with quarters by placing said quarters on track, is this true? I know it isn't but I want to prove him to a liar.

Dandrift893 karma

Tell him he is a liar