Best-Practices-for-Railroad-Track-Inspections

Best Practices for Railroad Track Inspections: Ensuring Safety and Compliance

06/21/2024 Written by: Gina Ekstam

In light of recent incidents involving railroad derailments, regular railroad track inspections have never been more critical. Proper maintenance of railroad tracks is essential for preventing service interruptions and avoiding potential fines. Industry experts recommend inspecting your tracks at least twice a year to ensure that your railroad infrastructure meets all necessary safety and compliance standards.

Are you confident that your railroad track inspections meet all the necessary requirements? If not, contact AssuredPartners Agribusiness.

Here is the list of inspection requirements:

  • Broken or cracked rails, discolored running surfaces, and work or flat spots
  • Missing or damaged fasteners such as tie plates, spikes, inserts, or bolts and washers
  • Track gauge is consistent and within the proper parameters
  • Switch points are free of damage and closed tightly with no gaps
  • Crossings are level and have a clear line of sight, and flangeways remain free of debris and ice that may derail on-track equipment
  • Uneven track, abnormal depressions, cracks along roadways, and sliding or eroded earth on embankment
  • Cracked, split, or rotted ties
  • Thin or absent ballast, holes, or depressions
  • Blocked culverts
  • Drainage issues such as standing water or muddy, unstable soil
  • Any obstruction closer than six feet from the filed side of the rail
  • Trees or vegetation encroaching the right of way or affecting the track structure


Derailment is most commonly caused by chipped or broken points. Switch points must be repaired or replaced if they have the following conditions:

  • Any chip deeper than7/8” below the top of the stock rail
  • Any chip ¾” deep and longer than 4”
  • Any chip 5/8” deep and longer than 7”
  • Any chip with an unprotected vertical surface that is 5/16” or wider at any location ¾” below the top of the stock rail


Empower Your Team

AssuredPartners Agribusiness offers training programs to equip your staff with the knowledge and skills for effective railroad track maintenance. Contact us to ensure your operations meet safety and compliance standards.

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