Train & Railroad Mechanical Failures
Train are essentially very large machines with intricate systems and a lot of moving parts. Since the mechanical systems involved in building and operating a train are so complex; sometimes a mechanism will break down without anyone having made a mistake and a tragic accident can result.
The aftermath and injuries that can be caused by a train accident are almost always serious and it can be difficult to determine who is actually at-fault for train & railroad mechanical failures. That’s why it is important to work with an experienced Chicago train accident attorney, who can properly investigate the accident and how to proceed, so you can obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation and learn how we can help with your recovery.
What Types of Mechanical Systems are Involved?
Train engines consist of a complicated interplay of different systems, all working together to provide locomotive and electric power. Early trains ran on steam, often powered by burning coal or wood and while nuclear power was briefly considered in the 1950s, today almost all trains run on electricity. As a broad characterization, it can be said that passenger trains typically receive electric power directly from an external source (like a third rail), and freight trains typically generate power by using a diesel engine.
Rail systems generally fall into two categories: guidance equipment and safety equipment. An example of guidance equipment is a rail switch. Switches are designed to guide a train along a specific rail path when there are multiple intersecting railways. An example of safety equipment is a rail signal. Rail signals are designed to inform train operators of track conditions; for example, when another train is occupying a rail intersection ahead, a rail signal will inform the train operator to stop until the other train has cleared the track. Another example of safety equipment is the ubiquitous highway crossing system, which alerts passenger vehicles of an oncoming train.
What Happens When the Engine Breaks Down?
When a train engine fails, whether it ceases to receive power from its external source (as in passenger trains) or its onboard diesel engine stops (as in cargo trains), the train will stop moving. If it’s a passenger train, the passengers will be stranded on the train until the power problem is repaired; this can be compounded by a failure of the onboard air conditioning systems, creating oppressively hot or cold environments for train passengers, who are unable to escape the adverse climate or do anything to remedy it. If the train stops across a highway intersection, traffic jams can result that may not be resolved for hours.
What Happens If a Safety System Fails?
Accidents vary when safety systems break down, but serious injuries can easily happen. When a train’s brakes fail to function properly, collision with another train, another obstacle, or derailment can happen and with the potential for injury or fatality – to railroad employees as well as civilians. When a rail signal fails to alert a train operator to an upcoming train or obstacle, a collision will likely occur, which can easily lead to derailment. When a highway crossing system fails to operate, an innocent driver may be injured or killed because they had no way of knowing was headed their way.
Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. is Here to Help
If you or a loved one has been injured by the mechanical failure of a train or railroad system, contact us at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C.. Our experienced Chicago train accident attorneys are knowledgeable about these types of cases and will review your situation to determine the best course of action.
Call us today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation.