Thomas asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 2 months ago

If a railroad track has no ties, could the train derail?

I'm doing research on a story, which may or may not be fiction, where apparently a train was missing some railroad ties which caused a car to derail. I know virtually nothing about trains, so could a scenario like this actually happen?

10 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    If a railroad track has no cross ties, it WILL derail!

  • 1 month ago

    You don't need ties (or sleepers) for a train to derail, you just need rails.  Nobody has ever heard of a train de-tying or de-sleepering, it's always called derailing.  If one or more of the wheels is no longer on its assigned rail, that's how derailment happens.

    Whether it's a slab track or ballasted track, anything that causes a wheel to leave the track counts as derailment.

  • 1 month ago

    The wheels on a train are tapered and flanged. This taper forces the rails to spread if there are no ties (sleepers). Just how many ties not being secure is not known to me.

    Once the wheel or wheels drop off, when they come to in gauge track- it rips that track up and sooner or later the couplers part. This results in a mess of cars and tangled rails.

  • Jon
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    If there were literally no ties, it would not be track at all, just two lengths of rail.

    Track is composed of two rails held in exact parallel to each other an exact distance apart by the ties. If some of the ties failed, then the weight of the train would force the rails further apart than they should be, causing the train's wheels to drop between them and so derailing the train.

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  • 1 month ago

    With no tie or ties.  The rails spread. The train de rails. If you have ever road on the top of a box car. You realize that they hammer from side to side quit hard. Going down the tracks. Its not the way to travel. Even if you know were the train will stop. 

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    The name 'ties' surely suggests that they tie something. They tie the rails down at exactly the correct distance apart. If the rails get too distant then the train  slips off them.

    It was not the train which was missing the ties, it was the rails.

    Just go to a railroad near you and look down on the tracks and imagine what would happen if the ties were not connected to the rails properly. The ties are the wooden or concrete or steel things, about 6 feet long, which sit under the rails every few feet.

    It is unlikely that ties would be missing, but possible, though unlikely, that the connectors which hold the rails to the ties might be missing.

    Ordinary trains do not carry ties with them. Maintaining and replacing ties is the work of a track maintenance crew.

  • 2 months ago

    Yes, indirectly.  Without the ties, it's possible for the tracks to get pushed too far apart, which would allow the train to derail.

  • 2 months ago

    Of course it would derail. The ties hold the tracks the perfect distance apart and keep them there. No ties and the rails would move out of alignment and the train would derail.

  • 2 months ago

    as explained in wikipedia " railway tie (Canadian English) or railway sleeper (British English) is a rectangular support for the rails in railroad tracks. Generally laid perpendicular to the rails, ties transfer loads to the track ballast and subgrade, hold the rails upright and keep them spaced to the correct gauge. " (1)

    This suggests that without those ties rails would be able to move apart or closer together due to various outside forces, leading to train riding over them would not engage correctly with the track and could indeed derail.

  • Rick
    Lv 6
    2 months ago

    those 'ties' keep the tracks 'in gauge', the correct distance apart ..........

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