Home » Short Course or Workshop » Railroad Engineering » Railroad Safety & Derailment Investigation

Online Format
(1.2 ceu’s or 12 professional development hours awarded for full participation)


This online, 12 hour course will help you with become a leader in addressing critical issues surrounding rail safety.  This professional development course addresses the engineering issues associated with common types of derailments, including track, equipment and operator derailments. Specific failure mechanisms linked to key classes of derailments will be discussed – and you will learn about the technologies available for reducing these types of derailments.


Designed for practicing railroad and transit engineers, plus maintenance supervisors who are responsible for the design and/or maintenance activities associated with rail. The course is particularly relevant for engineers from rail carriers as well as state and corporate departments of transportation involved with rail commodity transportation.

The following topics will be discussed:

  • Introduction to railroads and railroad systems
  • Overview of railroad safety
  • Derailment categories and investigations
  • Rail-related derailments: rail fatigue; rail defects; wear, bolted rail derailments, welded failures
  • CWR-related derailments, such as track buckling
  • Track geometry related derailments: track standards; dynamic wheel rail forces; combined causes
  • and vehicle/track interactions; wheel climb; safety limits; high c.g. loads (ATS&F);
  • non-uniform/uneven loading
  • Turnout-related derailments
  • Other track-related derailments: causes, mechanisms, and prevention (ties and fasteners, other)
  • Wheel-related derailments: overheated wheel and thermal cracks; wheel fractures; wheel
  • inspection
  • Other mechanical causes of derailments – causes, mechanisms, and prevention:
  • Axles and bearings (hot box and acoustic bearing detection); trucks and truck components;
  • brakes; other
  • Operating-related derailments: human factors; train make-up and operations


This course enables you to:

  • Understand the causes and issues associated with derailments for freight railroads, passenger railways, and transit systems
  • Gain practical knowledge in critical areas of rail maintenance to mitigate the risk of derailments
  • Learn how to improve the detection of rail fatigue and defects, thereby reducing the risk of broken rail derailments
  • Recognize problems associated with rail maintenance
  • Identify ways to address those problems in the safest ways
  • Interact and share experiences with other rail industry colleagues

To obtain information on how to register for this course, please send an email to enggoutreach@udel.edu.

Program Fee includes access to the course web page with downloadable course notes (PDHs), as well as a link to the on-line lectures, and Dr.  Zarembski’s e-mail address so that you can communicate with him directly.

Individual Registrations: $795/person Groups of 3 or more from the same company/agency: $695/person REGISTRATION CONFIRMATION: A confirmation e-mail for those registering for this on-line course will include log-on information.

CANCELLATIONS and SUBSTITUTIONS: Refunds granted only if the request is received in writing prior to access having been granted to the on-line course.

Allan M. ZarembskiPhD, P.E., FASME, Hon. Mbr. of AREMA joined the University of Delaware faculty as Research Professor and Founding Director of UD’s Railroad Engineering and Safety Program in 2012. An internationally recognized authority in the fields of track and vehicle/track system analysis, railway component failure analysis, track strength, and maintenance planning, Dr. Zarembski founded and served as President of ZETA-TECH Associates, Inc., a technical consulting and applied technology company in 1984, now an independent business unit of Harsco Rail. Prior to that, he had served in R&D positions with Pandrol, Inc. and Speno Rail Services Co., and was Manager of Track Research for the Association of American Railroads. He has also served as Deputy Director of the ASME’s Track Train Dynamics Program, and has presented numerous railroad engineering short courses throughout the U.S.

Author or co-author of more than 170 technical papers, 120 technical articles, and two books published by Simmons Boardman Books, Dr. Zarembski’s work and expertise have been recognized with numerous honors, including being named an honorary member of AREMA, and receiving both the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Rail Transportation Award in 1992, and the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration’s Special Act Award in 2001. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and is a registered Professional Engineer in five states. Dr. Zarembski earned the MA and PhD in Civil Engineering from Princeton University, and the MS in Engineering Mechanics and BS in Aeronautics and Astronautics from New York University.