This page covers derails.  Derails are used by railroads to protect.

Many derails are permanently installed, others are "portable", such as the one used to protect the mainline in case the DOT car below "gets away".  The derails in the Manassas yard are typical of permanently installed derails used to protect the mainline in case engines or cars inadvertently decide to head for the mainline, and it's not their turn.

Inclusion of manufacturer's information is not an endorsement and does not necessarily advocate their products.  One day when updating this page, I Googled " Railroad Derails", and some of what I came across appears on this page.

Is it just me, or do most of the blue derail signs look like refugees from the Conrail era? :-)

Don Shall
Tony Hake
Glenn Lane
Don Shall

Manassas VA

This derail is located adjacent to the ex Southern Railway station in Manassas, now used by the VRE.  The track is owned by NS.  Pix from 2005.






Manassas VA

This portable derail was also located in Manassas on a temporary basis.  It was on a siding that started adjacent to the staion, and was used to protect the DOT track car shown below.  The derail was at the entry point to the main line.  Pix from 2005.



Manassas VA

These derails are located at the western end of Norfolk Southern's Manassas Yard.  The Manassas VRE station is about a half mile down the tracks (way) in the background.  One leg of a wye also takes off from the left side of the photo, for trains going thru Front Royal, a favorite line for steam trips with 4501 back in the 70's and most recently (2016) 611!  Pix from 2005.



Cockeysville MD

This derail is on the (now) Light Rail tracks in Cockeysville MD, where a siding comes off the main line... The siding used to be the "main line" going up to York and Harrisburg PA.  The pictures were taken from Warren Rd, not to far off of I83.  The next station off to the left is Warren Rd.  The MOW department used to keep a speeder in a shed built over the siding, just out of sight.  Before NS abandoned freight service up to Genstar, if the train got stuck "up here", they would park the train on this siding till the following night till the L/R trains stopped running at 01:30.  A couple pictures from the early 70's of an RS-11 working another siding off Cockeysville Road (just out of sight) are located at:  https://railroadsignals.us/rs11.htm   Pix from 2007

Denver CO

  Photo by Tony Hake

Kannapolis NC

GPS Coordinates: 35.498347, -80.622759
Kannapolis/Concord also has (still) a bunch of older Southern Rwy style signal bridges, get pix while you can!
Photos by Glenn Lane, if it wasn't for the credit on his picture, I wouldn't be able to tell because I don't like Flicker and their non-human friendly interface designed by humans :-).....

Portland ME

A derail mechanism on the railroad tracks into Old Town, along the Fore River, Portland ME.  Found on Flicker.  Photo by Don Shall.

Unknown Locations

Wabtec Portable



Aldon Company



Western Cullen Hayes


Railroad Tools and Solutions


I love trains, and I love signals.  I am not an expert.  I do these pages because I love spending my time doing them - although I do a reasonable amount of research to make sure the information presented is accurate! :-)  :-)

Please Note:  Since the main focus of my two websites is railroad signals, the railfan guides are oriented towards the signal fan being able to locate them.  For those of you into the modeling aspect of our hobby, my indexa page has a list of almost everything railroad oriented I can think of to provide you with at least a few pictures to help you detail your pike.

If this is a railfan page, every effort has been made to make sure that the information contained on this map and in this railfan guide is correct.  Once in a while, an error may creep in, oooooooops, oh well! :-)

My philosophy: Pictures and maps are worth a thousand words, especially for railfanning.  Text descriptions only get you so far, especially if you get lost or disoriented.  Take along good maps.... a GPS is OK to get somewhere, but maps are still better if you get lost!  I belong to AAA, which allows you to get local maps for free when you visit the local branches.  ADC puts out a nice series of county maps for the Washington DC area, but their state maps do not have the railroads on them.  If you can find em, I like the National Geographic map book of the U.S..... good, clear, and concise graphics, and they do a really good job of showing you where tourist type attractions are, although they too lack the railroads.  Other notes about specific areas will show up on that page if known.

BTW, floobydust is a term I picked up 30-40 years ago from a National Semiconductor data book, and means miscellaneous and/or other stuff.

Pictures and additional information is always needed if anyone feels inclined to take 'em, send 'em, and share 'em, or if you have something to add or correct.... credit is always given! BE NICE!!! Contact info is here

Beware: If used as a source, ANYTHING from Wikipedia must be treated as being possibly being inaccurate, wrong, or not true.


New: 10/06/2006, 02/16/2017
Mod: 09-Oct-2018