Officials detail what caused the train derailment at Silver Dollar City last October

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 3:32 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 9:49 PM CDT
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BRANSON, Mo. (KY3) - The Missouri State Fire Marshal’s Office has released what caused the train at Silver Dollar City to derail in October 2022.

Six guests and one employee suffered minor to moderate injuries during the derailment.

According to a report from the Fire Marshal’s Office and Wolf Railway Consulting, there was uneven wear on a side bearing allowing carriage #3 to lean, springs in trucks were not the same height, there was a misalignment of the rails, railroad tie spacing was not consistent, and there were loose joint bolts. MoDOT officials also report that another possible cause could include track warp where the train car derailed.

Pictures of the train taken by Wolf Railway Consulting show washers from the truck bolts on the ground near the tracks.

“Proving that bolts sheared during the derailment,” said the report.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office gave Silver Dollar City the following recommendations:

  • Develop track safety standards for a 2-foot narrow gage track, as there are no standards
  • Install ties at a consistent spacing
  • Measure side bearing at set intervals
  • Correct and monitor the correct alignment of rails
  • Ensure and monitor joint bolts for tightness
  • Ensure weight is evenly distributed during passenger loading

We reached out to one man who was riding the train that day about the report.

“Everything listed sounds like factors that could have been prevented if somebody would’ve done the upkeep,” said train passenger Gary Eldridge. “My family and I had to jump off the train before it derailed because we could tell something was wrong.”

Eldridge says no one in his family was injured, but he did help others that were.

“The windows were on the ground, and the other side was up in the air, and we had to break the glass in order to get people to be able to crawl out of there,” said Eldridge.

He says his family plans on visiting the park again despite the incident.

“They gave us season passes for the year, and they kinda did the bare minimum there, but at least they did something,” said Eldridge.

Silver Dollar City sent us this statement:

We have implemented several changes to modernize safety and procedural standards for the train. All of the changes have been reviewed by the Missouri State Fire Marshall’s Office, which has since released the train for operation.

Janet Oller, Silver Dollar City Publicity

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