It makes me wonder if A. California simply has more rail traffic--which makes sense given the busy ports on the Pacific; And/Or B. The rail companies which operate the lines don't maintain their infrastructure.
Both UP and BNSF are pretty admirable companies, save for UP's rabid contempt for railfans.
As a result, they don't hold back in any attempt to keep the public away from their property.
I recall I once asked both UP and BN for access to a railyard for a photo assignment in high school. The BN rep politely turned me down. The UP rep never responded.
I don't know what to say about derailment.
But the fact is that rail transportation is a lot less safer than air transportation. Even in here Australia, we can see derailment or tech failure with railway or trains every 2 months (Which I guess by using fingers...)
Debatable, of course.
The point is, for transporting absolute sh*tloads of anything on land, railroads will always be the best choice.