Missed Stop Signal Cited in Train Collision Report

The report says BNSF will implement a positive train control system in that part of its systems by the end of 2016, and that preliminary review of locomotive event recorder data showed the eastbound train was traveling about 62 mph when it went by the approach signal at the west end of the Panhandle siding and about 65 mph when it went by the stop signal at the east end of the siding.

The National Transportation Safety Board released an executive summary of its preliminary report into the collision of two BNSF Railway trains on June 28, 2016, in the Texas Panhandle at 8:21 a.m. It says preliminary review of signal event recorder data and tests of the signal system indicate the last signal the eastbound train passed before the collision was a stop (red) signal, after it had passed an approach (yellow) signal.

NTSB noted information in the report will be supplemented or corrected during the course of its investigation of the crash.

Each train had a crew consisting of a locomotive engineer and a conductor. The eastbound train consisted of three head-end locomotives, two distributive power units, and 56 loaded cars, while the westbound train consisted of five head-end locomotives and 54 loaded cars. "The signal system was lined to route the westbound train into the Panhandle control point siding at milepost 526.1 while holding the eastbound train on the main track before the east end of the siding. The collision, which caused the derailment of the locomotives and several cars from both trains, occurred about one-half mile east of the east switch (east end) of the Panhandle siding," it says.

The preliminary report also says weather at the time of the collision was clear and 74° F. The collision and derailment caused a fire and the deaths of three crew members: the engineer and conductor on the eastbound train and the conductor on the westbound train. The engineer of the westbound train jumped from the train before impact and was injured but survived; BNSF estimated damages of $16 million.

The report says BNSF will implement a positive train control system in that part of its systems by the end of 2016, and that preliminary review of locomotive event recorder data showed the eastbound train was traveling about 62 mph when it went by the approach signal at the west end of the Panhandle siding and about 65 mph when it went by the stop signal at the east end of the siding.

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