Thursday, July 13, 2017

NTSB releases preliminary report on CSX crew fatalities

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CSX train Q13727 that was involved in a fatal accident in June. CSX train Q13727 that was involved in a fatal accident in June. NTSB
Two crewmen on a CSX train were setting out a car when they were struck and killed by an Amtrak passenger train on the night of June 27 near Washington’s Union Station.
According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, engineers on two passing trains sounded their horns when they saw the CSX conductor and conductor trainee on the track near the Ivy City interlocking. But the men, who had inspected a car for defects and were returning to their locomotive on a southbound train, had their backs to the approaching train when they were struck and killed.

As the conductors approached the front of their locomotive, the space between the tracks narrowed, the NTSB said, and they were hit by the southbound train, which was traveling about 73 mph.

The incident occurred on a stretch of four parallel tracks, two CSX and two Amtrak, according to the report. CSX Q-13727 was stopped on CSX Track 2. Amtrak 175 was immediately east on the middle Amtrak Track 3 traveling in the same direction as the CSX train. The far right track was Amtrak Track 2 where train 66 was moving in the opposite direction of the freight at the time the employees were struck.

The crew of the CSX train had been alerted by a CSX dispatcher that a wayside defect detector had indicated overheated bearings on their train. The conductor and conductor trainee had walked back to inspect the car.

After discussing the situation with the dispatcher, the NTSB said, the crew decided to set the defective car out using the crossover between tracks 1 and 2. The engineer pulled the front of the train partially through the crossovers so that the rear of the train was on track 1 and the front of the train was on track 2. The front of the CSX train was then adjacent to Amtrak track 3. The first car in the train was a three-platform well car loaded with containers. The employees were struck near the end of the first car, about 350 feet from the locomotive.

After a second defect detector alert, a CSX supervisor consulted with the mechanical department and advised the crew to check a second car. He drove out to the train, and was in his vehicle near the tracks across from the CSX locomotive when the accident occurred.

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