On October 5, 2005, about 6:00 p.m., near Laramie, Wyoming, a westbound Union Pacific Railroad (UP) train struck and killed a maintenance-of-way employee who was working on an adjacent track. He had been walking on the track with his back to the approaching train. He had been preparing to move a tamper machine. The train was cleared through the work limits at 40 mph.
Throughout the day, the UP employee-in-charge notified several designated safety coordinators of approaching trains. In turn, the coordinators notified the workers for whom they were responsible. However, earlier in the year, the tamper operators had made an agreement with their safety coordinator that they did not need to be notified directly about approaching trains. They believed that (1) their equipment did not normally enter an area that could be struck by a train passing on an adjacent track and (2) they would monitor the radio in the cab of the tampers and would be aware of approaching trains when the coordinator notified other members of the work crew. On the day of the accident, the tamper operator who was struck by the train was not inside the cab to listen to the radio when the crews were notified of the approaching train. He was walking along the adjacent track with his back to the striking train.