On Monday, July 25, 2011, about 12:33 a.m., central daylight time, a Belt
Railway Company of Chicago (BRC) conductor was killed while coupling cars in a
hump classification yard track in Bedford Park, Illinois. The accident occurred
in the BRC Clearing Yard, West Classification Yard (WCLS) track 16. The
conductor was found in the gage of the track between the 17th and 18th west
railcars. The drawbars on these two railcars were found to be crossed. The
conductor appeared to have been pinched between the knuckle of the stationary
car that was coupled to the train and the drawbar carrier of the free-rolling
car that he was attempting to couple. At the time of the accident, the weather
was mostly cloudy; the temperature was 76°F.
The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause
of the accident was the failure of the conductor to apply the necessary
protections before he stepped between the cars to adjust the drawbars.
Contributing to the cause of the accident was the BRC's lack of an effective
efficiency testing program to periodically observe and enforce its safety and
operating rules for switching movements.