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Accident Report Detail

 
Railroad Accident Brief: BNSF Railway Train Derailment and Subsequent Train Collision, Release of Hazardous Materials, and Fire

Executive Summary

​On Monday, December 30, 2013, at 2:10 p.m. central standard time, a westbound BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) train with 112 cars loaded with grain derailed 13 cars while traveling on main track 1 at milepost 28.5 near Casselton, North Dakota.1 The first car that derailed (the 45th car) fouled the adjacent track, main track 2. At 2:11 p.m. an eastbound BNSF train with 104 tank cars loaded with petroleum crude oil (crude oil), traveling on main track 2, struck the derailed car that was fouling the track and derailed two head-end locomotives, a buffer car, and 20 cars loaded with crude oil.2 After the collision, about 476,000 gallons of crude oil were released and burned. On the day of the accident, the weather was cloudy with a temperature of -1°F and winds from the north at 7 mph. No injuries were reported by residents or either of the train crews. The BNSF reported damages of $13.5 million, not including lading and environmental remediation.


Probable Cause

​The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the collision of the oil train with the derailed grain train car was a broken axle on the 45th car of the grain train caused by an internal void that was created during axle manufacture. Contributing to the cause of the derailment were inadequate interchange rules used to locate internal material defects in secondhand-use axles. Contributing to the severity of the accident was the release and pooling of a highly flammable product that resulted in a fire and caused additional cars to fail.


Accident Location: Casselton , ND USA  
Accident Date: 12/30/2013
Accident ID: DCA14MR004

Date Adopted: 2/7/2017
NTSB Number: RAB1701
NTIS Number: