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Accident Report Detail

 
Derailment, Norfolk Southern Railway Company

Executive Summary

On May 2, 1997, about 2:45 p.m., eastern daylight time, Norfolk Southern (NS) westbound freight train No. NS214 derailed 3 locomotives and 7 cars while traversing the Gainesville Depot Track hand-operated switch in Gainesville, Virginia. The accident occurred on the Washington District of the NS Piedmont Division. No injuries were reported as a result of the accident, but one person in a building adjacent to the siding was seriously injured when the building was struck by a derailed auto rack. There was a release of hazardous materials as a result of one trailer on a flat car overturning. Approximately 2500 gallons of diesel fuel and 100 gallons of flammable liquid were spilled. There was no evacuation. Total estimated damages were $650,000.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the crew of train E43 to restore the east end Gainesville switch to a normal position to permit main line movements of trains and the failure of eastbound train 213 to observe and report the improperly lined switch.


Accident Location: Gainesville , VA    
Accident Date: 5/2/1997
Accident ID: ATL97FR013

Date Adopted: 8/18/1998
NTSB Number: RAB-98-21
NTIS Number:  

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