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Accident Report Detail

 
Rear End Collision of Two Burlington Northern Railroad Company Freight Trains

Executive Summary

About 3:55 a.m., c.s.t., on April 13, 1983, Burlington Northern Railroad Company (BN) freight train 64TT085 (64T85) (Extra 5086 West), while moving about 47 mph, struck the rear of standing BN freight train 43JJ005 (43J05) (Extra 5089 West) at Pacific Junction, Iowa. Four locomotive units and eight cars of train 64T85 and the caboose and seven cars of train 43J05 were derailed. The accident occurred about 2 miles within the yard limits at Pacific Junction. The engineer of train 64T85 was killed, and the head brakeman, conductor, and rear brakeman were injured. The engineer, head brakeman, conductor, and rear brakeman of train 43J05 were injured. Damage was estimated to be $972,000.


Probable Cause

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the failure of the engineer for undetermined reasons in operate train 64T85 in compliance with the operating rules so as to be able to stop the train before striking standing train 43J05. Contributing to the cause of the accident was the failure of the head brakeman of train 64T85 to monitor properly the engineer's operating performance and to stop the train when the engineer failed to do so, and the failure of the conductor and rear brakeman of train 64T85 to take action to contact the engineer or to slow or to stop the train when the train's speed was not reduced after it entered the Pacific Junction yard limits. Also contributing to the cause of the accident was the absence of a safety device on the locomotive of train 64T85 to keep the engineer alert or to stop the train if the engineer became incapacitated or was asleep, and the lack of procedures requiring traincrews to use the radio to communicate the Position of their trains.


Accident Location: Pacific Junction , IA    
Accident Date: 4/13/1983
Accident ID: DCA83AR006

Date Adopted: 12/1/1983
NTSB Number: RAR-83-09
NTIS Number: PB83-916309

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